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Old 19-03-2004, 08:38   #1
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How Often & How Do You Do It

Perhaps everyone has gone to bottled water and watermakers but for those still drinking from the tap, how often and how do you flush out, clean and purify your water tanks and plumbing? What about filters at the hose and/or faucet? What specific products have you found successful to keep the water potable?
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Old 19-03-2004, 10:04   #2
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Well, spring or even rain water has natural growths. So, in my water tanks I use city water only. It has just enough chlorine to keep out the moss. I'm sure this is not an option while cruising, so by using a swimming pool test kit you could adjust your own chemicels to keep the tanks from a moss build up.
As for drinking water, I keep one gallon clear plastic jugs in storeage filled with bottled water, which stays fresh for long periods. When in port I'll freeze a couple or three of the one gallon jugs and it'll keep the cooler cold for 3-4 days. Plus when the ice melts it doesn't get everything wet and I have cold drinking water for the hot days.
For long periods, I'm sure drinking water would become a concern. That's when QUALITY filters come in. You can filter out the tank water.

Just my $.02 worth................._/)
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Old 19-03-2004, 10:17   #3
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After each cruise (1 to 4 weeks duration) I drain the reamining water into the bilge and pump it out with the bilge pumps.
(They need love too..:-)

Therefore, always fresh water for the next cruise.

One tank on the boat, but 2 pumps...One regular fresh water pump with accumulator supplies galley siink, head sink and shower.

The other pump with another accumulator, has a large Sears filter supplied and a separate "drinking water" tap in the galley.
No taste or odor from the drinking water.
No need to carry bottled water.

The system works fine as designed (by previous owner) and with a 157 gallon tank I rarely need to fill water while cruising, yet after 4 weeks with 2 people on the boat, the tank is usually empty...Carry a spare 6 gallon can for those times.

Installed a WEMA water tank gauge that seems to be fairly accurate.

We add a small amount of liquid pool chlorine to each tankfull, and also to the spare jerry-can.
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Old 20-03-2004, 08:44   #4
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Thank you gents, appreciate the tips.
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Old 20-03-2004, 09:21   #5
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There's no pat answer, just many variables...

Where does your water come from? Since this is a cruising forum, I'd point out that the variety of water sources from which cruisers 'jug it' or take a hose aboard the boat is pretty diverse. Don't forget, this also includes rainwater for some boats, perhaps before they managed to get the decks scrubbed...

If it comes aboard in a hose, do you prefilter? A large 5-micro filter on the filler hose can keep a lot of crud out of a tank when you enjoy the luxury of pressure water at the dock...and a bit of chlorine for the biologics, of course...

How do you filter it after it's aboard? Just to illustrate one option, all water leaving the distribution manifold on WHOOSH goes thru a 5-micro activated carbon filter. Usually, anything that's swallowed subsequently comes out of special faucet fed by a Seagull-IV 1-micron filter. That's so small that some microbes can't get thru it. In areas with questionable water supplies (e.g. after a tropical downpour when mud can run into 3rd world water systems), this can be very practical.

What is your tank access like, and how much time do you have to clean your tanks vs. 1,001 other things a boat expects of you?

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Old 22-03-2004, 09:43   #6
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The water fill lines in our boat have mold in them. I suspect this is from condensation in the lines and that chlorine in the water does not have any effect. The previous owners had taken to filling the tanks directly into the top openings in the floor. If I were to use the fill lines now, I am affraid that some of the mold would be washed down into the tanks.

Any ideas on how to prevent this mold in the lines? I suspect that this is true in many boats, but without clear fill lines you may not know it.

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Old 22-03-2004, 17:28   #7
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I work as a water engineer for a Canadian municipality. I believe in chlorination.

I use a test kit (Hach or Taylor in North America) and calcium hypochlorite (65% free chlorine). For 200 Litres, I would use ~1/2 teaspoon. You could also use sodium hypochlorite, but if so, I would suggest J-12 ( sodium hypochlorite - 12%free chlorine) as opposed to household bleach. I aim for a free chlorine residual in my tanks of 0.3 to 0.8 mg/L (ppm) at all times. I woudn't get upset if the residual was 0.1-1.5, as long as it is reasonably palatable. This will keep the water sweet and maintain already clean pipes clean. It will also give your towels and face cloths a fighting chance against bad odours. When the residual falls or disappears, mix a little more chlorine back in.

Sources that can supply groundwater should be favoured, as there are typically lower concentrations of organics, ammonias, and nitrogen species. These are the things that create the bleach-like taste and odour. Really - adding chlorine to pure water creates no odour or taste.

Surface water is fine as well; and if it doesn't react so badly with the chlorine that you can't handle the taste, it is fine to drink from the tanks.

These residuals will maintain a guard against algae, sulfur reducers, and other pests. As for killing the pathogens: most will be gone within seconds. But for some viruses and most protozoans (amoebic dysentery, giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium), it may be best to wait overnight for them to be knocked inert at 0.5 mg/L. They hibernate in a cyst-like state. At very few docks should you have to worry about these, however.

Bottled water? Still the best for making tea and coffee, but not necessary for drinking if you maintain a free chlorine residual.

However, if you have sediment in your tank and green gunge in your pipes, it will be tough for these low residuals to come out on top. Remove the sediment and treat the pipes to a much stronger dosage for a bit. Got the sediment out but afraid to give the pipes a strong dose? Use the water at 2-5 ppm for a tankful for showering, cleaning, and cooking; and drink the bottled water til the next time.

The filter on the filler hose is a great idea, EC - one in which I am going to invest. I have bits of coral in my tanks, thanks somehow to the previous owner and have a filter on the exit now. An entrance filter would have stopped that problem.
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Old 22-03-2004, 17:39   #8
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Thanks to Sonosailor for the definitive word on water treatment!
Excellent info'.
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 01-06-2004, 16:19   #9
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Thanks for the info on water treatment.
My galley and head has foot pumps. I have a filter under the galley sink but not happy with it's performance.
Anybody know of a good filtering system that can be hooked up to a whale foot pump.
thank for any info.
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Old 12-08-2004, 13:39   #10
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The jabsco filter works fine with a foot pump and provides great water for drinking even if the water in the tank has been over chlorinated or under cleaned.

I do a major purification of my tanks and filling hose annually, and pop a chlorine tablet in each time I fill up.
Tastes better than a lot of the bottled water
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