Aquatainers can store 7 gallons of water
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You use many different types of water every day. What containers do you need to store and manage them? We’ve previously discussed WHY you need to store water and HOW to purify it. This article will address WHAT types of water storage containers to use for the different types of water.

Most water containers are made out of glass, or food-grade plastic, but some may be metal. The type of metal is important.

The type of container you use for storing your water will depend upon how you plan to use it. The container requirements for consumable water are much different than that of secondary water.

Potable Water

Potable water is safe to drink. It has been treated or purified to remove substances that are harmful if ingested.

Containers for potable water need to be made of food grade plastic, glass, or an or un-oxidizing metal (such as aluminum or stainless steel).

Whatever type of container you use, it needs to be clean and free of cleaning solutions.  You can become sick from containers that are not clean and well rinsed.

The openings of water storage containers need to be tight and shielded from dust and dirt.  You do not want to drop dirt into the container as you are opening it.

Some containers for potable water and their available sizes are…

Transfer potable water from one container to another through a hose made for that purpose. Good choices include a white RV water hose or clear tubing made from food grade plastic.

It is best to keep the water at a temp between 35° F and 75° F.  When water freezes, it expands and could burst a seam in the container. This is especially true if it is filled too full or is not elastic enough to withstand the expansion.

Keep the water container out of direct sunlight to prevent algae growth.

Working Water

Water used for hand-washing of clothes or dishes is considered working water. Working water can also be used for showering or bathing.

Keep working water as clean as possible and store it in any clean container.

The same storage containers that work for drinking water will work for working water. In addition, you can use the following:

  • Rain barrels
  • Juice jugs
  • Milk jugs
  • 2 liter bottles

It is important to remember that this water is not the same as drinking water. To use it as drinking water, it must be purified or filtered.

If using milk jugs, store them in an area that will not be damaged if and when they spring a leak. Milk jug seams are not strong enough for long term storage.

Working water can be transferred through a garden hose since it is not for human consumption.

Grey Water

Reclaimed water from dishwashing, handwashing, or bathing is considered grey water.

Grey water needs no special container. Use any bucket or container available.

The main use of grey water is for flushing toilets. This assumes that the sewer or septic system is still working.

You can also use some grey water to water plants depending on the type and amount of detergent it contains.

Black Water

This water contains human waste.

Keep black water in a durable container with an airtight closure.  This helps to keep bugs out and odors in. 

Keep liquid human waste separate from solid human waste if at all possible.  This reduces the chemical reactions between the two types of waste and reduces odors. Treat the solid waste with dirt, dust, or cat litter.

Dispose of black water by broadcasting it or burying it in a pit at least 36 inches deep in an unoccupied area. Ensure the disposal area is at least 100 feet away from any water source or living area.  If possible, dispose of black water down-wind from the main living space.  Keep children and pets away from the discarded black water. Use gloves and other personal protection equipment when disposing of human waste.

We will talk more about ways of treating and disposing human waste in our sanitation and hygiene series.

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