Non-Chlorine Pool Chemicals: Safe for Drinking Water?

When an emergency or a disaster strikes and you run out of clean drinking water, a clock starts counting down.  Three days is all that this clock has.  Three days is how long it takes a healthy adult to die of dehydration.  This journal entry is a continuation of my article on Pool Chlorine and Drinking Water. Many people with pools believe they can use this water as a back up source of drinking water,  whether or not that belief is a sound one is not always a simple answer.  While chlorine is by far the dominant disinfection agent used in pools there is a growing trend away from using chlorine.  In the first article (linked to above) I covered all the common types of pool chlorine chemicals.  In this article I will discus some of the other chemicals used in pools, and how they affect drinking water in survival situations.  I always recommend drinking the safest quality water you can get, clean untainted water that has been properly disinfected is always at the top of the list.  The advice that follows is for those situations where pool water and pool chemicals are better than tainted and untreated water.  That decision is something that everyone has to make for themselves when the emergency hits.

Salt Water Pool: (image source http://salt-water-pools.com)

Saltwater pools are the fastest growing among the alternative disinfectants. Saltwater pools may be safer to swim in, but are much more difficult to treat. If you were to drink the saltwater from a pool you would start an acceleration of the dehydration process as it takes more water to remove the salt from your body. To put it another way, it takes over one liter of water to remove one liter of saltwater. There is only one that can effectively remove salt from water is distillation. Boiling will not remove any salt at all. In fact you can boil it till all the water is gone and all the salt will remain in the pot. Distillation is the boiling of water and collection of the water vapor and steam. Then the cooling of the vapor and steam back into water into another container. Continue reading

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Are Pool Chemicals Useful For Disinfection Of Drinking Water?

I get asked a lot if it is possible to use pool chemicals to disinfect drinking water in an emergency situation. The answer is not a simple one and you will have to make the choice for yourself.

Swimming pool chemicals are various types of disinfectants and sanitizers which work to control the growth of algae and bacteria in the water. The “chlorine” type disinfectant is most common. The chlorine comes from chemicals that release chlorine when dissolved in water.

The chlorine-based chemicals may be called chlorinating liquid, dry chlorine or liquid chlorine. Dry chlorine refers to chemicals in granular or tablet form while the other two are solutions of these same chemicals dissolved in water. When using the dry chemical it should first be mixed with water, then that solution added to the water for disinfection.

There are two main types of chlorinating agents for pools.

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