Water is one of the most critical aspects of survival. If you don’t have a good storage of water for the long term. Then it can be troublesome in the long run. A 55-gallon drum is a great way to store water for any emergency. So for this article, I’ll share details on how you can store water in a 55-gallon drum for an emergency.


Steps To Store Water In a 55 Gallon Drum For an Emergency and Long term

  1. Selecting a good quality Food grade drum and where to get it?
  2. Disinfecting and cleaning the drum.
  3. Properly filling the drum with water.
  4. Storing Your Water Barrel Safely
  5. Siphoning Water out of the Barrel.

Things you’ll Need For water storage:

  • A 55 Gallon drum
  • Bleach
  • Soap
  • Black Sheet
  • Tape
  • Scissor
  • Siphon Hose (A separate one not from your garden)


Selecting A Good Quality Drum And Where To Get It?

52 gallon water barrel

A 55-gallon drum is a great option to store water for any emergency and long term. But you have to make sure that the drum is of good quality food grade plastic. 

You know what really happens with cheap grade plastic is they tend to leach from surroundings. Most of the plastic have a leaching tendency.

For a better understanding suppose you have a bottle of sealed water. And you put it into an onion container then after some time, you’ll notice that the water tastes like an onion.

So now the question is what type of plastic drum should we choose.

These are the best food-grade plastic with no toxins to store water for the long term. These plastic have a shelf life of 5 years. 

  1. PETE Or PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)
  2. HDPE (High-density polyethylene)
  3. PVC (Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride)
  4. LDPE (Low-density polyethylene)
  5. PP (Polypropylene)
  6. PS (Polystyrene)

Now where to buy a good quality 55-gallon drum. You can get these food-grade drums from amazon and other online stores. You can also check into your local store. But remember one thing you should never buy a used one. Not even if you know someone personally. Because you never know what was stored in that drum. 

The safest option is to buy from is to buy a new one. Check this safest 55 Gallon drum   

Cleaning Water Drum For long term storage

rinsing water barrel

Steps for cleaning water drum:

  • Firstly pour the water through a pipe into the drum.
  • Then add dishwashing soap or detergent to your barrel.
  • After this close the lid of the barrel and place it horizontally and roll it on the floor.
  • After rolling the barrel a few times. Empty the soapy water from the barrel.
  • Then rinse the drum with a copious amount of water.
  • After this fill the drum with water again, roll it on the ground, and rinse it one more time to make sure every part is clean.

Sanitizing and disinfecting The Barrel

sanitizing water barrel

Steps For Sanitizing the barrel:

  • Start with adding 1 teaspoon of unscented chlorine bleach.
  • Then add a quart of water to the barrel.
  • After this just lay the barrel horizontally and roll it a few times. And also make sure to flip it so that the whole barrel is disinfected.
  • You can roll and flip the barrel for around 30 seconds.
  • Then just empty the chlorine solution from the barrel.
  • After this, you can rinse the barrel with water and let it air dry.

Filling the drum with Water 

filling water barrel

  • Take a drinking safe water hose. Make sure that you’re not using your regular garden hose. Because it may contain dirt and it’ll end up contaminating your water barrel.
  • If your water is coming from a city. You can just fill it because it comes treated. But if you’re using any untreated water source like well water, lake water, etc. You need to treat it before filling the barrel up. Just add 2 tablespoons of unscented chlorine bleach to the 55 gallons of water. You can also use a bottle of water preserver. And if you don’t have any of these then you can use ¼ teaspoon of calcium hypochlorite.

How to store 55 Gallons of water drum?  

storing water barrel

  • You must avoid placing the barrel directly to the concrete. Use some kind of stand or wooden frame.
  • You must keep these barrels away from any kind of gasoline.
  • Keep the barrel in a dark and cool place.
  • You mustn’t let the barrel get sunlight because it can cause algae growth and plastic leaching.
  • You can cover the barrel with a black sheet so in case sunlight reaches the room. Those drums will not be affected.

Accessing Water Gallon During Emergency

siphon water out

  • Wipe the dust off the whole barrel.
  • Open the lid of the barrel. Use a bug wrench to open the lid.
  • Insert a Siphon/handpump into the barrel.
  • Through the pump pour water into your small bucket/jug.
  • You can filter the water before drinking it’s the best practice. And if you don’t have any filter just boil the water. Boiling will kill all the microbes. Check this water pump for 55-gallon drum 

How long can you store water in a 55-gallon drum?

You can store water in a 55-gallon drum for 6 months to 1 year. You need to rotate water every 6 months or 1 year. Because you know barrels are made up of plastic and it has a leaching tendency. So it is the best practice to rotate water periodically.

How much bleach to purify 55 gallons of water?

55 Gallons Of Water  2 Tablespoon Unscented Bleach(Sodium Hypochlorite)
55 Gallons Of Water  ¼ Teaspoon of Calcium Hypochlorite


Water is a crucial aspect of survival, especially during emergencies. Everyone should know how to store water for backup. It is not that hard task. But most people overlook it. You should always be prepared for upcoming challenges. Thank you for reading cheers!!!!

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