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Old 10-10-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
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How can you tell if your freshwater tank is truly clean?

Howdy gang,

I have cleaned my fresh water tank per the instructions, using bleach and flushing it out. It smells fine. Water coming out of the tap looks clean. But how can you actually tell if the tank itself is truly clean?

My dad says to never drink the water out of the fresh water holding tank. He always takes bottled water. Well I come from a spring water town and we have excellent water. If I can't drink the water out of my holding tank, then what good is it? Sure, it's for the shower and stuff.....but I want my tank to be clean enough that I can drink from it.

How can you really know?

Any ideas?

Thanks,
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:08 PM   #2
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Sometimes I wonder about that myself. I found this link on the web listing state certified labs. Maybe they would test it for you. Haven't tried it myself but it seems like a good idea if it would give you peace of mind.

EPA > Water > Drinking Water > Frequent Questions > State Certification Officers for Drinking Water Laboratories
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:23 PM   #3
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Starting with a well-sterilized freshwater tank and emptying and refilling regularly with good tap water should mean that the water in the tank is safe for drinking. Nearly all tap water in the US contains chlorine which will help to keep things safe.

Perhaps it is worth considering the large volume of water residing in the pipes which lead to our houses. Your sterilized tank may be a lot "cleaner" than some of those pipes.

The problem with testing is that only the water in the tank at the time of testing is shown to be okay. We have done something else by installing, at our sink, a Nature Pure water filter for drinking and cooking water. That was not due to fear of contamination, but our coffee sure tastes better when we are in areas with "flavorful" water. Since the filter is there, we then use the water from it for drinking and cooking.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim A.
Nearly all tap water in the US contains chlorine which will help to keep things safe.
That's assuming your tap water comes from a municipal system and not a private well. Also, the level of chlorine in the tap water may not be enough if the tank is contaminated.

But I agree if you are careful to keep your filler hoses away from your sewer hoses and disinfect the tank every year, you should be fine.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:55 PM   #5
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How often should someone who is full-timing treat their tank with bleech? I mainly stay at hookup sites, but like to have water available for day stops and possible boondocking.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
......I want my tank to be clean enough that I can drink from it. How can you really know? Any ideas? Thanks,
hi jim and other drinkers....

yes the water can be tested by epa certified labs...

many larger communities have labs that do this work.

but that only tells ya about the current tank full.

there are simple devices like this...

Water Purity Tester - Camping World

available now from a variety of rv suppliers.

they aren't perfect but basically measure ppm of 'solids', and heavy metals.

this is very useful info, even if they don't directly detect bacteria, viruses and other bugs...

ppm of solids go handinhand with bugs and

under 50 ppm is really really clean while 150-200 is 'drinkable' imo....

how to keep it clean without cleaning it...

i'm camping right now with a full timer who almost always uses his fresh water tank, every single day.

for everything and even at full hookup sites, when line water is available.

the theory is...

by filling and using the tank continuously it stays much much cleaner.

while avoiding the risks of high pressure line mishaps, and so on...

besides the water pump often provides better volumes of water than direct hook ups...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I really like the idea of installing a filter on the sink. I always use an inline filter at the campgrounds.

I am on a well, but my water is excellent. It's a spring town. I had it all tested at two different labs and you couldn't ask for much better.

That being said, I think I'll just bleach the tank and flush it out a couple times and call it good. Then just repeat that annually.

Thanks!
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:59 AM   #8
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There is a direct correlation between cleanliness of water tank and toilet useage...

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Old 10-12-2007, 03:48 PM   #9
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One thing about filters - be sure you get the proper one for your desires. Some filter particulates and some filter bacterial stuff. Some do both. Don't assume that just because somethign filters that is is taking the nasty stuff out of your water. (i.e. don't get a particulate filter if you are afraid of coliform!)

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Old 10-12-2007, 03:50 PM   #10
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I bleached mine at the beginning of the season and have three more trips this year plus one the first weekend in January. I plan on bleaching it again this weekend since it has sat with a 1/3 tank since Labor Day. I will probably drain it and blow it out the first weekend in November as a precaution against freezing (we don't get too cold before mid-December very often) and drain and blow out after the trip in January again (earlier if the weather threatens). Then I'll bleach again before starting the camping season again in the early spring.

I use an in-line water filter that I replace at the beginning of each season and bleach my hose before installing the new filter. I also have a Moen filter in the faucet (makes better tasting iced-tea to use both). I guess I'm doing about all I can.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:08 PM   #11
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Jim
In addition to the usual sanitize and flush approach, I added a clean out port to my tank. I will post the link below. This requires some access to your tank to install, but if your tank is accessible, you can look and clean inside, and increase the confidence that your tank is clean. I installed this product in my 16' CCD (water tank is under the dinette seat) - it is well designed and made, and has worked as advertised for me. Just another thing to consider.
Bob

PJB Company-Aqua Saver Clean RV Water Tanks for better drinking water
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:41 AM   #12
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Great link Bob. Thanks! I sure like the looks of the aquasaver one better!
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:53 PM   #13
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Sterilize 2X/year

By the time that tap water reaches your home amost all of the residual Chlorine is gone. There may be traces left. Unless your city grossly over Chlorinates the water, in which case you will have no problem with bowel regularity.

If you regularly add a strong bleach + water mix to your tank (then empty the tank) the tank should be safe. There may be traces of a black mold in the tank. This will not hurt you (if you have a normal immune system) and the bleach will kill it. some of the scum may remain.

Just follow good sense and sterilize the tank a couple of times a year and do not use water from questionable sources and it is unlikely you will have waterborne problems.

When you winterize mix a gallon of Chlorox into five gallons of water. Add this to your tank, then fill the tank. This will be more than adequate for a fifty or sixty gallon tank. Let this stand for at least an hour (overnight is okay). When you empty your tank the residual water will have a good Chlorine concentration. Start the next year the same way, run the water through your plumbing and empty the tank. I recomend filling the tank again with just water and running it through the plumbing then dumping the tank. Just fill and your ready.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTex
There is a direct correlation between cleanliness of water tank and toilet useage...

Bill
Including the dogs...
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