Liz Crenshaw's Guide to Consumer Issues, Recalls and More

Do's and Don'ts on Water Storage, Safety and Use

By Liz Crenshaw and Katie Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013  |  Updated 9:52 AM EDT
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Dos and Don'ts of Water Storage

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Dos and Don'ts of Water Storage

Mandatory water restrictions for a large portion of southern Prince George's County mean hundreds of thousands of people will go several days without running water. News4's Liz Crenshaw shares advice about how to store and use the water you have and how long that water will last.
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Southern Prince George’s County is facing up to five days without water starting 9 p.m. Tuesday as the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) repairs a failing water main.

Residents will have to make sure they're prepared to face scorching summer temperatures without easy water access. NBC Washington has some tips for water storage and use from the WSSC, CDC, FEMA and the Red Cross. Find out how to get through those water-deprived days:

DO:

  • Store one or two gallons of water per day per person, with more for children and those who are sick.
  • Store the water in food-grade plastic or glass containers such as two-liter soda bottles or punch containers.
  • Store any container with water in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat.
  • Store any water in an opened container in the refrigerator to help reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.
  • Use water in opened containers within one to two days. Water in sealed containers will be good for up to six months.

DON’T:

  • Don't store water in plastic milk bottles. It’s difficult to remove the protein and fat residues, which can allow bacteria to grow during storage.
  • Don't store water in any bottle or container that once held a toxic substance, such as a cleaning solution, because tiny amounts of those chemicals could remain in the container.
  • Don't bother boiling water before storing it. The water is already safe to use, and it won’t prevent problems that can happen during storage.
  • Don't forget your pets. Store at least one quart of water for each small pet you have, with more for larger animals.

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