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Old 18-06-2015, 10:06   #1
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Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:16   #2
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Depends on your filtration system

I filter all water that goes into my tank with an RV hose filter, and then from the tank all water is filtered by a 5 micro activated charcoal filter that is fitted just after the water pump.

In addition, I have a drinking water tap that goes through 2 additional filters, a 1 micron charcoal and a 0.3 micron ceramic filter. So my drinking water is filtered 4 times from the time it comes out of the hose to the time I drink it.

I am kind of paranoid though
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:16   #3
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post
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.
Run your shore-side water through a filter as you fill the tanks, add a non-agressive purifier to the tanks themselves and then run the tank water through a final filter, such as the Seagull in the galley for example, and you should have no problems. We have used the foregoing process for many years without problems and often refill bottles of water we keep cold in the refrigerator until needed.

FWIW...
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:19   #4
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:20   #5
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

We've lived aboard full time for much of the last 15-years while drinking water directly from our aluminum tanks with never a bit of concern. We've owned the boat since new in 1995.

My wife was a licensed professional responsible for operating very large public water (municipal) systems for 32 years. She had her lab guys test our tank water for all kinds of things over the years and it always came back perfect.

We did nothing special to treat or prepare the water. We did try to empty the tanks before we left the boat for any great length of time. We occasionally would put a cup of bleach in the tank and leave it for a day then run all that water out.

I've never understood the concern about tank water.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:29   #6
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Clean out your tank, then know whats going into it, you will be fine. What's the difference between drinking city water on shore, at home or in a restauant or on your boat.... its the same water.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:39   #7
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post

I've never understood the concern about tank water.
Same here. No problems in 3 1/2 years. A weeks supply of bottled water creates plenty of extra trash that can't be thrown overboard. Trash while cruising is a problem in itself.

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Old 18-06-2015, 10:48   #8
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re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Yes we do.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:54   #9
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Re: DO YOU DRINK TANK WATER !?

Have been drinking water from our tanks for the 10 years we have been living aboard. We shower on boat too which helps us go through our water faster than most so it doesn't sit in the tanks for extended periods of time.

Please don't exclusively use plastic bottled water. This is such a waste of resources not just trash. People don't realize how much clean water is wasted in the production of these bottles.
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Old 18-06-2015, 10:57   #10
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Humping bottled water to a boat, on top of all the other stuff you have to hump, is just insane in my opinion.

We have quality ("Tek Tanks") polyethylene tanks which were new in 2001. I bomb them every couple of years with chlorine. I cruise in civilization (Northern Europe) where the water is fine with rarest of exceptions. What I drink is filtered with a Seagull filter. Never the slightest problem with taste, odor, or health.
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Old 18-06-2015, 11:15   #11
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

It ain't the tanks that are usually the problem --- it's the hoses.

Fresh Water System Recommissioning 101 - Peggie Hall's "Cocktail" hot water "rotten egg" odor
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Old 18-06-2015, 11:21   #12
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

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. "
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Old 18-06-2015, 11:31   #13
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post
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.
Stainless steel tanks that are clean provide potable water.

The real dilemma regarding contamination arises when filling and with frequency of flushing.

HDPE is also an excellent option for plastic tank potable water storage.

Most sediment is ingested during filling. We use a two stage filter when replenishing. We also have a dump valve upstream to allow us to flush the system before filtering.

We inspect our tanks annually. We're still cleaning out sediment from the previous owner. It's not a health risk.

We dont add any chemicals. Most of which dont fix any contamination issues. They also impact the integrity of the passive oxide layers in stainless and aluminium tanks. You can't beat elbow grease or steam cleaning.

We boil most of our drinking water and we have a water filter with a carbon canister.

We liveaboard so we flush frequently just through use. For extended periods we drain the water tanks, clean them and open them to fresh air. This ensures the passive oxide layer on the stainless is in good condition.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 18-06-2015, 11:53   #14
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

and, it doesn't hurt to use one of these 'inline water hose filter' when you're adding water. This device is available anywhere that RV supplies are available, including places like Amazon and West Marine:

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Old 18-06-2015, 12:45   #15
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Re: Do You Drink Tank Water !?

There is a series of 3 articles running in Practical Sailor.

I've always thought the most important thing was puting the system away clean at the end of the season. You wouldn't put the dishes away dirty, would you?

* Drain and DRY the tank. A little sloshing and scrubbing can be done at the same time. Easy, nothing can grow, ready to just fill in the spring.

* Use enough glycol in the winter. I checked on the jugs of AF left at the recycle drum at the marina this spring. EVERY SINGLE ONE smelled like bad wine because the punters had cheaped out and skimped on the glycol. They glycol MUST be full strength--not just a little pink--or it will ferment and make a mess for you. This is the MOST COMMON mistake. If there is enough glycol, it will sterilize the piping, no special spring bleach treatment required. When winterizing, test the glycol as it comes out. Don't go by color. This has NOTHING to do with the local weather and everything to do with biology.

I've done this for many years and it ALWAYS works. Very simple; everything must either be dry or properly pickled. In spring I simply fill the tank and let 2-3 gallons out of each tap.
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