We’ve achieved the enviable distinction in this country of having safe drinking water whenever we turn on the tap. While water filters will help to refine and improve taste, there are very few instances where we find our water to be undrinkable.
Until recently, of course.
Earlier this year, coverage of the MCHM chemical spill in West Virginia and E. Coli contamination of water tankers in New York has brought into shocking light just how unprepared most of us our for a drinking water emergency. Thousands in these states are now learning just how upside down and difficult life can truly become when clean drinking water is no longer a given.
The question, then, is there anything that we can do to prepare ourselves for future drinking water emergencies? Fortunately, yes. Brought about in seemingly equal parts by camping fads, survival prepping movements and the need to provide clean drinking water to those in more impoverished parts of the world, there is seemingly no shortage on water filters and filtration products that can be trusted when a situation becomes a full-blown emergency.
Drinking Water Emergency Early Stages: Testing
As seen in both West Virginia and New York, the earliest stages of a drinking water emergency will be filled with instantly outdated news coverage, anger and confusion. Perhaps the biggest unknown, seen particularly in West Virginia, will be just how far the emergency has spread.
In these instances, water test kits will be some of your strongest allies.
On our site, we are happy to offer water test kits designed to test for bacteria, lead and more. We are even happy to offer the Handheld Ultraviolet Light, shown to the left, that can instantly help detect the presence of coliform or E. Coli.
While these tests are by no means fool-proof, and should never take the place of having your water professionally tested if you feel as though there may be a significant risk to your health, these kits can help you to quickly identify some of the more major contamination issues.
As a note, if you pull your water from a private well, it is recommended that you test your drinking water once or twice per year, typically in spring and fall when organic contaminants become more common.
Drinking Water Emergency Middle Stages: A Run on Bottled Water
As confusion turns to panic, stores will see run on bottled water. As the MCHM contamination incident in West Virginia grew worse, emergency shipments of bottled water needed to be trucked in and distributed by the National Guard.
In the case of the West Virginia situation, we do need to take time to indicate that any water filters or filtration product that we sell – even those designed for emergencies – are not certified to reduce MCHM, as so little is known about this chemical. But there are several types of water filters and filtration systems that are certified to reduce more well known, but just as potentially dangerous, water contaminants.
Manufacturer Doulton offers ceramic water filters that are certified to reduce up to 99% of harmful bacteria, including the E. Coli bacteria that is currently plaguing New Yorkers, that fit compactly into an undersink filtration system housing like the one shown to the left. Apart from the housing and filter, you’ll just need some O-rings and lubricant to get yourself set-up.
Another option is a filtration system from Katadyn, including a microfilter system, that has quickly become a go-to brand for campers and survival preppers. Katadyn also offers the only water purification bottle registered by the EPA for complete anti-microbial protection.
Finally, there are purification systems offered by Berkey, including travel purification systems that are easy to pack and portable water purification bottles that are easy to grab and go, that are among the most advanced filtration systems on the market today. Both types of systems have been tested to filter virtually contaminants from even the most stagnant sources of water.
Drinking Water Emergency Late Stages: Go Military
Fortunately, a long-term drinking water emergency where water is undrinkable for months is a fairly unlikely event. Even the unprecedented chemical spill in West Virginia had cleared within a matter of weeks giving way to water once again safe to drink (though the definition of ‘safe’ is still under debate.)
In the event that we do find ourselves in a long-term drinking water emergency, the types of systems recommended above will remain some of your best friends and strongest allies. But another ally you could call upon, provided you acquired them in advance, are water purification tablets, like the military grade tablets from Aquamira below.
Water purification tablets have a long shelf life, are light and small enough to fit into nearly any pack, and in the case of Aquamira, are EPA certified to reduce bacteria, cysts and viruses. They can even help your water to taste better, which will be a welcome creature comfort should you find yourself in an emergency situation.
Have you prepared yourself, your home or your family for a drinking water emergency? If so, we’d love to hear more about what steps you’ve taken via a comment below.
If you are interested in buying emergency water filtration products, or building a water filtration system in your home, we would encourage you to call our customer service department at 1-800-277-3458.
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