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Old 11-04-2014, 05:49 AM   #1
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Sanitize fresh water tank

2010 Flying Cloud. I bought this trailer in June of this year and just starting to use it. We expected all the tanks to be empty but discovered the fresh water to be nearly full. I am slowly using the water strictly for toilet flushes and planning to sanitize. When it is empty I want to sanitize the tank. The manual gives a formula to mix bleach into a solution and most of these discussions suggest chlorine. Which is best and what is the best practice for getting it into the tank?
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:04 AM   #2
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The manual gives a formula to mix bleach into a solution and most of these discussions suggest chlorine. Which is best and what is the best practice for getting it into the tank?
Chlorox bleach is perhaps the safest way to handle chlorine. But it's not pure chlorine. The formula in your manual is based on the assumption that you will use unscented Chlorox chlorine bleach. If you use chlorine in some other form, you'll have to figure out the proportions for yourself. Too low a concentration will not reliably kill microbes, but too high a concentration is unsafe for people.

What I do for getting it into my freshwater tank is to use a (clean) transmission fluid funnel that has never been used for transmission fluid. This type of funnel has a long flexible spout that you can easily insert into the tank filler.

By the way, Chlorox brand bleach is recommended by the CDC for sanitizing drinking water systems. Do not use an off-brand! The reason why CDC recommends that brand is two-fold: (1) quality and concrentration are consistent— every bottle you buy has the same amount of chlorine by volume; (2) it's proven effective in killing all known harmful waterborne microbes.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:07 AM   #3
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Bleach is easiest and best, IMO.

There is a formula for how much, someone will tell you. I use bleach tablets, drop a couple in the tank with about 1/2 tank of fresh water., about 15 gallons. If you use liquid bleach, just get a funnel, mix with water and pour in thru your fresh water fill.

Take a good long drive to slosh it around thoroughly, drain thoroughly and fill with fresh. By the time that tank has run thru everything, you should be able to use the next tank for dishes, etc.

We usually go thru 2 tanks post-disinfecting before we begin drinking the water and using it for coffee. It is probably perfectly safe after the first, but the smell is off-putting and not something we want in the coffee.

It is a simple, if not somewhat tedious, process.


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Old 11-04-2014, 06:08 AM   #4
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Chlorox bleach is perhaps the safest way to handle chlorine. But it's not pure chlorine. The formula in your manual is based on the assumption that you will use unscented Chlorox chlorine bleach. If you use chlorine in some other form, you'll have to figure out the proportions for yourself. Too low a concentration will not reliably kill microbes, but too high a concentration is unsafe for people.

What I do for getting it into my freshwater tank is to use a (clean) transmission fluid funnel that has never been used for transmission fluid. This type of funnel has a long flexible spout that you can easily insert into the tank filler.

By the way, Chlorox brand bleach is recommended by the CDC for sanitizing drinking water systems. Do not use an off-brand! The reason why CDC recommends that brand is two-fold: (1) quality and concrentration are consistent— every bottle you buy has the same amount of chlorine by volume; (2) it's proven effective in killing all known harmful waterborne microbes.

Ditto
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:24 AM   #5
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We usually go thru 2 tanks post-disinfecting before we begin drinking the water and using it for coffee. It is probably perfectly safe after the first, but the smell is off-putting and not something we want in the coffee.
A granular activated carbon filter will take the chlorine smell and taste out of water. But those dinky little Britta filters that attach to your faucet won't do the trick; the filter cannister is so small that the water isn't in contact with the carbon long enough to remove the taste and odor. You'd need a much bigger filter. Some Airstreams have a filter under the sink that is big enough and retains the water long enough, but Interstates don't.

What you're doing is probably the best method for Airstreams that don't have a built-in filter.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:32 PM   #6
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. I am slowly using the water strictly for toilet flushes and planning to sanitize. When it is empty I want to sanitize the tank.
Ditto all the comments on Clorox brand chlorine bleach. We've used a weaker solution in drinking water supplies while non-trailer camping (long-long ago) for many years.

Your post seems to suggest that you're not aware of the fresh water drain. Why not simple drain the questionable water and sanitize the tank?
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:12 PM   #7
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1. One quart of Clorox to 50 gallons of water.
2. Run water until mixture is at each faucet/shower head etc.
3. Let stand for 3 hours to no more than 24 hours.
4. Drain system (by the way if you have not done this in awhile it may be a good idea to remove the diffuser screens first)
5. To remove chlorine taste left over fill tanks with a solution one quart of vinegar to 5 gallons of water. Leave this in the tank for a couple of days and drain through the faucets/shower head etc.

Re-fill the tank with fresh water and voila! No bad tastes!!!

The above directions are published by the US Government somewhere... I copied these from the book "Get Rid Of Boat Odors" written by Peggie Hall. Works every time!

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Old 11-04-2014, 03:18 PM   #8
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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I hate the taste so did some research and found that food grade hydrogen peroxide was the way to go.. Its rated at 35% and used a full quart to our fresh water tank.. The water from the tap had smelled like rotten eggs from the time we first got it..

I filled the tank 1/3 full of water and added the peroxide and then filled to the brim.. Running the sinks and shower,, white foam came out the first few gallons each and then ran clear.. Since then our water is well fresh,, and smells and tastes great..

Read up about it, its much safer and better for humans than that nasty poison they use in city water systems,, I got a gallon from a rated seller off Ebay for under $55 with shipping. Since we have found 100s of uses for the product.

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Old 11-04-2014, 06:33 PM   #10
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I hate the taste so did some research and found that food grade hydrogen peroxide was the way to go.
From US EPA, the people who publish the Safe Drinking Water Standards…

Quote:
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is rarely used in drinking water treatment as a stand-alone treatment process. H2O2 is a weak mirobiocide compared to chlorine, ozone, and other commonly used disinfectants. Consequently, it is not approved by regulatory agencies as a stand-alone disinfection treatment process.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:17 AM   #11
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Thanks to all, this is very helpful.
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Old 11-08-2014, 03:48 PM   #12
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Everything everybody said is good advice. Pool shock liquid is just chlorine bleach that is double strength. Driving around to slosh the liquid in the tank and the water heater is important. And flush with plenty of fresh water because chlorine is bad for plastic plumbing if left to sit. Then drink bottled water anyway.
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:00 PM   #13
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Is this necessary maintenance? We are full-timers and use our fresh water tank a lot. Do not have any smells and filter on the sink water. Everything is fine but just wondering if we should from time to time use the chlorine bleach maintenance routine.
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:41 PM   #14
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Is this necessary maintenance? We are full-timers and use our fresh water tank a lot. Do not have any smells and filter on the sink water. Everything is fine but just wondering if we should from time to time use the chlorine bleach maintenance routine.
Sanitizing the fresh water tank does one thing and one thing only. It kills microorganisms such as coliform bacteria that can make you ill.

As such, there are three occasions that you should sanitize your fresh tank:
1 - If you allow the tank to stagnate. For example, you've got a partially full tank, but you hook up to municipal water for a few weeks without using the tank;
2 - If you ever find yourself using a questionable water source, especially without good filtration;
3 - If you or anyone that you know is using the same water source has a case of Montezuma's Revenge.
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