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How much bleach must I add to a 55 gallon water barrel for water storage?
Contrary to popular belief, household bleach is not an effective long-term water preserver. Hypochlorite, the active disinfecting agent in bleach decomposes rather rapidly--even if your Clorox bottle is never opened. (Check the Clorox website even for verification on this!)
Six to 9 months after manufacture, that bottle of bleach is going to be inadequate for any type of reliable purification--and that length of time can be shortened even faster in temperatures warmer than 70 degree F. Of course, if you dilute a few teaspoons of household bleach in a water barrel, the same loss of efficacy (at best) is going to be the case.
There is a product on the market that is great for maintaining pure water for up to five years of storage. It is called Water Preserver Concentrate--registered and licensed by federal and state EPAs. Water Preserver Concentrate is a potent, proprietary formula of stabilized, ph-balanced sodium hypochlorite with highly effective residual action that kills bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus. Developed effectiveness is based on applying the Water Preserver Concentrate to barrels of typical city-treated tap water.
Been doing a bit more research on this today and find that another excellent product for long-term drinking water preservation is called Purogene. Note that it requires an activator agent--citric acid (ala lemon juice or the equivalent)--at the time of application. The manufacturers of this product recommend re-treatment of your stored water annually.
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