Hurricane prep... Does anyone here have plans to turn pool water into drinking water in an emergency?

poolnoobgrandma

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2018
318
Seminole, FL
So today's paper had the annual hurricane guide. Which started our conversation about starting to stock up on water etc. Of course we have this big reservoir of water in the backyard which can easily be used for flushing etc, but it made me start thinking about converting it to drinking water in an emergency. Does anybody have DIY distilling equipment or other mechanism to prepare for an emergency?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,976
Tucson, AZ
This has been discussed before. Use the Search box and select the G option for searching with Google and you’ll find the threads.

Short answer is NO you can not easily or cheaply filter pool water enough to make it potable. OK for flushing toilets but that’s about it.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,470
Houston, Texas
The amount of money you would have to invest to make pool water drinkable would be significant. Plus you would need some sort of electrical generator, since odds are if the storm was bad enough to knock your city water offline, you won't have any power either. Also, what I have found after a direct hit from a hurricane, I had so much debris in my pool it turned black within a couple of days without power. Finally, you can't filter out CYA. The only way to remove it from water is reverse osmosis, which is neither cheap or quick, and I don't think those little home RO units are up to the job. For the amount of money you would have to invest to make this project feasible you could easily buy out the bottled water supply in several grocery stores. Use the pool water to take a bath or flush toilets, but don't try to drink it. Its not good for your pets either.
 

poolnoobgrandma

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2018
318
Seminole, FL
The amount of money you would have to invest to make pool water drinkable would be significant. Plus you would need some sort of electrical generator, since odds are if the storm was bad enough to knock your city water offline, you won't have any power either. Also, what I have found after a direct hit from a hurricane, I had so much debris in my pool it turned black within a couple of days without power. Finally, you can't filter out CYA. The only way to remove it from water is reverse osmosis, which is neither cheap or quick, and I don't think those little home RO units are up to the job. For the amount of money you would have to invest to make this project feasible you could easily buy out the bottled water supply in several grocery stores. Use the pool water to take a bath or flush toilets, but don't try to drink it. Its not good for your pets either.
I was considering distillation (not filtration), using an outdoor propane burner. Our first choice will be bottled water and water stored in our big orange igloo cooler. But it's always good to have a plan c, d, and e.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,470
Houston, Texas
The CYA would be your biggest issue, however very hard water can aggravate kidney stone formation, so there is that. I know CYA and calcium don't evaporate out, but your could always try it on a small scale and see if it works. Test a sample of water for all things pool chemical and then test your end product after distillation. Let us know what you get, could be interesting.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,976
Tucson, AZ
$1400 gets you a 9 gallon/day distiller -


You would probably want to buy the 12 gallon reservoir that goes with it as well as the cartridge filter and granular activated carbon filter on the output. Distillation typically requires filtration to remove contaminants that have vaporization temperatures close to that of water.
 

poolnoobgrandma

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2018
318
Seminole, FL
$1400 gets you a 9 gallon/day distiller -


You would probably want to buy the 12 gallon reservoir that goes with it as well as the cartridge filter and granular activated carbon filter on the output. Distillation typically requires filtration to remove contaminants that have vaporization temperatures close to that of water.
I was going to attach a heat resistant hose to our pressure cooker release valve. ♥
 

FnC80

Gold Supporter
Aug 23, 2017
74
Manvel, TX (Houston)
If you’re worried about water supply, invest in a rain barrel and camping water filtration kit. Also in a pinch adding a ~1/2 teaspoon (6-8 drops) of bleach to a gallon of water will also make it potable. The hurricane will supply every drop of water you need, and the pool water can be used to flush the toilets as stated earlier. The size of your rain barrel can be anything from 55 gallon Drum under the downspout with screen (prevent debris from entering barrel) to something you bury and could be 100’s of gallons in size. Either way the options will be way cheaper and less labor intensive to get potable water to last during an emergency.
Other alternative would be “bathtub bladders”. I have three of them for all all three bathrooms that I can fill beforehand and cap off.
 

sbcpool

Well-known member
Mar 10, 2015
298
Upland, CA
As far as the CYA goes, without chlorine that stuff disappears pretty quickly (at least in my pool). I've often thought of trialing a system of using a small pump to feed pool water to my R/O unit. If you dechlorinate first (a drop or two of peroxide per gallon for every ppm of FC does that) and prefilter out any junk larger than a couple microns I don't know why it would be a problem.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,976
Tucson, AZ
As far as the CYA goes, without chlorine that stuff disappears pretty quickly (at least in my pool). I've often thought of trialing a system of using a small pump to feed pool water to my R/O unit. If you dechlorinate first (a drop or two of peroxide per gallon for every ppm of FC does that) and prefilter out any junk larger than a couple microns I don't know why it would be a problem.
It depends on the RO membrane. The high CH of pool water plus it’s generally higher TDS makes RO less efficient unless you have a way of boosting the pressure. Commercial grade RO systems operate at higher input pressures but also have strict TDS requirements to reduce the incidence of scaling. If water has high CH and TA, then you often need to inject sequestering agents in to the supply line to hold the calcium in solution. Once calcium precipitates out of solution, an RO membrane can quickly be destroyed. Pool water is not a good source water for RO.
 

sbcpool

Well-known member
Mar 10, 2015
298
Upland, CA
Of course. My tap water is very hard. It kills R/O membranes somewhere around 1,500 gallons, but that's still a fair bit of water in an emergency situation. When using the pool you could could set a really high brine ratio (10:1 or something) to prolong the life of the membrane. It's nowhere near ideal, but if it can get you water to drink for a week.

Personally I think it would be much easier and more feasible to figure out how to run a dehumidifier for a few hours a day. Even at 50% humidity mine will produce 2 gallons in a few hours.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,976
Tucson, AZ
Just get one of these -