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Effective Methods of Emergency Water Treatment

Effective Methods of Emergency Water Treatment

Are you aware of emergency water treatment solutions to prepare for a natural disaster? If your water becomes contaminated, what would you do? Keep reading for information on the different things that need to be in place before a disaster takes place to ensure everyone has fresh water to survive. In the aftermath of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005, the biggest need of the populace is fresh, clean water. Unfortunately, natural disasters can wipe out municipal water treatment facilities and contaminate water supplies with everything from bacteria to chemicals rendering it unsuitable for human consumption. Although cities are required to have emergency water treatment plans in place for just such occurrences, its still a good idea to have your own emergency water treatment plan just in case the unforeseen should happen.

You need to start by knowing exactly what you could be up against. Contaminated water can contain three different types of pathogens (disease-causing organisms) as well as poisonous chemicals. The pathogen category can be broken down into protozoan parasites, toxic bacteria, and harmful viruses. Waterborne pathogens are generated from animal and human waste which is washed down into drinking water sources. Chemicals can come from industrial or storage situations as well as from chemicals used to control pests and weeds. Emergency situations merely exacerbate conditions that exist all the time.

Larger contaminants can be removed from water as simply as by running the water through a paper towel or coffee filter into a clean container. Bacteria and viruses, however, are too small to be effectively filtered from water using this method. Emergency water treatment plans, therefore, must include some type of disinfectant that can kill these microorganisms. Iodine is a very effective disinfectant for water, much more so than the chlorine used in swimming pools. Protozoa, on the other hand, do not respond well to iodine. Instead, you will need some type of effective filtering system to handle these pathogens. Although boiling is the recommended method for eliminating protozoa from drinking water, if there are power outages boiling may not be an option.

Poisonous chemicals dont necessary cause the immediate health risks that pathogens do, but they can still destroy healthy cells in your body and lower your immunity so that you are more susceptible to disease. If the water is murky and looks like its been contaminated, you shouldnt drink it until it has been treated. Water is critical to the human body, though, so its important that you be able to obtain or create a source of fresh water within hours of a natural disaster. You can live for several days without food, but youll only live a few days if you dont have water. Therefore, its essential that you have an emergency water treatment plan so that youre ready for whatever may happen.

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