Water in a Moo Juice Container....

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To the intelligent GI's on the forum, here's one submitted by the wife: Water stored in cleaned gallon milk jugs. How good? How long? How to? Advice please....

-- INVAR (gundark@aol.com), December 14, 1998


From what I understand, milk jugs are made of biodegradable material and won't last the usefullness of the water. The 2 litre soft drink bottles (clear plastic) are better. Add 2 drops of chlorine bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) per quart or 1/8 teaspoon per gallon.

If water is bacteria free and placed in clean containers it should last for years. Aerate by pouring back and forth between 2 containers to improve the taste. Also water should have a slight chlorine smell when opened. If not, add chlorine sparingly, until it does.


-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), December 14, 1998.

DO NOT DO IT!!!!!!

Old milk jugs are the worst container to store water in.

1. No matter how well you attempt to clean the old milk jugs some milk will be contained in the pores of the plastic. Can you say biological contamination.

2. Old milk jugs(gallon size) are designed to last not much longer than the milk being delivered.

Buy yourself some food grade plastic water containers.


-- YADA (YADA@YADA.COM), December 14, 1998.

Thanks all. This is why as long as we can ask and receive info like this - our lifespan may very well be extended.

See- you dipwads that hate the internet? Lifesaving useful info on these forums. Methinks they dislike the freedoms to express ourselves freely, even if it is over storing water.

-- INVAR (gundark@aol.com), December 14, 1998.

On the same subject, what about "Lucky Leaf" apple juice jugs? They are much thicker and durable than milk jugs. However, getting them sanitized is a pain in the *ss. Two questions. 1) Any input as to the quality of using these for water storage? 2) Any ideas on an easier way to get them sanitized?

-- Lisa (LisaWard2@aol.com), December 14, 1998.

To Mr. Yada: How about if water stored in milk containers is used first and for non-drinking purposes(cleaning, etc.)?

-- susan (smhakala@aol.com), December 14, 1998.

Hi Gang...
Sometimes it pays to go straight to the source for info.
I head up a state-connected (Dept of Emergency Services) 11 county Y2K task force. My primary assigned area of responsibility is dealing with education and preparedness issues of the general public (lucky me). Since we are in a relatively rural part of the country, and power outages are forecast to be more frequent and of longer duration here, water is a primary concern.
To that end .. I spent the better part of a week recently contacting bottling plastics manufacturers and related information sources. These are the companies that stamp out the milk containers of which you speak. I posed several questions to the companies .. and ultimately will end up arranging for the delivery of new (never filled) milk jugs to a variety of distribution points around our state. To give you an idea of my confidence in the containers .. consider the magnitude of the orders: they will be delivering in quantities of 500,000 jugs per run. The total delivered may exceed 20 million.
I'd like to dispell some of the myths about the milk jugs .. as well as reinforce some of the facts:
Myth: From what I understand, milk jugs are made of biodegradable material and won't last the usefullness of the water.
Fact: Unlike certain garbage bags which are designed to degrade rapidly in ultraviolet light, milk jugs do NOT break down in that manner. They are made of a lighter (thinner) plastic than their soda-pop cousins simply because they don't need to withstand the pressures that carbonation causes.
Myth: The 2 litre soft drink bottles (clear plastic) are better.
Fact: They are made of a more rigid and slightly more durable plastic. That's all.
Myth: No matter how well you attempt to clean the old milk jugs some milk will be contained in the pores of the plastic.
Fact: While there is an element of truth here (the butterfat does permeate the plastic), they can be rinsed clean. The problem is it takes very hot water, soap, and more time than most people are willing to invest. Further, one then needs to ensure that the soap residue is also completely rinsed from the plastic as, due to a smaller molecular structure in the soap and associated surfactents, it has a greater tendency to invade the plastic than do the oil molecules from the butterfat.
Myth: Old milk jugs(gallon size) are designed to last not much longer than the milk being delivered.
Fact: False. Tests conducted by plastics manufacturers have shown that the milk containers show no sign of degradation or breakdown after more than three continuous years of water storage. Conditions: what you might find in a typical home .. containers stored on shelves at room temperatures varying from 54F (12C) to 76F (24.4C). Containers were kept in both lighted and dark areas. The only differences noted between the two were increased growth of biological organisms in untreated water in the lighted areas.
Bottom line:
Properly cleaned, rinsed, filled, and stored .. milk jugs can be used for water storage .. IF you want to go to the trouble to do the job right. The problem is .. most people don't take the time to do it right .. thus leading to reports that they aren't suitable. (Suggestion: Instead of hassling with used containers, why not try contacting some of the bottling manufacturers in your area and see if they will sell you some new bottles? The companies here are assembling "Santa Claus" light plastic bags with 10 jugs and lids (arranged for seperately) .. AND delivering them to various distribution points for a mere 25 cents per container (approx $2.50 per bag of 10 jugs) .. which includes the lid. (Note for emphasis: From my experience, the bottlers don't make the caps .. so that may be something you'll need to locate on your own. Suggestion #2: Why not use as-clean-as-you-can-get-them "used" milk jugs for non-critial water storage? (such as for toilet flushing if you're on a septic tank?) .. just a thought. (Do be sure you don't get potable and "other" water intermingled though.)
  • The containers are new, thus minimizing the possibility of contaminated water;
  • Being one-gallon in size (thus lighter), they are more manageable for everyone;
  • Gallon containers (7 lbs / 3.2 kg) don't pose a single-location weight concern as would a 55 gallon "drum" size container (approx 400 lbs / 182 kg + drum) when full ..;
  • Gallon containers can be stored in a wider variety of locations compared to larger containers;
  • At an approximate cost of 25 cents each .. they are less costly (and lighter) than most 55 gallon "food-grade" plastic water barrels;
  • If/when we come out "the other side" .. they can also be easily recycled as desired.
While there are a few disadvantages (more subject to puncture; many containers required for a substantial quantity of water; etc.) .. after considering the options, I feel that they are more than offset by the "plus" side...
I hope this helps...

-- Dan (DanTCC@Yahoo.com), December 15, 1998.

Use old soda bottles not old milk bottles.

Whatever's been in plastic bottles somehow soaks into the plastic then taints the water stored in it. Water tasting slightly of lime or cola is OK. Water tasting of rancid butter is not.

Also carbonated drinks bottles are a lot tougher than polythene milk bottles: less chance of accidents.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), December 15, 1998.

You want to know about milk jugs? From personal experience, they DO break down!!!!!! We have a water distiller as my family won't drink city water. We used to pour cooled water into milk jugs for storage. THEY LEAK!!!!! Tiny, tiny holes appear in the jug and water goes everywhere!! Don't tell me they don't break down!

-- Flagirl (Fran44@aol.com), December 15, 1998.

I am using milk jugs by freezing the water in my freezer. I will have ice to keep food in refrigerator cool for awhile incase power goes out. I think I can also drink it when it melts. What do you think of this idea?

-- Betty Arnspiger (Barn266@aol.com), December 15, 1998.

First hand experience - for the past 8 year we've maintained a collection of water filled re-used gallon milk jugs and re-used gallon distilled water jugs. (We rely on a private well and when the power goes out we have only one small pressure of water.) The milk jugs are designated to provide "toilet" water (so I don't care how it tastes.) The distilled water jugs are designated for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, etc.

Generally the distilled water jugs seem sturdier than milk jugs. Stored in the basement, both have held up pretty well. Every year a couple of the milk jugs develop pinhole leaks - usually in jugs that been bumped, bruised, or otherwise creased. Whenever I change the water or furnace filters, I check them and toss any with dropping water levels - a little water never hurt the concrete floor.

Works for me. Good Luck. jh

-- John Hebert (jhebert@co.waukesha.wi.us), December 15, 1998.

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