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  • At least three gallons of water per person, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and sick people might need more water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water might be necessary.
  • Store water in tightly sealed, clean plastic containers such as soft drink bottles.

Boiling Water

If a "boil order" is issued by emergency officials in your area, do the following:

  • Fill a large pot with water from the tap.
  • Strain the water through cheesecloth, a sheet, a coffee filter or other clean, porous material to remove as many solids as you can.
  • Bring the water to a rumbling boil and keep it boiling for at least 10 minutes.
  • Pour the water back and forth between two clean pots. This will add air to the water and make it taste better.
  • Let the water cool, then add eight drops liquid chlorine bleach for each gallon of water. Let the water stand for half an hour. If it gives off a slight chlorine smell and looks clear, it's OK to use.

If you do not smell chlorine or the water is still cloudy, add an additional eight drops liquid chlorine bleach and let stand for another half hour. If you smell chlorine, it's OK to use. If you have added bleach twice and the water still does not smell like chlorine, don't use it for drinking or cooking. Make sure that any water you use has been tested and approved by the water supplier or health department.

Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.


Water pumped from wells that have been submerged by floodwater should be disinfected before being used for drinking, cooking or for washing cooking utensils.

If a well is flooded, check for mud or clay particles inside the well. If the water is cloudy, the system should be flushed until the water clears. Then, disinfect the interior of the well and pumping equipment with a strong chlorine solution.

If there are no specific instructions from your local health department new window, follow these steps to purify your well and water:

  • Open your faucets to pump the water out of your well. Let them run for at least 15 minutes or until you lose pressure.
  • Pour one quart of liquid chlorine bleach in the well and leave it for at least four hours. Do not use any water during this time.
  • Open all the faucets and let them run until you smell chlorine at each faucet.
  • Turn off the faucets and let the water sit in the pipes for two to four hours. Do not use any water during this time.
  • Flush out the system by running the taps until you can no longer taste or smell the chlorine.

Have your local health department test a sample of water from your well to ensure it is safe to drink.

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