? asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 10 years ago

How long does tap water keep when put in recycled plastic bottles in storage?

After all these disasters of late, and one of the most precious resources that people need after such disasters being water, i have decided that every time i buy a 1.25litre of coke, or any drink in a plastic bottle, that i will refill it with tap water, screw the lid tight and put it into storage in case the precious water that we take for granted every day becomes contaminated... After every earthquake, after natural disaster this is what people are lining up for.. My question being, how long will the water keep?? does it go stale? or if you are down to no other option, will it be safe to drink for you and your family regardless of the taste? Looking forward to your answers, i really want to start storing now ""just in case"" in this day and age, you can never be too careful....

3 Answers

  • J.
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    PET bottles are not good for storage. Other than the chemicals/plasticizers they leach into the water, they are also not fully impermeable to certain gasses which can taint the water.

    If you keep the water away from light, even if they are in translucent containers (which need to be kept out of the light) 12 to 24 months is usually a reasonable expectation, Ideally you would want 3 gallons per person per day. Which adds up fast. If you can secure a plastic food grade barrel that contained something fairly tasteless like Ethanol, that would be the most efficient way to store a decent supply of water for long term. You can extend the period of time between water rotations by investing some water filters. Katydin has some decent comaping filters, and Berkey vendors carry the sport berkeys which are a quart bottle that you can run about 600 gallons of water through them before the filters clog. Clarity of the water determines filter life.

    The problem with most municipal water systems is their tendency to add chemicals to the water, most of which you do not want. If you can get good spring water, or well water, use that instead. Those will keep beyond 3 years with no problems.

    Water weighs a lot too. One liter will weigh 1 kilogram or about 2.2 poounds. 1 gallon of water will weigh in the neighborhood of 8 pounds. So best to store a barrel on some lumber to keep it off the floor, and on a concrete base. Trying to store it on upper floors gets tricky, some construction is not adequate to support it.

    Depending on the storage conditions, water can sometimes pick up an off taste. The real problems are algae.and iron bacteria which can thrive in indirect sunlight, These cause off tastes, and sometimes people can develop a sensitivity to them. Careful sanitation practices in filling will also minimize potentials for other bacteris. A good filter will catch the bacteria.

    If you are renting a house or own one, you already have in most cases a number of water storage options in place. The water heater, the toilet tank, a water bed even. The waterbed water can be used for sanitation purposes. In a pinch, sheet plastic can be laid in a bath tub and filled. and another sheet of plastic placed on top of it.Cover over any small diameter protrusions like the tub stopper knob with something like a peanut butter jar lid. Otherwise you risk a puncture.

    If you have no other choice, expect the PET bottle to last about 18 months before the plastic breaks down and seams fail. Polyethylene jugs are a better solution, but are not perfect. In fact, if you tend to use a lot of bleach, original Chlorox jugs once emptied, and be rinsed out, left to dry, and rinsed again and then filled with water for storage- the jugs are even heavier duty. Just store them well away from any bleach so no one ever mistakenly grabs bleach. Pull of the labels and tag them, do not use markers, use card stock tags. In an emergency, a few drops of bleach per gallon can be used on questionable water to kill microrganisms, the water needs to be let sit for an hour. Only do this in absolute emergency. All plastic bottles are actually slightly porous and will retain and flavor any water that is stored in them. I have a poly barrel that held root beer flavoring, I use it for watering trees, even after 4 years, it still smells of root beer.

    In a bad situation and you have no other choice, and you have your doubts about your water, if it is clear, or reasonably so, just heat it up to 160 degrees, or to where it just starts to boil and it should be safe enough to drink. Just boiling if you have time, or no thermometer. This method is preferable to the bleach method.

    Worst case, pick up a gallon of distilled water a week, this will keep the longest of any of them and there is nothing inside the jug to contaminate the water- this will store for years.

  • srura
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    When potable water is properly stored, it should have an indefinite shelf life; however, it’s a good idea to use and replace the stored water every 6 – 12 months. Rotating water this way provides you with an opportunity to experiment and check the amount of stored water against what you require. It also serves as an additional precaution against bacteria or viruses growing in containers which may not have been thoroughly or properly cleaned and sanitized.

    If you have freezer space, storing some water in the freezer is a good idea. If you lose electricity, the frozen water will help keep foods in your freezer frozen until the power is restored. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 inches of space in containers because water expands as it freezes

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    We re-fill at home but my wife also washes the empty bottles in the dishwasher so the heat will pretty much sterilize the bottle. Then we fill them and put them in the fridge. They are rarely there more than 3 days. Most city water also has a fair amount of chlorine in it so they will let it last a little longer. We also have a regular water cooler with 5 gal. jugs. I have had these large jugs in my garage for as much as 3 months with no ill affects, although they were still sealed.

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