The seventeenth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must [be able to] adequately isolate “dirty” water from “clean” water. In it I state that:
You must “adequately isolate “dirty” water from “clean” water. This is less related to greywater and more about collecting, treating, and storing water meant for consumption. Think about developing a process for avoiding contamination of your clean water when treating dirty water. This could include labeling buckets (and funnels too) using a permanent marker and/or using different colored buckets, for instance. You should also ask yourself how you will access your clean water source. Via a pump? Spigot? A smaller bucket? Of course, this depends on how you intend to store your water.”
Even a single drop of potentially contaminated (read: “dirty” water) can cause unwanted illness to those who consume it. In order to avoid this possibility, you’ll want a good process to ensure clean water never becomes contaminated.
In part, this includes properly labeling funnels and buckets, in particular, so that everyone knows which water is safe to use and which is not. In some cases it may be painfully obvious. For example, if you’re collecting rainwater in a 55 gallon barrel outside, you know that water is not safe to drink until treated. Likewise, if you’re then filtering the collected rainwater and eventually storing it in a 55 gallon barrel in the garage, then you know that water is clean.
Where the problems are typically with the intermediate steps. For instance, if you have a setup going where you collect dirty water in one 5 gallon bucket, filter it through another five gallon bucket, and then collect the clean water in yet another 5 gallon bucket, everything works well until the next time you repeat the process and accidentally swap the dirty and clean collection buckets. Now, you’ve just contaminated your clean water supply!
This is why labeling buckets is CRITICAL to avoiding this problem. The same potential problems exist with an accessories you use to make life easier, such as siphon pumps, garden hoses, small pails, and so on. As another example, someone could easily choose to pull a “dirty” siphon pump from the rain barrels outside for use on the clean storage barrels inside simply because a clean siphon pump stopped working and, voila… contaminated water again.
So, think about and detail the process you’ll use. Get your supplies ready, including labels, large permanent markers, color-coded buckets, colored tape or whatever makes sense to you. Then, take the time to educate all family members about the process and, equally importantly, why it is critical to properly separate “dirty” from “clean” water.
Fortunately, this marks the end of the water Food and Water section of the 99 Capacities eBook. Hopefully you learned something new and useful. Next week we’ll delve into the Medical and First Aid section. Stay tuned!
Note: This post is part of an ongoing series detailing the ideas from my free eBook, The 99 Capacities You MUST Acquire BEFORE Disaster Strikes You!, which you may freely download here.
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