Laundry bleach is not intended to treat drinking water. If you have a well or pump house, be sure to find a source for American National Standards Institute/National Sanitation Foundation (ANSI/NSF) Standard 60 certified drinking water treatment chemicals. Pool supply stores often have NSF Standard 60 Chlorine Bleach and non-chlorine water treatment chemicals. The NSF Standard 60 Chlorine Bleach does not foam up in pools because it’s pure sodium hypochlorite without the added chemicals found in most laundry bleaches. Laundry bleaches can have added chemical whiteners such as phosphorus which is radio active, so you don’t want to be drinking that! Other issues with laundry bleach are chemicals like Methylene Blue, Bromate, Perchlorate, and Chlorate, all known to be toxic or major carcinogens. Never use scented laundry bleach to treat water even in emergency situations, it’s toxic.
With municipal water treatment, using NSF Standard 60 is the law, but many do not know the law. It could be that up to 50% of local water systems still use household bleach brands not knowing that not all bleach products are the same. Laundry bleach is not pure bleach, so be sure to look for the NSF logo found on the back of the bottle. Hopefully the pump house in your area is aware and using the proper water treatment chemicals. If you have city water, phone them up and ask what brand they use, and if it is rated NSF Standard 60. Once aware of the concerns, most will adhere to proper procedure. The proper bleach does not cost any more, so it’s all a matter of finding a source and using the pure product to disinfect your drinking water.