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Old 08-29-2004, 04:21 PM   #1
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Don't drink the water!!!

Greetings.

I have been puzzled by something that I see at just about every campground that has a sanitary station.

At most campgrounds, there is a water hydrant for rinsing holding tanks, etc. There is always a warning to not drink this water. But about 25 feet from that hydrant is another hydrant that you can use as potable water.

Why is the (fresh) that is at the dump station not drinkable, but the water from the hydrant a few feet away OK to consume? Just wondering in case we come accross a facility that has only one or the other.

Before you answer this, I understand that the hose/fitting at the dump hydrant could have come in contact/infected with doody water, therefore rendering it un-safe. But is the water physically coming from another source?

The reason I ask, is that we are planing a trip where we will be boondocking, at Sand Ridge State Forest in Illinois. There is water, but I think it is only the pump kind. Sort of difficult to get in the fresh water tank. Maybe that is where my "water theif" will get used. But the park mentioned that there is also water at the dump station, though not sure if there are one or two hydrants.

Thank you.

Jonathan
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Old 08-29-2004, 06:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylev
Greetings.At most campgrounds, there is a water hydrant for rinsing holding tanks, etc. There is always a warning to not drink this water. But about 25 feet from that hydrant is another hydrant that you can use as potable water.
Why is the (fresh) that is at the dump station not drinkable, but the water from the hydrant a few feet away OK to consume? Just wondering in case we come accross a facility that has only one or the other.
Before you answer this, I understand that the hose/fitting at the dump hydrant could have come in contact/infected with doody water, therefore rendering it un-safe. But is the water physically coming from another source?
Thank you.

Jonathan
Jonathan, there are two reasons I am aware of. The first is the "doo-doo" issue you are aware of, the second is that the rinse water may be reclaimed water from the sewer plant. It is suitable for its intended use, but is still loaded with the, um, remnants of the treatment, and obviously can't be ingested.
Enjoy yourself on your adventure, just don't drink the water.
Terry
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Old 08-29-2004, 07:56 PM   #3
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It is very unlikely that any water you are going to find at a public faucet anywhere is going to be treated effluent.

Treated effluent is generally considered safe to drink but not up to accepted standards. It is usually sold via a separate system to golf courses and the like completely separate from any public water system. (the paranoia about safe water and the desire for clean rivers has consumed significant tax dollars of the last few years)

Public water systems also contain carefully monitored disinfectants - even way out in the boonies the testing is usually mandated as a daily thing. (I was talking to a ranger this weekend who does this and says that nowdays in his area -eastern Sierras - they have to use certified personnel as well) - this means that the insides of the piping is pretty well protected unless there is a breach.

The reason for the distance between the wash and 'potable' water sources is much the same as the base NSF rule that you don't dump gray water closer than a 100' of any water source. It is also the same reason that you should have separate hoses and fixtures for potable and wash water and you should store them in separate locations. It is also related to septic system distance from household well regulations, too.

Distance means separation and separation reduces the hazards and risks.
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:10 AM   #4
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Thank you Terry and Bryan.
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:21 AM   #5
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In this part of the world we use untreated water pumped from rivers, to irrigate crops and water lawns. It is common to see irrigation water used for all sorts of non-potable applications.... it saves money and in areas using well water, doesn't depleat the aquifer so fast... My local dump station uses irrigation water at the dump point - straight from the river - smells kind fishy
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