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Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby fastback65 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:40 am

Potable water is one of our most precious resources and will likely be in short supply during a disaster. While bleach can be used effectively to purify water, it has a relatively short shelf life. Stocking up on pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) is a vastly superior option.

Pool shock is a dry powder commonly sold in discount stores, hardware stores, and, of course, pool supply stores. As long as it is kept dry, it will last a very long time. Mixed and used properly, one teaspoon of pool shock will purify up to one hundred gallons of water, so even one small package will go quite a long way. It also is fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to how useful it will be during an emergency.

Here is how it works. Please note this is a three stage process.

Step one is to filter your water. This assumes you are using water from a rain barrel, puddles, or other possibly questionable sources. Pour the water through a coffee filter or other improvised filtration device to remove any solids and get the water as clear as is possible. If the water is especially cloudy and time isn't critical, place the water into a container and let it sit for an hour or two. This will allow the solids to sink to the bottom of the container. Gently scoop the water from that container and place it into a clean jug or other vessel.

Step two is to make your purification solution. Do Not Drink The Purification Solution! Add one heaping teaspoon of pool shock to two gallons of water. Mix it thoroughly. This solution is essentially a form of bleach. This purification solution will not last a significantly long time so only make as much as you need at the moment, if possible.

Step three is to add the purification solution to your water. The ratio should be one part solution to one hundred parts water. This breaks down to one pint of solution to every 12.5 gallons of water. After mixing it well, there should be a faint chlorine smell to the water. If need be, this smell can mostly be removed by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers as the chlorine will evaporate away.

Due to its longevity, ease of use, and inexpensive cost, stockpiled pool shock can be a valuable item for barter or trade purposes.

It is a wise idea to have as much water stored ahead of time as is possible. There are many methods for storing water around the home, as well as finding hidden sources of water already in the home. However, it is wise to also have the means to purify additional water as the stored quantities will eventually run out.

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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby medicmike » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:03 am

Great info! Will have to add pool shock to my list of necessary preps :)
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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby Muleskinner » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:12 pm

FB65.... please pardon my ignorance but I have looked for "pool shock" at wally world but cannot find it.
Is "pool shock" a name brand or just a general reference to all powdered pool treatments.
Also would I be better off just going to a pool maintenance/supply business? I have stocked up on liquid
bleach in the mean time to get by with for now.

I have to confess, I have 4, 55 gallon food grade drums that I picked up from the co-op a few months back but
with my crazy work schedule due to the retooling going on at the plant, I have not followed through with
preparing my water supplies like I should have. HELP !
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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby fastback65 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:08 pm

Liquid bleach has a pretty short shelf life. The good thing about calcium hypochlorite, is it last a very long time if properly stored. You can use it to make liquid bleach. Pool Shock is just a generic name for calcium hypochlorite. Look for a brand that has the highest percentage of calcium hypochlorite for disinfection use.

Here is more info:

Many ourdoorsmen, survivalists, and households preparing for emergency disasters rely upon common household bleach as a disinfecting agent to make water safe to drink.

Bleach will destroy most (but NOT all!) disease causing organisms (boiling water to make it safe to drink is always the best method).

What is not well known is Calcium Hypochlorite is far better for chemically disinfecting water.
Old Way: Using Bleach to Disinfect Water

I cringe to think how many people have expired bleach in their disaster emergency kits that will be used for treating polluted water.

Those of us who have emergency preparedness stocks of survival food and survival gear often keep a gallon or two of unscented household bleach on hand for making safe drinking water in large quantities. Bleach is often the chemical of choice because it is commonly available and frequently mentioned when discussing the how-to’s of drinking water.

Typical fresh household chlorine bleach has about 5.35% chlorine content (be sure to read the label).

To use household bleach for disinfecting water:

Add two drops of bleach per quart or liter of water.
Stir it well.
Let the mixture stand for a half hour before drinking.

If the water is cloudy with suspended particles:

First filter the water as best you can.
Double the amount of bleach you add to the water.

Why Using Bleach to Disinfect Contaminated Water is a Problem

A little known problem with long term storage of bleach in your disaster emergency supply cache is that it degrades over time. Consulting a Chlorox bleach representative produced this statement:

“We recommend storing our bleach at room temperatures. It can be stored for about 6 months at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After this time, bleach will be begin to degrade at a rate of 20% each year until totally degraded to salt and water. Storing at temperatures much higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit could cause the bleach to lose its effectiveness and degrade more rapidly. However, if you require 6% sodium hypochlorite, you should change your supply every 3 months.”

I cringe to think how many people have expired bleach in their disaster emergency kits that will be used for treating polluted water. Even what are considered reliable sources of information such as the EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA will show you how to use bleach to disinfect water but will leave out this exceedingly important piece of information.

This is why I created Survival Topics – to give you the real information you need to survive.

So if bleach is unreliable for long term storage in emergency preparedness kits then what other commonly available chemical methods of disinfecting water are there? As it turns out a better solution is easily available.
Use Calcium Hypochlorite to Disinfect Water

A 1-pound pag of calcium hypochlorite in granular form will treat up to 10,000 gallons of drinking water

Calcium hypochlorite is one of the best chemical disinfectants for water, better than household bleach by far. It destroys a variety of disease causing organisms including bacteria, yeast, fungus, spores, and viruses.

Calcium Hypochlorite is widely available for use as swimming pool chlorine tablets or white powder that is much more stable than chlorine. This is often known as “pool shock”.
How to Disinfect Water Using Calcium Hypochlorite

Using granular calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water is a two step process.

To make a stock of chlorine solution (do not drink this!) dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon (about one-quarter of an ounce) of high-test (78%) granular calcium hypochlorite for each two gallons (eight liters) of water.
To disinfect water add one part of the chlorine solution to 100 parts water to be treated.
Let the mixture sit for at least one-half hour before drinking.

Be sure to obtain the dry granular calcium hypochlorite since once it is made into a liquid solution it will begin to degrade and eventually become useless as a disinfecting agent. This also means you should make your treated drinking water in small batches, for example enough for a few weeks at a time at most.

Another plus for using calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water for emergency use is that a little goes a very long way. A 1-pound pag of calcium hypochlorite in granular form typically costs only a few US dollars and can be obtained in any swimming pool supply section of your hardware store or online. This amount will treat up to 10,000 gallons of drinking water, which is enough for a family of four for some six or seven years at a gallon per day per person!

Calcium hypochlorite will store for a long period of time and remain effective as a chemical drinking water treatment. So get rid of the household bleach and buy a can of Calcium hypochlorite for your disaster emergency water disinfection needs. It lasts far longer and treats far more water than the traditional chlorine bleach water disinfection treatment.


HTH Pool Shock-N-Swim - 5 x 1-lb. bags

15% Stronger than regular HTH Shock with 53% available chlorine.
61n1IgiHiVL._SL1039_.jpg
61n1IgiHiVL._SL1039_.jpg (84.41 KiB) Viewed 5413 times


This is what I use.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby Muleskinner » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:46 pm

Got this printed out and will start looking on the way home from work tomorrow. Got to find the
time to build a storage rack for my water barrels, however i can still fill 'em up vertically until then.
Thanks for the info.
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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby Muleskinner » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:06 pm

fastback65 wrote: Pool Shock is just a generic name for calcium hypochlorite. Look for a brand that has the highest percentage of calcium hypochlorite for disinfection use. HTH Pool Shock-N-Swim - 5 x 1-lb. bags

15% Stronger than regular HTH Shock with 53% available chlorine.
61n1IgiHiVL._SL1039_.jpg


This is what I use.




FB65 - I talked to a local pool supply business today inquiring about the HTH brand of Pool Shock & Swim with 53% calcium hypochlorite . Although they don't carry that brand, she said they had another brand that contained 75% calcium hypochlorite. In your opinion, is this "too high" of a concentration to use for water purification? If not, do you think the ratio to water should be altered?
"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson

"Being prepared is sometimes inconvenient, but not being prepared is always inconvenient." - Fred Choate

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Re: Emergency Water Purification Using Pool Shock (Calcium Hypochlorite)

Postby fastback65 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:07 am

While I am no expert, I think the higher the better. I would maybe alter the ratio by the percentage increase of the active ingredient.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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