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Old 08-09-2012, 02:24 AM   #15
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I don't carry half full white tank - it's 125 lbs sloshing around. Add a big semi passing too closely? Whoa!

It's either almost empty (flush toilet only) or full to the rim! I sanitize once or twice a year. I often fill my white tank and use the water pump even in campgrounds - the water pressure is better especially when showering.

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:51 AM   #16
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Bacteria like dark and damp places and the water tank, full or empty, is a good place to hide. An external filter (2 micron) will solve most of the problem. I usually leave any water in the tank when we get homer in it for short periods (week or two), or drain it otherwise. I usually drain and fill the tank before we leave for anywhere and sanitize the system twice a year. My wife (trained in microbiology) brings gallon jugs of distilled water from the supermarket for drinking. Or water I use for tea gets boiled anyway and goes through secondary filtration from the undersink filter.

Waterborne diseases can be very nasty and we want to be as careful as we want our water company to be. I probably wouldn't have been as careful if I hadn't married someone who knows about this stuff.

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Old 08-09-2012, 06:51 AM   #17
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Full to the brim during hurricane season, when I might have to bug out on short notice, along with half the Gulf Coast, and not knowing whether there will be potable water available where I have to stop.

The water is always filtered as it goes in the tank, and there is another filter on the galley faucet to filter as it comes out. Combined with judicious applications of chlorine to kill any microorganisms, I'm not worried about water quality.

Since most of my longer scheduled camping trips are also during hurricane season, I try to make sure I use up the water already in the tank and then refill before leaving the campground, so the water doesn't have as much time to get stale before the next excursion.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:41 AM   #18
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The water is always filtered as it goes in the tank, and there is another filter on the galley faucet to filter as it comes out.
What kind of filters are you using for the fill and for the galley faucet?

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Old 08-09-2012, 09:18 AM   #19
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I just ordered a replacement filter for the Everpure QC2 filter under the sink. The one I ordered was an Omnipure ELF filter that is supposed to fit the QC2 but provide more flow and a longer life then the Everpure. I'll let you know when it arrives. Cost was $39 + shipping so it was a little pricey.

Everything from our well gets filtered through a two-stage filter before it goes into the house.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #20
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What kind of filters are you using for the fill and for the galley faucet?

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Wayne
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filters. Don't remember the brand of the one on my fill hose, but the one on the faucet is a small Britta canister filter. If I remove the filter canister but leave the filter base in place on the faucet, I can still fold the faucet down so that I can lower the hinged sink cover.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:20 AM   #21
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I guess we're bad Airstream parents. We leave Lucy's fresh water tank over half full all the time. We have never drained Lucy's fresh water tank, nor have we ever sanitized it. We refill Lucy's fresh water tank wherever, whenever as needed. We use one of those blue dohicky filters on the city water inlet. Lucy's kitchen faucet has a built-in filter. We now have a little over 1,100 nights camped in Lucy, and she is nearing 100,000 miles of travel. I guess if the on-board water was going to have any ill-effect, it would have by now.

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Old 08-09-2012, 10:21 AM   #22
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You can remove the filter under the kitchen sink and see what model it is. Our rotates until it releases and is a Moen. I found a replacement a lot cheaper on Amazon.

The exterior filters are carbon activated ones used in a variety of applications. I get them at either Home Depot or Lowe's and the brand they both carry is GE. The filter is black and they come in 2 packs. You need a less than 6 microns to filter out giardia and the GE ones should be around 2 microns, though it can be hard to find the rating on the package. The housings are also available there and in RV stores—make sure you have the proper fittings for a water hose.

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Old 08-09-2012, 10:35 AM   #23
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I guess we're bad Airstream parents. We leave Lucy's fresh water tank over half full all the time. We have never drained Lucy's fresh water tank, nor have we ever sanitized it. We refill Lucy's fresh water tank wherever, whenever as needed. We use one of those blue dohicky filters on the city water inlet. Lucy's kitchen faucet has a built-in filter. We now have a little over 1,100 nights camped in Lucy, and she is nearing 100,000 miles of travel. I guess if the on-board water was going to have any ill-effect, it would have by now.

Brian
You know, we have some friends who have camped for 16 years in the same unit, never once sanitizing their fresh water tank. Yikes!! They have never had any problems, do carry bottled water for tea and coffee, because of the taste.

The mere thought of some nasty gastrointestinal problem due to something settling in to grow in our fresh water tank is all the incentive we need to sanitize it. We might be just fine without doing that, but.......


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Old 08-09-2012, 10:47 AM   #24
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I guess we're bad Airstream parents. We leave Lucy's fresh water tank over half full all the time. We have never drained Lucy's fresh water tank, nor have we ever sanitized it. We refill Lucy's fresh water tank wherever, whenever as needed. We use one of those blue dohicky filters on the city water inlet. Lucy's kitchen faucet has a built-in filter. We now have a little over 1,100 nights camped in Lucy, and she is nearing 100,000 miles of travel. I guess if the on-board water was going to have any ill-effect, it would have by now.

Brian
That's a lot of miles but not so many camping days. You may be just lucky. The risk is too great leaving water in the tank and drinking it for us. I drain it, sanitize it before using again if sitting long, and never use the tank water for drinking. Easy to take gallon-sized drinking water along and to refill them.

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Old 08-09-2012, 10:58 AM   #25
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I guess we're bad Airstream parents.
Yes. Bad parents. Bad! Go stand in the corner until you've repented.

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We now have a little over 1,100 nights camped in Lucy, and she is nearing 100,000 miles of travel. I guess if the on-board water was going to have any ill-effect, it would have by now.
Actually, the older the filters get, the more likely you are to have problems. Clogged filters can fail and let unfiltered water through. Do you at least change out the filter elements once in a blue moon?

Once in a blue moon is actually about right for the frequency for changing out GAC filters. A blue moon is the second full moon in the same month, and with thirteen full moons in twelve months, it happens once a year on average.

Water quality is a perennial topic on the Forums. Water from municipal sources is usually safe to drink, having safe levels of all the contaminants listed on the EPA's Primary Safe Drinking Water chart (see attached, if you're curious). The more people use the water, the more often it's tested, with major municipalities testing the water several times a day.

The problem lies with getting your water from a non-municipal source. "Transient" sources, with few full-time users, don't have to be tested as often (sometimes as little as once a month), or for as many contaminants (sometimes as few as 14 out of 60-something). EPA guidelines are concerned with health risks due to long-term exposure, not those people who use the water for a few days and then move on. The filters on our inlet hoses are intended to account for this less-trustworthy water.

Also, even water that's safe to drink might look or taste bad, because the EPA's Secondary Drinking Water Standards are "non-enforceable" and are concerned only with appearance, taste, and odor, not with safety. Really good water would meet the Secondary standards as well. The filters on our inlet hoses help with water that doesn't meet Secondary standards, too, even when filling from a safe municipal source.

Even if the water going into the tank is good, that's no guarantee it will stay good. The tank itself will eventually leach chemicals into the water if plastic, or leach metal oxides if the tank is metal. Tanks are vented, so airborne microorganisms can still get in, and find a fine breeding ground inside the tank.

And just to twist things, if you treat the water with chlorine to prevent the growth of microorganisms, well then, Chlorine is also considered a contaminant by the EPA. You need to have a measurable (and tasteable) amount in the tank to know it's working, but then you have to remove the chlorine before you drink the water, hence the filter on the faucet. Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) removes chlorine.

So, before going booondocking, filling from a municipal source is safest, followed by filling from a non-municipal source using a filter. Treating the tank with chlorine on a regular schedule will keep it microbe-free, but you need to filter the water again to remove the chlorine before you drink it.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Primary & Secondary Drinking Water Standards.pdf (1,019.6 KB, 22 views)
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:31 PM   #26
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That's a lot of miles but not so many camping days. You may be just lucky. The risk is too great leaving water in the tank and drinking it for us. I drain it, sanitize it before using again if sitting long, and never use the tank water for drinking. Easy to take gallon-sized drinking water along and to refill them.

doug k
If eleven hundred (1,100) camping days is "not so many", how many camping days make one experienced?

Brian
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:05 PM   #27
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Brian, the point is you are traveling a lot most probably to many, many different campgrounds. Seems risky to me to trust the water.

I don't know what experience is, we've been camping 50 years or so, but don't keep count. Many full-timers with 20+ years. They tell me about finding algae growing in their water supply line, smelly water at campgrounds. Some years ago we camped in northeastern MN where the campground water came directly from the lake, actually pretty decent water but I wouldn't want to culture it in my water tank.

So no I don't think water should be left in tanks when stored. Sooner or later you may get bad water.

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:24 PM   #28
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Sanitize in the spring and keep it topped off to prevent sloshing. The water is rarely in the tank more than 10-14 days ... Brita for drinking water ...
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