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Old 08-11-2007, 02:56 AM   #1
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Potable water question from a newbie...

Hello all, we had our maiden voyage last week with our 2005 Safari and the campground we stayed at did not have potable water at the hook-up. I spoke with the previous owners of our AS and they said they had always had potable water at their sites. Is potable water fairly common at most campgrounds or is it just my neck-of-the-woods?

As the water was not fit for comsumption (without boiling) we decided to hook it up anyway for dishes, shower, cleaning, etc. basically everything but drinking & brushing teeth. As far as I'm concerned the sytem is now 'contaminated' unless I go through the bleaching process. As a result, we've decided to keep our drinking water seperate to be safe (bottled water, home tap water, etc) and will keep the fresh water tank as 'contaminated'.

My only other reason for not using the AS fresh water tank for drinking water is due to the winterizing I will need to do. I don't know how comfortable I'd be in drinking water from a system that had anti-freeze in it.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and comments on this issue as it is somewhat of a safety issue for my family and I. Perhaps I'm being paranoid? Any good or bad experiences? Are their other AS'ers that do not drink from the fresh water tank as a policy for similar reasons?

Mike
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:09 AM   #2
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You should not need to put antifreeze in your FW tank. You pump it into your water lines from just before the water pump. You then pump it into all the lines in the trailer. There are some good threads on getting your trailer ready for winter. I don't have to do this myself.

Also, RV Antifreeze is not toxic like the stuff you put into your car. It has a taste to it, but it will not harm you.
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:06 AM   #3
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At present, there may be bacteria or viruses in your shower head, faucets, water lines and tank. In your situation, I would regard this as a threat to the health of my family. I would recommend the following:

1. Drain all the suspect water from the tank and lines, preferably using the plug in the bottom of the tank, the drain tubes, and perhaps a compressed air supply. (Don't forget to drain the hot water tank)

2. Thoroughly disinfect the tank, lines, faucets and shower head according to the Airstream Manual procedure.

3. Fill the fresh water tank with potable water from home (or other trusted source) each trip before you travel. Fill the tank completely to avoid instability due to "surface water effect". (Use the search facility to research this phenomenum). The weight of the water will lower the center of gravity of the trailer, and will facilitate safe towing, provided you are safely within the towing weight limits of the rig.

4. Never connect the trailer to a non-potable source of water.

5. Never put water in the tank from a non-trusted source.

6. Use an in-line filter when filling the tank.

These procedures will help keep your family healthy, IMHO.

Nick.
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Old 08-11-2007, 04:07 AM   #4
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Welcome to the world of aluminum living! I'd say that most developed camp grounds have potable water available even if they don't have water at the sites. They may or may not allow you to fill your tanks, however. We try to know the water situation before we go... If we know there's no potable water available at a particular camp ground, we take a full tank of fresh water, and then some, dependng on how long we are going tbe camping...or fill us en route just before we get there.

Now that you've put non-potable water in your fresh water tank, to be safe you should probably drain and sanitize the fresh water tank and water system before using it for drinking or cooking. We've been in camp grounds where "non-potable" just meant it doesn't taste good...but it could mean that it's really contaminated and should not be consumed. I'd err on the safe side unless you know for sure. I believe there are threads here that discuss how to do the bleach sanitation treatment to your water tanks and system...it's not too difficult, and certainly worth doing if you want the convenience of having fresh water in your AS...

TB
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:31 AM   #5
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I treat my potable water as a safe water supply but I still carry bottled water for consumption.
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Old 08-11-2007, 07:44 AM   #6
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If you simply hooked up to the campground water with the hose connection you did not fill your tank with it , the tank has a seperate fill inlet . If you fill the tank with good water and sanitize as per the manual , then using the pump fill all the water lines with the sanitized water and let stand. Emty and refill two more time and you should be good to go.
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:19 AM   #7
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Bring your own anyway

Even though my fresh water is not contaminated, I prefer my well water. I carry one of those K/Wal-Mart 5 gallon jugs with a spigot for my coffee etc. I also freeze milk jugs, 2/3 full, at home to put in fridge (It helps it out) and as they thaw you have great drinking water.

Fog
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ticki2
If you simply hooked up to the campground water with the hose connection you did not fill your tank with it , the tank has a seperate fill inlet .
I would prefer not to assume that the one-way valve and pump were perfectly water-tight. If only a few drops of water contain faecal coliforms, and these leak back through the pump, that could be sufficient to cause ill-health.
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Old 08-11-2007, 02:17 PM   #9
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Hi Mike -- Like you, I tend not to drink from my water system but will wash up and do dishes with it. I'd agree with Nick on wanting to disinfect the system periodically. You've probably got your manual, right? (or this link)

Member john hd posted very clear instructions on installing the bypass valve so you can winterize it yourself at this thread. Check around the water pump -- you may be able to recognize it -- it is an aftermarket item and up to the individual owner to pursue installing one themself (easy) or having an RV dealer install it. Crawl under your trailer and you will see a 2nd and maybe a 3rd water tank drain valve you didn't know was there -- drain it in late fall -- the tank is tough enough to take any residual water freezing. And azflycaster is right that you don't want to put any antifreeze in your water tank. Be sure to get the water heater drain plug out when you winterize. I put it back in loose and then teflon tape it in the spring when it goes back in. I turn the valves so I don't get antifreeze going in the water heater either, though it's not the "you'll never get it out" problem that antifreeze in your fresh water tank can be.

Be sure to take any water filters or carbon cartridges out of the line (I have one in my faucet) before you pass any antifreeze thru the system. They'll get ruined! I don't put mine back in until my 2nd trip or so in the spring -- wanting plenty of water to flush through the system first.
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickcrowhurst
I would prefer not to assume that the one-way valve and pump were perfectly water-tight. If only a few drops of water contain faecal coliforms, and these leak back through the pump, that could be sufficient to cause ill-health.


Nick.
I agree , the entire water system should be sanitized , I do mine at the beginning of each season , or when questionable water has been introduced . I was merely pointing out that MG911 probably did not fill his tank when he connected to the campground water.
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:54 PM   #11
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Well there sure is much to learn about RV'n! I will take into consideration the recommendations above but would hate to see a 'stomach bug' wreck a good holiday (or worse) so I think I'll stick to water jugs for drinking/cooking.

The previous owners had a factory Moen faucet with built-in filter AND had a separate drinking water faucet & filter installed right next to it (they didn't cheap out with anything). Ofcourse they are of the carbon filter variety which improves taste but does nothing to eliminate micro-organisms. They also left 2 large filters that attach to the garden hose for filling the fresh water tank I believe.

Do any of you use an inline filter system that makes drinking water safe no matter what the source?

You'll have to forgive me if I didn't completely understand the fresh water system, winterizing and the use of anti-freeze. Also, I do have the manual and will go through the sanitizing procedure. Just a thought but our municpal water has so much chlorine in it (enough that you can smell it) - I wonder if that would be enough to sanitize the system?

So, just to clarify, when I hooked into the trailer's female threaded "Municipal Water Connection" at the campground with non-potable water, this did not enter my fresh water tank (most likely). It did however run through all the supply lines thereby 'contaminating' it.

The larger non-threaded water inlet is to fill the fresh water tank with potable or home water by . This is the tank that is also good to fill for road trips as Nickcrowhurst mentioned.

I feel like I should have one of those big red "L" stickers on the rear of my trailer to indicate I'm a learner..lol.

Thanks again for clarifying and sharing your knowledge.
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:33 AM   #12
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hi mike

non potable water isn't necessarily bacterially unsafe for drinking.

depends on how it was reclaimed or if it is uncertified well water.

most likely doesn't have micro organisms in it but may be over limits for nitrates or floride or metals or other things....

while i don't suggest drink it, flushing out your trailer is easy.

hook up your trailer system to treated city water and run all the lines for 30 minutes should be more than adequate to clear the pipes and fixtures.

yes there are ceramic multistage filters for connecting outside. many of these filter down to most micro organism sizes and can be cleaned periodically.

here is the one i use....

TastePURE™ CX-90 Ceramic Water FIlter - Camping World

and have had NO problems with flow rate when it's clean.

combined with another carbon filter at the tap and the water is 'double filtered' and smells as fresh as bottled types...

i use it for coffee and tea and cooking and ice cubes and so on...

IF you don't wanna sanitize with bleach find a product like purogene that is chlorine dioxide.

this leaves virtually no typical chlorine odor and is actually safer to consume than free chlorine treated water....

the entire system can be completely sanitized with this product as needed. (i do it 2-3 times annually)

Purogene Fresh Water Treatment Information

RV Water System

Welcome to Bio-Cide International, Inc.-21st Century Sanitation & Disinfection Technology

i regularly drink my tank water, more importantly so does the pooch!

lastly given where you live i would use rv grade antifreeze in the winter...

it is safe for consumption in trace amount, clears out of the pipes quickly and will keep the pipes/fittings/joints/traps wet in the long COLD off season.

cheers
2air'
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Old 08-13-2007, 12:40 AM   #13
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MG911...

First, don't apologize for asking questions! We've all been there at one point or another...trust me.

You have it right...the threaded "Municipcal Water Connection" is for hooking up to a continuous pressurized water source (water hook-up in a camp ground, etc.) and that water does not go into the fresh water holding tank (in theory), but does circulate elswhere through your water system. And yes, the non-threaded water inlet is for filling the fresh water tank. Using the 12 volt water pump when you are not hooked up to city water will draw water from the fresh water tank into your water delivery system.

As to filters...perhaps others can weigh in here...we have not used an in-line water filter to date...but when I see them in use by others, they are between the source of the city water and the trailer...I don't know if they remove micro-organisms or just improve taste...I would think that depends on the type of filter you use.

Good luck, and Happy Trails!

TB
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:10 AM   #14
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Mike, a superb source of RV information is phrannie.org
If you click on "water teatment" in the index, you will get the best description of RV filters that I have found.
Nick.
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