*Rotate your storage water*
Fresh Water is the best water
By: Serger
26 June 2003

This week is the check out the pantry and water storage week. I think itís part of the Fathers day tradition in the serger house. As part of that we had to rotate the stored water. Since it quit snowing 3 weeks ago we decided to take the barrels outside and do their cleanup in the back yard because the weather was in the 60ís and it was nice out. When we put this system in place it was just prior to Y2K and we knew even if the end might not be near but it couldnít hurt to have a little water put away just in case. (In case you got thirsty)

I know itís a real old horse thatís been beaten just about to death but for the record, as a minimum you need about 2.5 gallons of water per person a day to live in a minimal level of comfort. What you are looking at are 30 gallon food grade polypropylene barrels. They hold about 35+/- gallons each and are about as big a container as one person can handle by themselves. Some one told me they were about 250 pounds apiece when they were filled and if you use the old kids rhyme of "a pint a pound the world around", that sounds about right. I figure on using 2 barrels per person for one monthís usage. The 30-gallon size is large enough to allow the minimum amount of containers you might have to move but small enough that contamination of one barrel wonít really be a fatal error. A 55-gallon barrel is more than I can handle and runs about 500 pounds when full. Today it was beautiful outside and we decided to pour the water on the lawn and help it out also. Here in the desert 180+ gallons of water is a bunch but the lawn easily took it up. (I guess it was kinda dry)

One caveat about my over filling them. If they freeze and burst Iím going to have 180 gallons of ice to deal with before it thaws.

One of the things I had a hard time finding was the barrel wrench.

Some how it ended up in the pantry and not the water storage area and I thought I was going to have to make a spanner for the filler plugs or bungs. You will also note it has several features other than opening water barrels it can perform. The two biggest and most useful ones for me are the ability to pop the lid of a five gallon bucket with the hooked end on the right of the picture and the ability to shut off the gas supply to your house with the cutout on the handle on the left of the picture. And now as Iím writing this I remember why the wrench was in the pantry and not in the water storage area. I had to open a container of vanilla pudding and didnít put it back where it needed to go.

Once we got the barrels drained we washed them down with bleach water to kill any goodies that might be on the outside and put bleach in them for the refill. I canít remember what the drops per pint are, (I think itís eight but maybe Iím wrong). I do know that a teaspoon of bleach for every 5 gallons of water is the rule of thumb when putting potable tap water in storage here where I live. So we put in 7 teaspoons per barrel and called it good. We put the bleach into a one pint-canning jar and top it off with water. Then you dump the diluted bleach water into the barrel. It makes the process simpler even though itís an extra step. I tend to slosh the bleach from a one-gallon bottle all over (as in spill it). Thatís why we do the bleach fill outside. I also use Chlorox because Iíve read in the past that some of the other brands are not as good for this as it is.

Once they were dry, I had to go to work and my wife brought the barrels into the water storage area and refilled them. They are good to go for another 6 months.

One thing, be sure they are sealed when you put the bungs back in. One of my barrels wasnít sealed all the way from last time and had a little calcium build up on the threads of the barrel. It wasnít a big deal but it could have been. Itís just another thing to watch.

Thanks for the read.

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