Author Topic: What happens when water goes bad?  (Read 6342 times)

Offline Woody Borghini

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What happens when water goes bad?
« on: February 09, 2011, 02:57:52 PM »
What will happen to stored water that sits too long, and "goes bad"?

For example, I have a 5 gallon, blue, food grade water jug that I fill up with potable water and then drop a few drops of bleach, for safe measure. I understand that it will have a shelf-life of 6 months. I am savvy on observing shelf life of things, and rotating. But does that mean that on the day after 6 months the water spoils? I know that's not the case, it's kind of a rhetorical question. What I really want to understand is what happens to water over time, in hopes that I can better recognize bad water or do more to promote longer shelf-life – sort of a holistic understanding, rather than just doing what is said to be right.

I know this isn't such a serious thing, because I can just shut up and rotate my water. But I am the type who really is curious and wants to understand these things.

If anyone has any info, that would be great. Feel free to speak as technically as you can. I can probably follow, and otherwise, I can look terms up.

Thanks,
Woody

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 03:08:48 PM »
my understanding is that you will want to boil this water and then it is good for drinking.  also, I have been known to use it for watering my garden.  maybe someone will have better ideas.

Offline NotAGrasshopper

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 03:16:47 PM »
What will happen to stored water that sits too long, and "goes bad"?

If you are using clean tap water, adding bleach to it and storing it in a dark place its shelf life should be indefinite.  There aren't enough nutrients in clean water to support any significant microbial or algal life.

IIRC, New Jersey is the only state that even requires a use-by date on bottled water (though manufacturers are free to do what they wish in other states).

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 03:54:32 PM »
What will happen to stored water that sits too long, and "goes bad"?

One thing that happens is that "stuff" leaches out of the plastic container, and makes the water so bad-tasting that you won't want to drink it.  I don't know whether this is true for those blue water jugs; it's definitely true for the 1-gallon and 2.5-gallon HDPE jugs that bottled water is sold in.  (Based on my own experience trying to drink bottled water that was a year past its expiration date.  Yuck!)

Offline Scotty2Hotty

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 04:45:01 PM »
mmm mmm mmm  takes me back to HOT canteen water that smells and tates like the plastic its stored in... *barf*

-Scotty

Offline Woody Borghini

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 05:47:01 PM »
One thing that happens is that "stuff" leaches out of the plastic container, and makes the water so bad-tasting that you won't want to drink it.  I don't know whether this is true for those blue water jugs; it's definitely true for the 1-gallon and 2.5-gallon HDPE jugs that bottled water is sold in.  (Based on my own experience trying to drink bottled water that was a year past its expiration date.  Yuck!)



This makes sense to me, as a concept. But it doesn't fit the practice of emptying out the (food grade) jugs and filling them back with water that will last another 6 months. It seems like the expiration dates on factory-sealed water is for the expiration of the container, not so much the water.

What I'm wondering is if my container is in sound condition and will last for, say, 10 years, what actually happens to the water inside? Does bacteria form? It's sealed, how do germs grow? Is it just that the water starts tasting "flat" and just needs some aeration? How sick will I actually get if I drink the water after 6 months?

-W

Offline Tactical Hippie

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 06:07:08 PM »
mmm mmm mmm  takes me back to HOT canteen water that smells and tates like the plastic its stored in... *barf*

-Scotty

hahaha....I remember those days!

@Woody Borghini,
 Water last forever.  As long as it's put in a sealed, clean container, It will never go bad.  Now...it may have a "plastic taste" but it will keep you hydrated and alive!

Offline Amerigo

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 06:29:46 PM »
My understanding is that it goes "bad" in a similar way that a soda goes "bad".  It's still OK to drink (assuming things haven't leeched into the barrel...), but it tastes bad because it has gone "flat".  The water has lost some of the oxygen that was trapped in it.  Shake it up a bit to get oxygen back into it and it should taste a little better.

Maybe that was all B.S.  I haven't read that anywhere... my parents and grandparents are just really into prepping and that's always what I've been told.

One other thing I've always been told... don't store your plastic water barrels on concrete.  That allows things to leech into the water.  Store the barrel on some plywood if it needs to sit on concrete.

Offline mamabear

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Re: What happens when water goes bad?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2011, 06:47:34 PM »
IIRC, the water itself doesn't go bad. The bottles you store it in can. If you store the water in good containers just pour it back and forth between two cups or whatever to "get air back in it" and it should be fine. I did not treat any of the water that I have stored. I will treat it with bleach after I open it and aerate it. As far as my understanding goes, that should be all I need to do. I still plan on buying a Berkly though and once I do, I will just run the water through that when I need it.