Originally Posted by Ray Eklund
Swimming pools are full of chlorine. Is it safe to drink? Why drink your own city's water full of chlorine, iron and some resistant bacteria for protein?
It's a matter of degree. According to the EPA and the World Health Organization, chlorine at 4 parts per million or less in water is
drinkable with no long-term ill effects. That's not to say it tastes good, though— potable is not
the same as palatable. A swimming pool should
contain between 1.5ppm and 3.0ppm, which gives a pH of about 7.4, the same pH as human tears. In theory pool water is drinkable, provided no kids have peed in it. And as long as the chlorine level is 1ppm or more, there will be no
live microorganisms in the water.
Is Chlorinated water your choice? Do you add... Clorox to your water?
When I was working for a living, during hurricane season, when I had a full fresh tank for six months straight in case of having to bug out for an impending storm on short notice and possibly having to return to work at the Corps of Engineers before city services were restored, I kept a chlorine residual of about 1ppm 24/7 in my fresh tank, and routinely tested the water to make sure. Now that I'm retired and an approaching hurricane is just an excuse to leave on my next camping trip well ahead of the stampeding herd of evacuees, I don't bother keeping a full fresh tank for months on end, and chlorine residual is a non-issue.
Having designed well water treatment systems for the Corps of Engineers, I've done my research, and I have a pretty fair idea how often and for what contaminants a given water source has to be tested. A water well on the grounds of a campground and providing water only to the campground is the least-trusted water source there is. I'll chlorine-treat their water after filtering it through a carbon filter.
Water sources are classified as transient or non-transient, depending on whether the same people drink the water for less than six months or more than six months, and as community or non-community depending on how many people drink from the same source.
Transient sources are tested to a lower standard than non-transient sources because no one will be drinking the water long enough for long-term health hazards to become an issue.
Non-community sources are tested to a lower standard than community sources because fewer people will get sick at one time if a short-term health hazard is present. And within the category of community sources, the larger the community, the more often testing is required, up to several times a day for major metropolitan areas.
So I generally trust non-transient community sources that are tested several times a week for a large list of contaminants a lot more than I trust transient non-community sources that might only be tested once a month for a small list of contaminants.
And I pay attention to what's happening in the campground. If there is a break in a campground water line for any reason while I'm there, I quit using the water, because not all campgrounds test the water at the most distant spigot on each branch like they're supposed to to detect contaminants introduced in between the well and the spigot. Many test only at the well itself, and get away with it because testing labs only analyze the samples sent to them; they don't come out to take their own samples.