Can You Drink Pool Water in an Emergency

In the event of a Natural or Man-Made disaster, the key is to be prepared and have solutions in the event food, or power can’t be provided because of a disaster situation and even water is unavailable for a period of time with no way of accessing it for multiple reasons. What would you’d you do if you had a swimming pool in your backyard. Can you drink your swimming pool in an emergency?

Yes-With proper treatment most, if not all chemicals, contaminants, chlorine, & bacteria can be removed from your pool’s H2O which is considered wastewater by using Distillation, Carbon, & Micro-Filtration, or a combination of the 3 to make your swimming pool a reliable emergency potable H2O source.

Coping during an Emergency situation can feel helpless for people who are directly involved but there are ways to prepare for any type of disaster and knowing what to do can empower the people involved making them a survivor, not a victim.

Drinking Pool Water


There is a lot of bad things that could be lurking in your swimming pool that chlorine and the best well-balanced chemistry can’t get rid of.  Well balanced and maintained your pool’s water is clean and healthy enough for swimming purposes, yes, but for drinking large amounts in place of treated tap water from your community distributer, No!

According to the CDC Center for Disease Control;

Fecal matter isn’t the only thing you’re swimming with when you take a dip in the pool. There’s a lot of pee in it, too. Public pools contain about 20 gallons of urine, while a smaller residential pool likely contains about two gallons. That equates to a very small percentage, but it’s enough to cause some worry. Bacteria and parasites can be resistant to Chlorine.

“Urine, sweat and body oils react with the chlorine in pool water to create strong-smelling chemical compounds that are dangerous in large amounts,” said Dr. Clark. “In most cases these compounds haven’t been found in large amounts, but it’s still unhealthy.

What happens in an emergency situation where for a time water was unavailable? What would happen if our Country’s Utility Grid was closed down or the computer system that controller it was hacked and sabotaged. That could never happen you say. It already has. Right before the Super Bowl and in that area of Florida a Water Treatment Plant was cyber-attacked by unknown criminals.



With Global Warming Drought and Water Scarcity becoming more and more serious in this country and all over the world less drinking water is available to our growing population. Add some terrorist who wants to make a point on a world stage shutting down a Reservoir or Water system used for drinking water for a mass populated region is not out of the realm of reality for a situation to develop. Water Security is real and used as a weapon.

The question is what would you do? Especially if you have 25-35000 gallons of it in your backyard that looks like you could drink it down with no problems. You could store cases of Bottled Water or harvest rainwater or drink your swimming pool.


Crystal clear water, running through a stream or river, does get cleaned a bit by natural processes flowing over rocks, vegetation, and other natural filters. But, if your drinking water just downstream of any unknown water source, it could very well be contaminated by humans or animals and what may seem to be very clean and pristine may not be. Read my article here on MyWaterEarth&Sky called How To Tell If Water Is Safe To Drink In The Wild

How To Purify Pool Water For Drinking


Harvest smaller size containers and treat them individually. Pool water starts as Potable water from the garden hose but once you add some people, chemicals, toxins from products like suntan lotion, and some environmental elements from wind and rain that clean the earth and sky of collected contaminants from sources of pollution, like factories and car exhaust the water in your pool, becomes wastewater.

The best way to disinfect a large amount of pool water (wastewater) in your backyard is by Carbon Filtration, Micro-filtration, and/or Distillation. Take a look at this Distiller available through Amazon produces 8 gallons of Distilled Water per/day called Durastill 30H4 8 Gallon Countertop Distiller

It’s important to realize that you won’t try to treat the whole pool to be able to drink which is impossible but rather collect water from the pool as you would water from a river or a lake. Treat the amount you pull and treat that amount then store it. The best methods are:

  • Distillation process
  • Microfiltration
  • Carbon Filtration
  • Combinations of the 3 methods


Why Is Lake Mead So Low

How to Make Saltwater Pool Drinkable


Reverse osmosis desalinization is simple in concept: squeeze saltwater through a semi-permeable membrane fine enough to remove the salt, other minerals, and contaminants. Unfortunately, that membrane must be so fine that the filtering process requires enormous pressure (typically 800 psi) to push the freshwater through. And developing that pressure uses a lot of energy.

The Katadyn Filter delivers 1.5 gallons of water per hour, and it’s the only water maker that converts to manual operation in the event of a power failure. It operates quietly and is designed for low maintenance and its portable usage is carried into places around the world where clean water doesn’t exist. These tools are expensive very valuable in places where the only water is saltwater. You can find  the Katadyn Power 40 E Watermaker Desalinator on our Recommended page for MyWaterEarth&Sky 

So if your swimming pool is a Salt Water pool the salt can be removed in 2 ways a Desalinate or Micro-Filtration water filter like the one above which can be used for seawater survival or a Distillation Filter Unit that can remove the salt by boiling and collecting condensation leaving the salt behind.

  • On average, seawater in the world’s oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%  This means that every kilogram (roughly one liter by volume) of seawater has approximately 35 grams (1.2 oz.) of dissolved salts. ocean water contains about is about 35 parts per thousand. This means that in every liter of water, there are 35 grams of salt, or about 3.5 percent of the weight of seawater comes from salts. The salt level of a Salt generated pool is much lower.
  • The salt level should be around 4,000 ppm (parts per million) for new pools. If you operate a Salt Generator Pool then you can test the water to find the existing chlorine level. The optimal operating range for salt in your pool is 2,700-3,400 ppm (parts per million)
  • Test it after you treat the salt pool and before you start drinking it.



Water Security


Water Security normally refers to a country’s ability to resource freshwater as the most important resource for mankind, cross-cutting all social, economic, and environmental activities. It is a condition for all life on our planet, an enabling or limiting factor for any social and technological development, a possible source of welfare or misery, cooperation or conflict.

We normally talk about the lack of water coming from increased populations or rising temperatures that affect a country’s ability to sustain or develop more water but what if someone wanted to disrupt it in order to attack the population of a country? Maybe our Country?

Water supplies and water distribution systems represent potential targets for terrorist activity in the United States because of the critical need for water in every sector of our industrialized society. Even short-term disruption of water service can significantly impact a community, and intentional contamination of a municipal water system as part of a terrorist attack could lead to serious medical, public health, and economic consequences.

Its been well known for quite sometime that some water systems in the world are vulnerable to many different types of threats. Some are environmental and some could be intentional contamination either by Bio-Warfare Biotoxins or what has happened in Florida where the software that controlled the operation of a water treatment plant was hacked possibly from another country.

The deliberate contamination of the wells, reservoirs, and other water sources of civilian populations has been employed as a method of attack by opposing military forces throughout the history of war. Many armies have resorted to using this method of biowarfare, including the Romans who contaminated the drinking water of their enemies with diseased cadavers and animal carcasses With enhanced technology and modern scientific advances, the mechanisms of biowarfare agent dispersal have expanded considerably.  Annual Review


Preparedness is key for any kind of disruption from our Power or Utility Grid from any kind of disaster that starts at home. A plan of Action can guard against a threat to your family’s health. Water, food, power, and medical supplies with drinking water being #1 in a disaster. Whether the disaster is a natural or planned event.


Many cities have aging water infrastructures, that hold, treat, and deliver water some as old as 100 years. The structures and materials used in piping systems are reaching the end of, or are exceeding, their life expectancy. Incredibly, some water older systems contain bacteria, lead, and asbestos which became an environmental disaster in Flint Michigan’s water infrastructure. Read our article called  What is Water Infrastructure?



JimGalloway Author/Editor



References: USGS Water Resources

EPA-Drinking Water 

ThoughtCo-How Salty is the Ocean

Annual Review-Preparing for the Potential Threat to U.S. Water Supplies and Public Health



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