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Thread: You're Not Disinfecting Water With That Powdered Bleach!

  1. #1
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    Default You're Not Disinfecting Water With That Powdered Bleach!

    I've noticed a concerning trend...

    Granular calcium hypochlorite can be had very inexpensively as swimming pool "Shock" in 1 lb. bags. It is all over the place, lasts forever, and only costs a few dollars ea. Like household bleach it can be used to disinfect water.

    Instructions to make water potable often have you first dissolve one heaping teaspoon of this 75-78% calcium hypochlorite powder in two gallons of water. That's one heaping teaspoon, 7g., for every 8 quarts or 1 gram for every liter of water to make a disinfecting solution. You'd then use one part of the disinfecting solution to 100 parts of water to disinfect it for drinking. The solution lasts many months.

    That 7g. heaping teaspoon of the powder is a little more than 1/4 ounce. And the bag is 16 ozs. You can see where it'd provide a lifetime supply of drinking water for someone. But here's the bad news...

    Many Shocks readily available these days are no longer the "high-test" percentages in the mid 70's that treat 10,000 gallons of water per lb. More and more often today you'll encounter bags with percentages more like 68%. I suppose in days of 12 oz. cans of coffee and 40-round boxes of .22's we shouldn't be too surprised...

    The good news is the bags clearly tell you the percentage of active ingredient a lb. of the powder is, and the weaker reagents will still treat 9,000 gallons of water and should even says so right on its directions. If they say something else, don't believe them. It just means you need to use about 10% more of this powder in your "makings." To use less may well fail to properly disinfect your drinking water, making you unhappy and unhealthy, or worse...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This Blue Wave product is 65% calcium hypochlorite and they may tell you it treats 10,000 gallons -- not quite for us it doesn't!

    Alden
    Last edited by Alden; 04-12-2011 at 11:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Did you ever test it ?


    Thanks



    fiveshot

  3. #3
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    Thank you, great info on the changes that they are flying under the radar.

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    Pool shock chemicals were never meant to be used to treat drinking water. I would not recommend anyone trying this and I think it foolhardy for someone who drinks water treated with pool chemicals. I'd sooner treat water by simple boiling than adding chemicals of which you do not know the lasting effects.

  5. #5
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    Chemicals really don't care what you or anyone else prints on the packaging. Water purification falls into two major steps: physical separation of particulates and chemical sterilization. The use of halogen compounds for water purification has been practiced on a massive scale for generations. The chemistry is easy to understand and regulate. The consensus opinion among those not wearing tinfoil hats is that when properly done, halogen disinfection is safer than most other methods available and is definitely more economical than alternative methods. Improperly done, trihalomethanes may be generated if the feedwater had high organic content and the initial chlorination was insufficient to oxidize all the organic material. The State of California "knows" trihalomethanes to be carcinogenic in mice so that lead to many municipal water works posttreating with ammonia which reacts with the trihalomethanes to form chloramines which are quite possibly more carcinogenic but California did not list it so the potential for spurious lawsuits is diminished. While there is some very slight possibility that treating your SHTF water with chlorine regardless of the source of the chlorine might eventually cause you to live long enough to have a cancer, not treating water potentially contaminated with a wide range of parasites, bacteria and viruses too small to be removed by physical screening will definitely put you in good position to contract dysentary or diarrheal diseases which will insure that you die a preventable death sooner rather than later.

    Not everything you don't understand is an evil conspiracy.
    rr2241tx

  6. #6
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    Thanks for posting this Alden-was just thinking about getting a supply of powdered bleach.I actually have some sitting around the house.A lot better than keeping the liquid around.Sounds like this stuff will keep awhile too.I think I still have an old decontamination manual around that details how to use powdered bleach.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=Sidney Smith;1714195]Pool shock chemicals were never meant to be used to treat drinking water. I would not recommend anyone trying this and I think it foolhardy for someone who drinks water treated with pool chemicals. I'd sooner treat water by simple boiling than adding chemicals of which you do not know the lasting effects.[/QU

    If you swim in a pool at all , just how much (Pool Water) do you think you have (Ingested) and you are not DEAD !

  8. #8
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    One of the major long term effects of too much chlorine is bladder cancer. I keep a supply of the large chlorine tablets around to treat my aerobic septic system. That stuff is really potent.
    "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid." John Wayne

    Texian

  9. #9
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    Bleach (chlooine) will off gas with time. We have two cisterns at our cabin and alternate to give the one most recently treated time to neutralize. Still don't drink it.
    Oldgoat46
    " In Biblical times Samson slew 40,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Everyday an equal number of sales are killed by the use of the same weapon."

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=shooter-x;1714380]
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidney Smith View Post
    Pool shock chemicals were never meant to be used to treat drinking water. I would not recommend anyone trying this and I think it foolhardy for someone who drinks water treated with pool chemicals. I'd sooner treat water by simple boiling than adding chemicals of which you do not know the lasting effects.[/QU

    If you swim in a pool at all , just how much (Pool Water) do you think you have (Ingested) and you are not DEAD !
    I don't go around ingesting poll water, so I guess that point is moot. However, a large pool treated with chlorene is different than a small container treated with same used strictly for ingesting. Hey go ahead and bash all you want, I just personally think its foolhardly to attempt to treat drinking water with pool chemicals. Hell for that matter why not just try a little liquid plumber in your ice tea......I will stick to boiling for my water treatment.

  11. #11
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    What is the ratio of liquid bleach to water, for disinfection? ...if I have to go that route..

  12. #12
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    http://www.i4at.org/surv/bleach.htm

    *Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification
    2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
    8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
    1/2 teaspoon Regular Clorox Bleach per five gallons of water
    If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.
    (Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, replace your storage bottle every three months.)
    Regards, Alan K.
    Available for Cabinet level positions, consultation on matters of foreign policy, weddings and bar-mitzvahs. Will work for gold or guns.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Sidney Smith;1715135]
    Quote Originally Posted by shooter-x View Post

    I don't go around ingesting poll water, so I guess that point is moot. However, a large pool treated with chlorene is different than a small container treated with same used strictly for ingesting. Hey go ahead and bash all you want, I just personally think its foolhardly to attempt to treat drinking water with pool chemicals. Hell for that matter why not just try a little liquid plumber in your ice tea......I will stick to boiling for my water treatment.
    That was a question , not a bashing , & no thanks on the liquid plumber in my tea , I don`t drink tea !

  14. #14
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    If you are following the instructions for water purification correctly your residual free chlorine level should be between 0.5 and 1.0 parts per million. There are test strips to verify the free chlorine content of treated water. If your residual level is too high, sunlight and aeration will both reduce the free chlorine level very effectively.

    The major problem with planning to boil water for any protracted length of time is the amount of fuel required to do an adequate job of it. There are a lot of heat-resistant cysts and bacteria that will survive most boiling schemes. Sooner or later you are going to be forced to either switch to a more efficient disinfection method or you'll die of starvation because you won't have time to do anything but cut wood to boil your water.
    rr2241tx

  15. #15
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    I just like the taste.
    The surplus of verbiage oft times consummates in a loss of perspicacity!

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  16. #16
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    OK. I will weigh in, even though I rarely comment here. Water purification is what I do for a living. I have a Texas, C Surface Water Treatment License. Treating surface water in a emergency situation is very different from what I do on a daily basis. Contrary to various law suits, the USA has the safest drinking water in the world. If we err we learn from it and do our level best to correct the problem. Yes, trihalomethanes, and chloramines enter into what I do on the large scale. The two have the potential to do damage to the very elderly and the very young, ie. blue babies. On the whole in a survival situation, your best bet is to remove through settling all the organic and mineral deposits that you possibly can, then taking the water from the top, continue if possible to filter the water through a sand filter, (not hard to make), after that most pool chlorine can be used IF YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER. Some very small surface water plants still use chlorine tablets for disinfection. The reason chlorine is used is it can be measured at the end of the distribution process to insure disinfection, so far no better method has come about. The problem with most other types of disinfection, from a water treatment standpoint is they can not be measured to insure that the drinking water is safe at all outlets. Hope this helps. Will check back and try to answer any legitimate questions.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Sidney Smith;1715135]
    Quote Originally Posted by shooter-x View Post

    I don't go around ingesting poll water, so I guess that point is moot. However, a large pool treated with chlorene is different than a small container treated with same used strictly for ingesting. Hey go ahead and bash all you want, I just personally think its foolhardly to attempt to treat drinking water with pool chemicals. Hell for that matter why not just try a little liquid plumber in your ice tea......I will stick to boiling for my water treatment.
    Do I then ASSume that you NEVER drink municipally-chlorinated water??????

    I USED to keep fish (chlorine kills them).

    I USED to have to care for an apt.-complex pool, and have one of my own now.

    The level of chlorine that is NORMALLY in swiming pool water, is between 1.5 and 3 Parts Per Million.

    I have found between 7 and 10 PPM in potable (drinking) city water.

  18. #18
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    I believe Clorox lowered the level of (sodium hypochlorite based) chlorine in their bleach a few years ago as well...
    Alden

  19. #19
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    Over on another site a few months ago I did some research. Unfortunately the link to a GREAT Army document has since been broken and I can't find the original any more (somewhere on my desk is the printout!). The problem with the granular stuff is you really have to make a stock of full strength bleach solution FIRST and then use that to disinfect your water. Also - bleach is great for bacteria and viruses but not very effective on Giardia and not at all on Cryptosprodium.

    I got 68% calcium hypochlorite and based on the original document I found the Army suggested 1 level tsp calcium hypochlorite per 1.5 cups of water to make a "full strength" bleach supply; then you only need about 1.5 to 2 drops of that solution per qt/L water to be treated, so you're getting (a bit stronger than) full-strength bleach. And that 1.5 cups of solution will treat 2,662 qts of water, or 665 gal. Given that the full strength bleach will probably only stay at a useable strength for a couple of weeks that's probably more water than you'll actually be able to treat. Of course you've also got a small supply of full strength bleach and there are a lot of things you can use bleach for if you've got it.

    I've got a pound of calcium hypochlorite in a bottle, with instructions, a measuring spoon, and a dropper sitting on a shelf ready to drop into the BOB on the way out the door.

    Still - I'm not going to rely totally on chlorine. According the Army chlorine disinfection (without filtration) should not be relied upon for protection from Cryptosporidium contamination. So I'll filter as well - Probably treat with chlorine first to prolong the life of the filter!

    Here's a document I found at the Army's Public Health Command site:

    http://phc.amedd.army.mil/PHC%20Reso...COTS_SUWPs.pdf

    see appendix D for specific Chlorine discussions
    "Deputy Dan es mi amigo." Deputy Dan has no friends.

  20. #20

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    The advantage of the calcium hypochlorite in solid form is that properly stored it will keep for relatively long periods of time. Then you can make up what you need as you need it.

    No one way of treating water will positively remove, or render safe, drinking water from all the bad things that can be found in water. You use what you’ve got to do the best you can.

  21. #21
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    You can also use chlorine bleach to make a disinfecting solution for medical use.
    No more Mr. nice guy.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alden View Post
    I've noticed a concerning trend...

    Granular calcium hypochlorite can be had very inexpensively as swimming pool "Shock" in 1 lb. bags. It is all over the place, lasts forever, and only costs a few dollars ea. Like household bleach it can be used to disinfect water.

    Instructions to make water potable often have you first dissolve one heaping teaspoon of this 75-78% calcium hypochlorite powder in two gallons of water. That's one heaping teaspoon, 7g., for every 8 quarts or 1 gram for every liter of water to make a disinfecting solution. You'd then use one part of the disinfecting solution to 100 parts of water to disinfect it for drinking. The solution lasts many months.

    That 7g. heaping teaspoon of the powder is a little more than 1/4 ounce. And the bag is 16 ozs. You can see where it'd provide a lifetime supply of drinking water for someone. But here's the bad news...

    Many Shocks readily available these days are no longer the "high-test" percentages in the mid 70's that treat 10,000 gallons of water per lb. More and more often today you'll encounter bags with percentages more like 68%. I suppose in days of 12 oz. cans of coffee and 40-round boxes of .22's we shouldn't be too surprised...

    The good news is the bags clearly tell you the percentage of active ingredient a lb. of the powder is, and the weaker reagents will still treat 9,000 gallons of water and should even says so right on its directions. If they say something else, don't believe them. It just means you need to use about 10% more of this powder in your "makings." To use less may well fail to properly disinfect your drinking water, making you unhappy and unhealthy, or worse...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	bluewave-shock-ny399-sm.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	12.2 KB 
ID:	420280

    This Blue Wave product is 65% calcium hypochlorite and they may tell you it treats 10,000 gallons -- not quite for us it doesn't!

    Alden


    I stopped by Lowes and Home Depot but the only thing they seem to carry has Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione as the active ingredients.

  23. #23
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    diChlor, as it is often referred to, is super strong stuff and can be used as well...

    2 ozs. is good for 10,000 gallons

    1/4 teaspoon is good for a 55 gallon drum of water.

    Alden

  24. #24
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    http://www.survivalunlimited.com/deepwellpump.htm

    If you are going to Hunker down at home ... They have some other interesting stuff there as well from their homepage.
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