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Old 18-06-2015, 12:54   #16
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybird1111 View Post
WATER TREATMENT FOR BOATS

This is regularly re-posted by Peggie Hall on the Catalina sailboats world headquarters. Owner resources, parts, accessories, boats for sale, and more. website. I copied it for my own files and reprint it here. Evidently, adding a little bit'o'bleach everytime isn't the appropriate thing to do. Read on...

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Title: Recommission the system at least annually

"This is all it takes to keep onboard water safe, and tasting/smelling as good as any that comes out of faucets on land: Fresh water system problems--foul odor or taste--are typically caused by allowing water to stagnate in the system. Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water. Many people—and even some boat manufacturers—believe that keeping the tanks empty reduce the problem, but an empty water tank only provides another damp dark home for those “critters.” There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water fresh, but all that’s really necessary is an annual or in especially warm climates, semi-annual recommissioning of the entire system—tank and plumbing.

The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated. Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete. Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of ice—the bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded.

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/2 cup (4 oz) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5% sodium Hypochlorite solution ). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity.
2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines
3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours. 4. Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat.
5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days by vehicle motion.
6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.

People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission aluminum tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, it’s effects are cumulative. So the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock treatment" is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding chlorinated city water in the tank for years. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to mix the total amount of bleach in a few gallons of water before putting it into either a stainless or aluminum tank. People have also expressed concern about the potential damage to rubber and neoprene water pump parts. Again—the cumulative effect of carrying chlorinated water is far more damaging over time than the occasional “shock treatment.” And it’s that cumulative effect that makes it a VERY bad idea to add a little bleach to each fill. Not only does it damage the system, but unless you add enough to make your water taste and smell like a laundry, it’s not enough to do any good. Even if it were, any “purifying” properties in chlorine evaporate within 24 hours, leaving behind only the corrosive properties.

An annual or semi-annual recommissioning according to the above directions is all that should be necessary to keep your water tasting and smelling as good as anything that comes out of any faucet on land. If you need to improve on that, install a water filter. Just remember that a filter is not a substitute for cleaning out the system, and that filters require regular inspection and cleaning or replacement. To keep the water system cleaner longer, use your fresh water...keep water flowing through system. The molds, fungi, and bacteria only start to grow in hoses that aren't being used.

Before filling the tank each time, always let the dock water run for at least 15 minutes first...the same critters that like the lines on your boat LOVE the dock supply line and your hose that sit in the warm sun, and you certainly don't want to transfer water that's been sitting in the dock supply line to your boat's system. So let the water run long enough to flush out all the water that's been standing in them so that what goes into your boat is coming straight from the water main.

Finally, while the molds, fungi and bacteria in onboard water systems here in the US may not be pleasant, we're dealing only with aesthetics...water purity isn't an issue here--or in most developed nations...the water supply has already been purified (unless you're using well-water). However, when cruising out of the country, it's a good idea to know what you're putting in your tanks...and if you're in any doubt, boil all water that's to be drunk or used to wash dishes, and/or treat each tankful to purify. It's even more important in these areas to let the water run before putting it in the tank, because any harmful bacteria will REALLY proliferate in water hoses left sitting on the dock. "

This is a great breakdown, the one thing I'm curious/wary about would be to not let the bleach water go into your Vacu-flush toilet. (Hopefully you're not trying to drink out of there.) As I remember, bleach will make the seals go bad more quickly, and they fail quick enough as it is.
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Old 18-06-2015, 13:02   #17
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

a shame we can't come up with a way to use all this free UV to sterilize the water. treating with chorine seems to take care of the odor, but two tanks later, you've got fresh unknown bugs and no chlorine. So a month later, the chlorine isn't doing much good for sanitation.
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Old 18-06-2015, 13:05   #18
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Yes; sometimes straight from the tap, sometimes with a Brita first.

We prefilter and add a bit of Aquabon.

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Old 18-06-2015, 13:22   #19
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
When I had a boat with SS tanks I drank the water as long as I knew the source was safe and the taste was good. Sometimes you can get water isn't too palatable but is still safe to drink.

I would qualify this by saying you should regularly clean and inspect the tank if you're going to drink from it. A warm, dark, damp hole like a water tank is a great place to bread algae and who knows what else.

New boat has fiberglass tanks and I've added a filtration/purification system to make sure it's safe and tasty.
I don't like water from fiberglass tanks but have used it out of all metal tanks.
If the source seemed unknown or dubious I treated it as a matter of course.
I inspected my SS water tank once, it had an aluminum cleanout port on it. The tank looked good but there was this slimy white stuff hanging down from the aluminum! yuck.
Not a big water drinker from tanks, but when I had a water maker I loved it.
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Old 18-06-2015, 13:55   #20
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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Having ss tanks, and a good source of drinkable water from the dock, how safe/dangerous is drinking it!?

I use it for cooking, washing, soaking, boiling...in the end, brushing teeth... what's the risk of drinking it !?

I'd say minimal :-) thus saving a lot of space eaten up by bottled water.

We use ours, heavily filtered, and in fact we seldom use dockside water except to fill the tanks.

There are several relatively recent threads on tank cleaning, purification, and filtration. Search posts by Peggie Hall and Thinwater with useful keywords.

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Old 18-06-2015, 14:05   #21
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

We use multiple filters. First and inline hose filter going in. Then a carbon filter coming out. Next a Brita. Most of our drinking water is filtered through Trader Joe's French Roast coffee, finely ground, and a paper Melita coffee filter.


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Old 18-06-2015, 14:16   #22
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I don't like water from fiberglass tanks but have used it out of all metal tanks.
If the source seemed unknown or dubious I treated it as a matter of course.
I inspected my SS water tank once, it had an aluminum cleanout port on it. The tank looked good but there was this slimy white stuff hanging down from the aluminum! yuck.
Not a big water drinker from tanks, but when I had a water maker I loved it.
I am not big on drinking out of a fiberglass tank but that's what I've got to deal with for now.

Thinking about adding a small SS tank just for drinking water but I've got way too many other things higher on the must do list before that comes up. Plus there's the question of where to put another tank.

So for now I've added a multi-step filtration/purification system and just hope all/some/most of the nasty stuff that might leach out of the polyester resin has leached.

Water maker? On the list as well but even further down on the priority.

So when you had a water maker did you divert some for drinking that never entered the main tank? Where did you keep that?
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Old 18-06-2015, 14:28   #23
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

We drink the water from our fiberglass tanks. Never had even a hint of odor or taste problem. The water is triple-filtered and all runs past a UV-sterilizer, so even if we are ingesting any bugs, they won't be able to reproduce.
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Old 18-06-2015, 14:35   #24
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

We have fiberglass tanks, drink from them every day, and no filtration.
We run them completely dry between fills, and the water taste great. 2-3 weeks on a tank fill.
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Old 18-06-2015, 14:59   #25
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Do You Drink Tank Water !?

I use a Brita filter and boil my coffee water. Leftover in the kettle goes to the DW pitcher.
Aluminum tank


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Old 18-06-2015, 15:15   #26
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

The whole issue of what you "have to" do to water depends on absence of bacteria and protozoa in the water, plus the flavor of the water.

We have used charcoal filters to filter out bleach taste from water where we had to treat it (or thought we did). All you need is 1 Tablespoon to 10 gallons. We did get amoebas once, most likely from eating fish tacos at street stands in Mexico. (We'd have been re-infected if it had come from our tank water.)

As long as the water you introduce to them is okay, and the plumbing on the boat doesn't have stuff growing in it that is harmful to you, safe water is safe. weavis, another forum member also published a post here about what to do if the water is bad, after Boatman 61 had problems with water on board a boat he was delivering last year, I think.

S/s tanks are fine, had some built for our first Insatiable after the bladders kept failing, and were in the boat when we sold it.

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Old 19-06-2015, 08:34   #27
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

For the most part we pretty well do as Jaybird1111 has described at spring commissioning. After a bleach treatment and rinse an entire box of baking soda is dumped into the water tank. A few more rinses and no taste of bleach in your tea. Our water supply is municipal and generally safe but not the best tasting at its best.
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Old 19-06-2015, 08:51   #28
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Our tanks are plastic - and we have never had any issues. They do get cleaned out regularly as well. We do not have any super filteration, either. However, we never use shore side water supplies - everydrop comes from our 12v water maker.
There have also been many televised investigations regarding bottled water - it is suprising how many people put their faith in bottled water without ever questioning where it has come from or how pure it actually is.
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Old 19-06-2015, 09:18   #29
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

I put a capful of javex bleach into my tank whenever I fill up. Masks any funky tastes, and kills any funky bugs.

I'm not dead, so it must be working?
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Old 19-06-2015, 09:44   #30
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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Originally Posted by sailnow2011 View Post
We have fiberglass tanks, drink from them every day, and no filtration.
We run them completely dry between fills, and the water taste great. 2-3 weeks on a tank fill.
Same here. Community water when we leave for several weeks, then Spectra desalinator for the rest of the trip.
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