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Drinking Water Safety
In an emergency, you will need water for drinking, food preparation and hygiene. Plan on having at least one gallon per person, per day on hand.
Never ration water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
Emergency Outdoor Water Sources
It's always better to obtain drinking water from a source that you know to be pure (public water supply, bottled water). However, if in an emergency you need to find water outside your home from one of these sources, be sure to purify the water before drinking it. It is important to tpurify any water of unknown quality. Water that looks clear can be contaminated.
Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first (see below). You should never drink flood water.
If you have a well that has been flooded the water should be tested and disinfected after the waters recede. Do not try to disinfect a well that is still under water. For a six inch wide well that is 300 feet deep, one gallon of household bleach is needed. If you think your well may be contaminated, contact the Maine Drinking Water Program 24 hours a day at 557-4214.
Three Ways to Purify Water
You must purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.
There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods. Before purifying:
Boiling is the safest method of purifying water.
Distillation will remove microbes not removed by boiling or disinfection, as well as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.
The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.
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