Treating potentially contaminated water in an emergency
During an emergency, like major flooding, the Ellenville Water Department may issue a "boil water notice" until we can verify that the water is not contaminated and is safe to drink. During a "boil water notice" any water used for drinking or food preparation should be boiled at a full rolling boil for at least one full minute. A full rolling boil is a vigorous boil that can not be stopped by stirring the water. If the water is very dirty looking and/or has particulate matter in it, filter the water through a coffee filter, paper towels, or clean cloth before boiling.
If the emergency has left you with no way to boil the water or if you have limited fuel and do not want to use it for boiling water, you may treat the water with liquid chlorine laundry bleach. NOTE: do not use scented laundry bleach, powdered bleach, or swimming pool chlorine - these contain additional chemicals that are poisonous. Below is a chart showing how much liquid bleach to add to the water.
Quantities of bleach used to treat water for emergencies
After you add the bleach, thoroughly mix by stirring or shaking the container. Let the water stand for 30 minutes before using. A slight chlorine odor should be noticeable in the water, if not, add another dosage of bleach and allow the water to stand another 15 minutes before using.
The water can also be treated with the use of water purification tablets which can be purchased at most outdoors or sporting goods stores. Follow the directions for use on the package you purchase.
Treat only enough water to meet your needs for 48 hours at a time. There is an increased chance of recontamination if the treated water sits for more than 48 hours. Refrigeration will also help avoid recontamination.
Note: Most home water filters are meant for water that is already microbiologically safe. Using these filters during a "boil water notice" will not guarantee the safety of the water. Replace any filter cartridges after the boil water notice has been lifted to insure your filter is not contaminated.