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#132142 - 05/06/08 10:54 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: MoBOB]
andrei Offline

Registered: 05/05/08
Posts: 3
Dear friends,

I am amazed at how many excellent replies I have received. You guys are fantastic, thanks!

First, all of you are correct: the hurricanes do make an ugly mess of the water around here. I have already seen 5 hurricanes and I have survived Charley's right hand eyewall (which was scary, real scary). Anyway, we do have a water heater of course (how could I possibly overlook that?!?!?!)! I have no idea how to get the water out of it in case of need, but the answer is one phone call away to the folks who installed it.

This elegantly solves the issue of water storage since there is always plenty of water in there.

Also, I did not mean to say that I wanted to stock up on water for a couple of months, but only that I wanted to store about 7 days of water for a couple of months (i.e. that I would change the 7 days water supply about once every couple of months). Sorry for being unclear about that.

Now I can purchase 12 gallons of water for immediate use, and have the water in the water heater as a 'stage 2' emergency supply behind it. That, I think, solves my problem.

Finally, I will get 50 water purification tablets for 5 bucks, and make sure I boil the water before drinking it, just in case.

Speaking of boiling, what kind of emergency use stove to boil water and cook food would you recommend? A propane? Alcohol? Butane?

Could you recommend a cost effective make and model?

How does this one look to you?

Again, many thanks for all your advice!

Edited by andrei (05/06/08 10:59 PM)

#132143 - 05/06/08 11:25 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: andrei]
falcon5000 Offline

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
I'm glad you got the advice you needed, another thing you may look at is purchasing a of a water cooler and some extra bottles. You can get one for $99 at home depo, Lowes, etc.. And the refills you can get at Walmart for 25 cents a gallon($1.25 per jug Carbon filtered,Reverse Osmosis and ultra violet light for virus) . We have 25 gallons on hand (5 jugs)strictly from this and rotate 7 to 8 gallons a week plus we have food grade 55 gallon drums with water and another for fuel for the generator. If we get into a Katrina type disaster and the water does get chemicals then we would have to go to the ocean and try to draw salt water that is in deeper water to stay away from oil and gas which floats on the surface and hope no other chemicals go deeper. This would be as a last resort when all of our storage supply and swimming pools in the area are depleted.

Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

#132144 - 05/06/08 11:43 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: andrei]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Another convenient supplement to permanently stored water that seems suitable for Floridians, since you'll have some warning about approaching bad weather, is one of these flexible bladders that you can use to quickly turn your bathtub into an extra 45 gallons of stored water just before a storm arrives. There are a number of products out there. I've never tried any of these bladders but this is just one example that an ETS member brought to our attention a while ago.

#132146 - 05/06/08 11:51 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: andrei]
falcon5000 Offline

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 662
Question back to benjammin,
I know petroleum based products float on the surface of water which reemphasize the need to draw from deeper water. But as natural disasters happens and more chemicals get dumped into the water and the need to try to use the water in a worst case scenario, is the main way to remove VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) chemicals out of the water through RO filters or chemical treatment? Is there any other way around that besides RO filters or chemical treatment. I know you had mentioned earlier that the medicine that is getting into our drinking water lately can be killed by UV, how does UV effect VOC chemicals or active charcoal?

On a side note: When we had MMH (monel methyl hydrazine) and N2O4(nitrogen tetroxide)at the rocket ranch and during some of the spills, the MMH hit water and it made the chemical multiply like crazy and the N2O4 would turn to an acid upon water contact. The MMH seams next to impossible to break the bond with water and ended up a 2 week clean up from a 1 gallon spill and one techs DNA preferentially altered and one ambulance driver and crew injured on a rescue, and 1 ambulance destroyed and burned.

Thanks, I'm still trying to learn the new threats in our water system.
Failure is not an option!
USMC Jungle Environmental Survival Training PI 1985

#132147 - 05/07/08 12:27 AM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: andrei]
RayW Offline

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 552
Loc: Orlando, FL
There is a drain on the bottom of your water heater. Hopefully it is pointed away from the wall, some installers have an odd sense of humor. It will look like an outside faucet with a small handle or it will be a plastic "wheel" with threads for a hose in the middle. The plastic ones are bad about cracking, even if you don't touch it. It doesn't drain quickly, it does help to open a hot water valve to let air back into the tank otherwise it will glug a lot. And be careful.

#132150 - 05/07/08 12:55 AM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: falcon5000]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
Distillation would probably take care of most of the contaminants, I would think. It would require monitoring the temperature of the distillation flask so that you could discard the stuff that boiled off below 100 degrees celsius, which would be the volatile organics (including ethanol, if you get really, really lucky in your contaminants), and stop collecting the stuff that boils at temps over 100 c. ( Disclaimer: this is based upon 2 semesters of organic chem 40 years ago, when the periodic table was a lot smaller and life was simpler; midway through the second semester, I blew up part of the lab in completing an assigned experiment involving nitro-toluene).
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#132155 - 05/07/08 01:44 AM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: andrei]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Maybe a black berkey filter?


#132187 - 05/07/08 01:54 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: falcon5000]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Hmm, well, not all pretroleum based products float. Some are miscible, and some of the distillates can actually be more dense, especially those that are emulsified with mineral components. As for VOCs, not all of which are petroleum based either, there are several methods depending on what compounds are present. Some VOCs are readily biodegraded, some can be captured by charcoal filtration beds, others have to be cooked off or decomposed ionically (UV, Ozone, even microwave). Recent EPA mandates are going to drive water treatment systems here in Florida and elsewhere into developing new treatment plants using UV (as with the Cat/Del UV system for treating 90% of metro New York's water supply) or Ozone, which is currently being recommended as the next primary treatment system here in Central Florida, to replace Chlorination as the primary treatment method in order to reduce the number of Chlorinated by products of treatment. Most treatment systems are targeted at either capture or neutralization or a combination of those processes, so with UV, ozone or chemical reaction to decompose those VOC compounds along with active charcoal beds and flocculants to capture the contaminants. If the molecular compound is weak enough that UV radiation can break down the bonds, then that is generally going to be probably the cheapest method, as the energy and storage requirements seem most economical of all the current proposed methods acceptable to the EPA.

Some of those industrial chemical compounds are pretty scary. In high school I remember we had to evacuate the chem lab because a vial of picric acid had started to crystallize. The same thing happened out at a Hanford lab in Central Washington and they ended up setting off the emergency sirens along the river corridor evacuating a lot of people in the area. That place can be downright scary at times, there's so much crap out there, and the state's only Extemely hazardous waste facility is right out there next to probably the biggest repository of radioactive cesium and strontium in the world.

As for the MMH and the N2O4, unless you are talking a massive release, I would expect that they would react out in the environment fairly quickly, so the biggest concern would be containment first, and removal if practical or in the interest of public health, but not if in a fairly isolated location necessarily. I believe you meant to say mono-methyl hydrazine, which is a rocket fuel component. Monel is a type of semi exotic stainless steel that I don't think you can get into solution with hydrazine in any form very easily, and not with any real industrial purpose I can find. But I am no rocket scientist either. In any case, methyl hydrazines pose a serious health risk, and if I were looking to remediate a spill, I would prefer to react it out if I had to get rid of or neutralize it quickly, rather than try and capture it. You should be able to reduce it to ammoniated salts fairly easily. N2O4 will react with the water to form nitric and nitrous acids, which will decompose further into nitrates following reaction to suspended solids and colloidal contact. If I had to react it out, I'd find some clay with a generous amount of colloidal constituents (cat litter?) and distribute that to the spill site. It should be easy then to disperse the nitrate products or collect them up as precipitates. I'd research it more, but off the cuff that is my first impression. For emergency response I'd be at level A suits and SCBA most likely, treat it like I would an iso-cyanate release (because of the volatility of the MMH) or methylene chloride spill(because of the acute exposure reaction).

I remember well when the Kerr-McGee plant blew up outside of Vegas. Weren't they also working with rocket fuel? Man, what an explosion!
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#132209 - 05/07/08 04:40 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: benjammin]
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Monel is a type of semi exotic stainless steel that I don't think you can get into solution with hydrazine in any form very easily, and not with any real industrial purpose I can find.

Interesting, I had never heard of Monel until a month ago. Our lab was renovated back in 1976; a left over lab from the biowarfare era at Ft. Detrick and our two autoclaves were leftover Army/BW surplus. Recently, the NCI has been surveying lab space here and making provisions for updating some of the equipment and facilities. An engineer came to look at replacing our autoclaves and told us that our old autoclaves were made from Monel and that the recycling value of the Monel exceeded the replacement with new autoclaves, so we are getting new ones very soon.


#132231 - 05/07/08 06:47 PM Re: Emergency water purification question [Re: paramedicpete]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
I only know about Monel because I play a Bach Stradivarius trumpet and they use it for part of the valve assembly.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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