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Old 27-08-2012, 09:32   #1
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How Long Does Potable Water Keep

Was as a club function this weekend speaking with a gentleman who seems like a very knowledgeable guy/ scientist/ sailor. At one point the discussion turned to water storage and he made the statement to me that drinking water should only be stored for a very short period of time before it starts to become usable, a couple of weeks.

I had always thought water can be stored almost indefinatly remember seeing all the drums of water in fallout shelters in the U.S that had been there for years, as well as all the municipal storage tanks that I don't think get used and replenished every couple of weeks.

So the question is how long does drinking water keep in tanks on a boat before it should be changed?
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Old 27-08-2012, 09:58   #2
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

I would think it would depend on the container! if it's air tight, and out of sunlight it should last longer then that !! Ive had water tanks go skunkie, after sitting for a few mos, but they have vents and are open to the air ! ya need to drain them or treat them before ya store your boat for any lenght of time !! and Ive carried water in jerry jugs for way longer then 2 weeks and it was still drinkable ! sounds a little funny to me ?
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Old 27-08-2012, 10:45   #3
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

It also depends on the water. If it is from a municipal system where they treat the water with chlorine then it should last longer than if, for instance, it was collected rainwater. And if you put a teaspoon of chlorine per 5 gallons into it, it will last just fine for many months.
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Old 27-08-2012, 11:01   #4
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

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Originally Posted by cburger View Post
I had always thought water can be stored almost indefinatly remember seeing all the drums of water in fallout shelters in the U.S that had been there for years, as well as all the municipal storage tanks that I don't think get used and replenished every couple of weeks.

So the question is how long does drinking water keep in tanks on a boat before it should be changed?

It's a function of the container. A boat's water tank(s) are the worst type and it could be argued that water therein can start to deteriorate immediately - the point is it will deteriorate and you don't know when.
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Old 27-08-2012, 11:15   #5
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It is a function of the water quality at that location, type of disinfection, cleanliness of the container, how much air there is in the container, temperature and how much light gets on the water. In theory you could add Cl to keep the water from developing coloforms, etc. But if you are going to push it, Adding a 2 micron backpacker water filter for the water consumed without boiling might be prudent.

I specify water quality at the location since the utility may deliver great water to the marina, but the pipes that supply your dock could have any of several issues that could lower water quality or deliver water with a Cl demand that will reduce the "shelf life" of the water.

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Old 27-08-2012, 11:32   #6
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

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In theory you could add Cl to keep the water from developing coloforms, etc.


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Old 27-08-2012, 11:49   #7
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

I believe this all started with the FDA, by saying that all products had to have a shelf life. Then comes bottled water companys and having to put a shelf life on their product.....water!

Anyone here know how to destroy water? Not contaminate it but destroy it into non-existance? LOL, You can't! Vapor, ice, liguid, it all comse back.

If properly stored from contaminants it lasts a few million years. If in doubt, add a drop of idonie or Cl and let it set, stir well, bottoms up!

There are icebergs breaking off exposing ice thosuands of years old, get a chunk, melt it and enjoy!

Oh, now I need to go buy another jug for my cooler, it's outdated....LOL
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Old 27-08-2012, 11:56   #8
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

It depends...on how thirsty you are...

Drinking ones own urine has been done to survive....

All joking aside, I sure hope my water hasn't been killing me slowing as it is ALWAYS more than a few weeks old..

Was/is he in the "Drinking water for sale business"?

I personally rate this "pants on fire", BUT I bet a few minutes on google will clear up any doubt as to whether it holds water or not...Pun intended..

Here's an answer...
Just treat it for LONG term storage...I do that

http://www.ehow.com/how_5580108_trea...r-storage.html
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Old 27-08-2012, 12:02   #9
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

From personal experience it seems to depend mainly on the water, at least as long as we are talking boat tanks and not sealed containers. As already pointed out, water treated with chlorine can last a long time but chlorine does dissipate over time if vented.

But even very pure water, if exposed to the environment like a vented tank and if not chlorinated I have had start smelling rotten in a couple of weeks.

If you put pure water containing no bacteria, algae or other living organisms into a totally sealed container then the shelf life would be pretty much indefinite.
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Old 27-08-2012, 16:57   #10
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

Ask him how often he changes the water packed inside the liferaft.
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Old 27-08-2012, 17:28   #11
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

It all depends on the specifics. IF the water has been ultra-sterilized, if the container was sterilized, if the water is stored in a cool dark place? You'll see a lot of bottled water sold with a two-year "use by" date.

If you just take tap water and pour it into a bottle, and put the bottle in the sun? Well, some of the relief workers in Katrina saw water turning green from algae growth within DAYS of arrival. That's for "freshly" bottled water, bottled and shipped to the site in a hurry.

So, sterilize the water (boiling or chemicals), sterilize the containers (home brewers do this all the time, often with sulphites or bleach), keep it cool and dark, and you should be able to rely on at least a year. Or skip all that, and enjoy all the nutritional benefits of algae and critters.
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Old 27-08-2012, 17:41   #12
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

We just bought a few more gallons( we live in So. Louisiana) and the date is 7 Month of 2014, so I guess that sorta puts a question out there LOL I guess he was talking about some other type water ?? just sayin the Gov puts dates on everything ! and waters 2 yrs !
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Old 27-08-2012, 18:13   #13
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

you might want to read this!
before throwing away your out of date water in pet bottels.....

BBC NEWS | Africa | Using the sun to sterilise water
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Old 28-08-2012, 14:26   #14
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

To all the GREAT comments above I'd add that a belt-and-suspenders approach is to have a compact water treatment system on board. If water becomes suspect, retreat. This is a huge topic with much to be learned about water containers, water storage, water treatments, types of hazards, etc. For long-term storage I'd order from one of the emergency/survivalist suppliers.
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Old 28-08-2012, 14:45   #15
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Re: How Long Does Potable Water Keep

Berkey.
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