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Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition
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Water Storage Tips
  • You can store your water in thoroughly washed plastic, glass, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers.
  • Never use a container that has held toxic substances, because tiny amounts may remain in the container's pores.
  • Sound plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums.
  • Avoid the use of plastic milk or other similar containers. This plastic becomes brittle over time and can easily crack during the ground shaking of an earthquake.
  • Before storing your water, treat it with a preservative, such as chlorine bleach, to prevent the growth of microorganisms. Use liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite and no soap. This should be readily available at your local grocery store. Some containers warn, "Not For Personal Use." You can disregard these warnings if the label states sodium hypochorite is the only active ingredient and if you use only the small quantities in these instructions.
  • Add four drops of bleach per quart of water (or two scant teaspoons per 10 gallons), and stir.
  • Seal your water containers tightly, label them and store them in a cool, dark place.
Adapted from the FEMA library: "Emergency Food and Water Supplies"
(Updated November 1999)
Go to the "Emergency Water Sources" page