Two Letters Re: Advice on Treating Pond Water

Hi Jim,
I just got the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course the other day and love it. I also just finished the audio CD [that came with the course binder] and that was a great addition to the book.

My husband has said ‘you can just boil water’ to make it available for drinking water, and I don’t think this is so. [In the course binder] you only speak of having water filters of various kinds.
Can you tell me if water is retrieved from a pond how to treat it?

Also, can you go into detail as far as explaining treating water with Clorox [liquid bleach]?
I just have no idea, say if I put tap water in a water safe container, how long will that last?
Thanks so much in advance. – Kathleen W.

JWR Replies: Creek or pond water should be run through two thicknesses of tightly woven cotton bath towels, (using plastic buckets), as a “pre-filter”. It can then either be treated with plain chlorine bleach, or run through a good quality ceramic filter such as a Big Berky.
See this SurvivalBlog article on spring and well water basics, and these two letters on water filtration and treatment, and this letter on using chlorine bleach to treat water from questionable sources. (
BTW, I found all of those with just a one minute search with the SurvivalBlog Search box.)

The general rule is: If in doubt filter it, and if you don’t have a proper filter available, then use hypochlorite bleach to treat the water.

If you live in an area with chlorinated tap water (from a municipal water supply), you can store it “as is” for just a few weeks in a container that is kept in a cool dark place. Well or spring water that is not chlorinated should not be stored this way, since it might have a marginal bacteria count, starting from day one.

To extend its shelf life of stored bottled to several years, you can add recently purchased plain Clorox (hypochlorite) liquid bleach at the ratio of one quarter teaspoon for each two liters. Do not use bleach with any added scents,”whiteners”, or other additives. Just use plain bleach! And again, I stress using freshly-purchased bleach, since it actually loses strength over time, even if kept tightly sealed.