In part 3 of this series on storing water, I hinted that there was a way to store water using something other than bleach to prevent the growth of algae. I didn’t tell you about it first because this method is more involved and somewhat expensive, and I wanted you to be able to get started right away storing water with a minimum of cost and delay.
The downside of the easy way of storing water is that you have to change out and replace your water every six months in order to keep it fresh, so over time, it ain’t that easy. Well, here’s a secret: it doesn’t have to be six months on the nose; Just around six months. But if you wait too long -say a year- you may find your water is stale and maybe even a bit infected. So I would shoot for six months, but not panic if you let it go for seven or eight.
On the other hand, if you find yourself forced to rely on that water nine or ten months after you put put it away and you end up having to drink water that tastes a bit scummy and stale, well, I warned you.
For those who aren’t sure they are up to the task of changing out their water twice a year or don’t trust themselves to do it, the long term storage method may be better for you. If you don’t mind more work.
The Five Year Plan
This alternate method takes a lot more effort up front, but those who advocate for it claim water can be stored this way for up to five years. But don’t forget about the qualifier, “up to.”
I have not tried this method, so I can’t vouch for the results. It has its advocates and its detractors. For one thing, no one can guarantee that your water will stay pure and fresh for five years, so I’d taste it occasionally and maybe change it out well before half a decade has passed.
With this method, you will not be adding chlorine bleach. Instead you’ll use something called Activated Stabilized Oxygen as the prophylactic against bacterial growth. Some have said that stabilized oxygen may preserve the water’s purity but warn that the best stored water can stay fresh tasting for only so long. Water that has been sitting still for close to five years may tend to get stale.
Stabilized Oxygen is a relative of good old hydrogen peroxide, and it works to maintain the ph balance of water and to keep algae from growing. This is where it gets more expensive than bleach. A 32 oz bottle of liquid oxygen will run you $78.00, but at least the shipping is free.
There are several types of liquid oxygen out there, so there is a very real possibility that you might buy the wrong stuff.
Most forms of Liquid Oxygen are intended to be taken internally at the time you drink your water. That type of liquid oxygen mixes with the acid in your stomach to balance the PH in your body, and I think it’s a good idea to use it daily. It so happens my brother is an executive with CiliMinerals.com, a manufacturer of ingested liquid oxygen, and as much as I would love to promote my brother’s business, I think for purposes of water storage you should stick to the stuff that is promoted specifically for storing water.
As expensive as this liquid oxygen is, you only use a very small amount per gallon, so if you’re storing only a few of those 7 gallon containers I recommended previously, you can get by with the two ounce bottle, which will only set you back $19.00. Two ounces should be just enough to treat eight of those 7 gallon jugs.
Buying Stabilized Liquid Oxygen is the easy part. Before you add something intended to maintain the ph level of your water, you’re going to have to start with water that is already properly alkalized. This is where the work comes in. You’re going to have to first test the ph levels of your water and then raise the alkalinity in it. I’ll tell you all about how to do that in part 7. Have a box of baking soda handy and stay tuned.