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Aug 11, 2016

Healthy Living Looks at Water Safety Post Hurricane

After the all-clear was established for Hurricane Earl last week, the Ministry of Health issued an advisory informing Belizeans to monitor their water sources and ensure that the water used for consumption is safe.  The flood waters are still moving down towards the river valley and since the storm many communities have been affected by rising waters. So in tonight’s edition of Healthy Living, we look at three ways to safely treat water for consumption.

 

Marleni Cuellar reporting

If you have access to bottled water at home right now, then this doesn’t apply to you. But for many in the rural areas, they rely on local water sources for drinking water then this a good time to take some notes.

 

Following the passing of Hurricane Earl, there was substantial flooding along the river communities. If you feel your drinking water source was contaminated or compromised by flood waters then it is essential that you treat the water before drinking. If you water from your tap or well show signs of contamination it is also essential that you treat your water. Here are the three recommended ways to treat your water at home:

 

The first is by boiling:

It’s always a good idea to strain the water for any particles before boiling. The key is to boil the water vigorously for one to three minutes. Boiling the water kills any bacteria or parasite that is present in the water. Making it safe for consumption.

 

The second is by using liquid bleach:

Plain unscented Clorox can disinfect water. This regular household bleach can also kill the bacteria and parasites in contaminated water.

If the water you’re treating is clear then the recommendation is to use eight drops or one eighth of a teaspoon of liquid bleach to one gallon of water. If the water appears cloudy, then you would use double the amount of liquid bleach: sixteen drops or a quarter teaspoon to one gallon of water.

Leave the water to stand for thirty minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine smell. Be sure to store in clean containers after and once again only plain unscented bleach can be used.

 

Lastly, using water purification tablets:

These tablets are can be bought commercially or are sometimes distributed in relief packages. They must be used as stated in the instructions. If the instructions are not available, use one tablet for each quart of water to be purified.

 

The preferred method of all three is boiling the water. It is important to be especially cautious when the treated water will be consumed by children or pregnant women.  One final reminder, water to be used for personal hygiene purposes should also be properly treated.

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