Have you ever wondered if water will go bad? If so, continue reading to learn the answer, and some easy experiments to test water quality yourself!
It is very common for people to store emergency supplies, including large amounts of drinking water. These are handy during times of heavy storms, especially for those who rely on a private well that requires the use of an electric pump. However, our meteorologists can only predict so far into the future when it comes to inclement weather. So it is common for emergency reserves to sit idle for long periods of time. In cases like this, people often wonder whether or not water can go bad, and if old water is safe to drink.
Water CAN Go Bad
Water is an organic element, which means it is subject to biological changes just like any other type of organic matter. In short, this means water can decrease in quality, even to the point that it becomes unsafe to drink. There are two chief ways water can go bad. And the first way can be learned by conducting an easy and fun experiment. Here are the steps:
💧 Fill a large bowl or bucket with water from your kitchen sink, and then place it outside in a protected area, like your front porch or patio.
💧 After one full week, go back and inspect the water. You will see several signs that indicate the water quality has decreased significantly. These signs include insect and mosquito larvae, algae growth, and more. Under a microscope, you would be able to see various other living organisms and bacteria.
💧 Once you have seen the outcome of this mini-experiment, you will understand how old water can be unsafe to drink. Furthermore, you will learn that storing water in an unopened container is not safe nor effective.
The second way water can go bad is by container contamination. For instance, if you place water in a lead container, the lead will seep out of the container and into the water it holds. Consuming this water would not only taste unpleasant, it would be highly dangerous and likely fatal. This is an extreme example, but there are some likely ones too. Some plastics are not particularly safe to store foods and beverages in for a long period of time because certain chemicals used to manufacture the plastic can leach out and contaminate the water.
Storing Water Safely
In order to safely store water, you need to use the proper supplies and techniques. Pure, fresh water must be placed into a clean container that is made from a food-grade material. Materials like glass, stainless steel, and certain plastics are FDA approved as “food grade.” Before you can seal up your container, the water must be processed in some way to eliminate any bacterial contamination. Many people have success processing water with heat just like with canning, but you can also use a chemical like chlorine or iodine. Lastly, your food-grade container must be covered with an airtight lid, and stored in a cool dry place.