A relatively mild hurricane, Sandy, converged with a cross country Pacific storm and a southward Arctic air blast. They all met simultaneously in this country's most populated coastal area during a full moon high tide.
Water flooded subways and sewage systems while causing wide spread power outages. Water purity concerns were among some of the issues after the winds died down and attempts at restoring order had begun.
Let's consider how to ensure you have the best drinking water during normal times and bad times or disasters, starting with normal times.
(1) During normal times, do your own reverse osmosis combined with activated charcoal filtering. Combined, these are effective at getting rid of almost all the sodium fluoride and chlorine compounds known as disinfection byproducts, or DBPs, considered more immediately toxic than chlorine alone.
If you own your own home or condo, there are reverse osmosis-carbon filter systems. The least expensive systems are installed under the kitchen sink for drinking and cooking water only, while complete reverse osmosis filtration systems for all the plumbing are quite pricey.
However, in addition to removing most of the sodium fluoride and chlorine DBPs, most of the mineral nutrients are also removed. They can be replaced with a little sea salt or trace mineral drops or a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, which also restores some alkalinity.
(2) If you can't afford your own system, or rent and can't mess with the plumbing, you can still get your own reverse osmosis-carbon filtered water by going to any health food store or supermarkets that have water filtration machines.
Information on the machines will disclose if they contain both reverse osmosis and charcoal filters. They usually charge 25 to 50 cents a gallon. Fill up with a few gallons at a time.
(3) You can prepare for a power outage scenario by buying a Berkey or ProPur water filter with its own tank for the purified water. They are portable and gravity fed, so there's no need for electrical power. Their prices range from $200 to $400 with added fluoride filters.
Missionaries and archeologists used these types of filtration systems in jungle areas to purify heavily polluted water and store it.
(4) Preparing for disasters by storing masses of store bought bottled water may prove to be a disaster in itself. Compared to using your own reverse osmosis system or your neighborhood food store's machine for pennies a gallon, bottled water is way overpriced.
Then there are the issues with plastic bottles, such as BPA. Confirm spring water bottles as containing actual spring water and not just purified tap water. Try to order spring water delivered in glass containers.
(5) If your city water supply gets polluted or you get stuck somewhere without water, boiling water at a high rolling boil for five minutes should get rid of most pathogenic bacteria and parasites.
The CDC recommends mixing an eighth of a teaspoon of unscented bleach in a gallon of water and letting it stand for a half hour. If the water is cloudy at first, use one-quarter of a teaspoon. Chlorine dioxide tablets for purifying water are recommended by camping experts.
When it comes to tap water, boiling won't get rid of the fluoride. It will increase fluoride density by boiling off some water and leaving the sodium fluoride intact.