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Old 03-30-2004, 07:45 AM   #1
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Water treatment ideas

Did a search and found little pertaining to onboard water filtration. Thought it might be nice to hear what other folks are doing.

Here's our thoughts:

Water is a big deal these days. With the inconsistency among various systems across the country, we were very concerned. Nowadays you might find drug and hormone residue, pesticides, chemicals, viruses, cysts, and bacteria in a private or public system. What do many folks do with their old unused prescriptions? Yep, they get flushed down the drain.

An RO system is out of the question if you are boondocking frequently - uses too much water and needs relatively high pressure to accomplish the task.

So, here's how we handle our onboard water:

Step One - Pretreat water entering holding tank - Hydrolife Filter - around $35
Contaminants addressed include bacteria, heavy metals, hydrogen sulfide, lime/scale, chlorine, VOC's, taste, and odor.

Step Two - Treat drinking water - Nature Pure Filter - around $200
Certified to meet EPA Microbiological Purification Standards against cysts, bacteria & virus. Excels at chemical and aesthetic contaminant removal.

Hope this helps those that share our concerns. Look forward to hearing from you. Happy hydrating!

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Old 08-18-2005, 04:00 PM   #2
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Xray, how well does the first filter help with hard water and scale? We have VERY hard water at the house (13.5 grains; anything over 10.5 grains is considered very hard). Since it comes from a well, the water quality is very good, but the scales makes a mess of EVERYTHING.
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:14 PM   #3
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You know, to tell the truth, I have no idea. I doubt either filter removes much for minerals, however.

I don't know how this thread got restarted. I posted it originally in 2004... Go figure.
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:37 PM   #4
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Here's something we've thought about adding to our 19' Bambi -- a little pricey but it would give you good fresh water. Also, I know it takes out minerals as we use an RO system at our cabin in the mountains of Arizona where the well water is very hard. The RO system takes out almost all mineral content.
http://store.yahoo.com/aquamallusa/watminrevoss.html
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Old 08-18-2005, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzy
Here's something we've thought about adding to our 19' Bambi -- a little pricey but it would give you good fresh water. Also, I know it takes out minerals as we use an RO system at our cabin in the mountains of Arizona where the well water is very hard. The RO system takes out almost all mineral content.
http://store.yahoo.com/aquamallusa/watminrevoss.html
That's very cool.

How much water does it take to make, say, a gallon?
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Old 08-18-2005, 06:07 PM   #6
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The amazing thing about public water supplies in the US these days is their consistency and safety.

If you are very sensitive about water taste or the taste of your coffee, your best bet is to carry water from home.

Filtration and other water treatments should be considered a matter of preference first and foremost. It should not be a matter of fear about safety. FUD mongering (spreading Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is a tactic of unethical sales types and should be met with a good degree of skepticism.
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Old 08-18-2005, 08:07 PM   #7
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Xray,

When filling my tank I use an inline filter similar to the one you linked us to - primarliy to keep my tank water sweet (at least in the smell of it). I never drink it - ever.

My choice I guess, but I don't even let my dog drink it. Why take a chance? Just always keep distilled plastic gallons onboard. Besides, my espresso maker likes the distilled!
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Old 08-18-2005, 08:23 PM   #8
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Leipper, you do what you want...

Frankly, I don't trust anyone but I know that when I filter my water, I am controlling the inputs, at the very least. I've used the same system I advocate here when hiking for years to total satisfaction and some of that has been when there was only really bad water available to filter. We've not had a single problem using the drinking water from our A/S's filtration system.

Camping? Where does that water come from? Treated public water systems? For the most part, doubtful.

Anyone drink the water in Mexico lately?

'nuff said...
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Old 08-18-2005, 10:10 PM   #9
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Norm,

I agree with you. I've never let a drop of water into my fresh tank without it being filtered first.

Irons and espresso machines appreciate distilled. You do run the risk of a mineral imbalance if you drink distilled exclusively, so I've been told.

Best regards,
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Old 08-19-2005, 12:48 AM   #10
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Frankly, I don't trust anyone but I know that when I filter my water, I am controlling the inputs, at the very least. I've used the same system I advocate here when hiking for years to total satisfaction and some of that has been when there was only really bad water available to filter. We've not had a single problem using the drinking water from our A/S's filtration system.

Anyone drink the water in Mexico lately?
I tried to very clearly specify US public water supplies. I did not provide instruction nor demand to anyone and did not attempt to encroach on anyone's ability to exercise their own opinions. Its fine for you to have your own opinions but I suggest you respect mine to the same degree I respect yours - and you exercise the same care to read what I offer as I try to do with yours.

Again - United States Public Water Systems! I did not see any referent that the interest was in private water supplies or water in foreign countries. Even out in the boonies on NFS or BLM land if you find a water faucet for public use, water from that faucet is treated and it is tested very frequently. I believe this is the kind of water source, US public water supplies, that is of most interest to the RV enthusiasts in this forum.

It is a fact that there is a severe amount of FUD mongering pushing sales of water treatment equipment. The result is a lot of people spending money based on false or misleading claims. This is often considered not a good result.

It is also a fact that filters and similar water treatment can lead to increases in water contaminants. They add more equipment to the water system that requires additional maintenance and care. Some is fairly complex and requires rather high degree of care. An RV is a rather poor environment for a lot of this equipment. Some equipment can remove residual disinfectant which could be an important sanitary measure in water intended to be stored for a few days.

There are reasons for water treatment in an RV but safety and sanitation are not in the list. Those are best handled by proper maintenance of your RV water supply system including periodic flushing and other things desribed in many owner's manuals.

Taste is one of the big reasons for RV water treatment. But the restrictions on what can be in water tend to make even this rather esoteric. Sediment trapping is another reason although that tends to be a problem in only very low use situations.

A single person's experience is good to know but cannot compare as a measure of possible outcomes to the experience of 300 million.

The key suggestion, and it is only that and only intended for those who are looking to make a rational decision about their RV water systems, is that you should make sure to base your decisions on facts rather than myths and be sure to have your facts in a proper perspective. Be a skeptic and not a cynic or a paranoic.
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Old 08-19-2005, 01:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
The amazing thing about public water supplies in the US these days is their consistency and safety.

If you are very sensitive about water taste or the taste of your coffee, your best bet is to carry water from home.

Filtration and other water treatments should be considered a matter of preference first and foremost. It should not be a matter of fear about safety. FUD mongering (spreading Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is a tactic of unethical sales types and should be met with a good degree of skepticism.
I couldn't agree more! We live in an age where we're paranoid about everything we take in.........including water! I've never bought a bottle of water, don't have a filter attached to my water hose.....and don't intend to buy distilled water for my java. We've gone overboard in my opinion!
But each to there own!
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Old 08-19-2005, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leipper
I tried to very clearly specify US public water supplies. I did not provide instruction nor demand to anyone and did not attempt to encroach on anyone's ability to exercise their own opinions. Its fine for you to have your own opinions but I suggest you respect mine to the same degree I respect yours - and you exercise the same care to read what I offer as I try to do with yours.

Again - United States Public Water Systems! I did not see any referent that the interest was in private water supplies or water in foreign countries. Even out in the boonies on NFS or BLM land if you find a water faucet for public use, water from that faucet is treated and it is tested very frequently. I believe this is the kind of water source, US public water supplies, that is of most interest to the RV enthusiasts in this forum.

It is a fact that there is a severe amount of FUD mongering pushing sales of water treatment equipment. The result is a lot of people spending money based on false or misleading claims. This is often considered not a good result.

It is also a fact that filters and similar water treatment can lead to increases in water contaminants. They add more equipment to the water system that requires additional maintenance and care. Some is fairly complex and requires rather high degree of care. An RV is a rather poor environment for a lot of this equipment. Some equipment can remove residual disinfectant which could be an important sanitary measure in water intended to be stored for a few days.

There are reasons for water treatment in an RV but safety and sanitation are not in the list. Those are best handled by proper maintenance of your RV water supply system including periodic flushing and other things desribed in many owner's manuals.

Taste is one of the big reasons for RV water treatment. But the restrictions on what can be in water tend to make even this rather esoteric. Sediment trapping is another reason although that tends to be a problem in only very low use situations.

A single person's experience is good to know but cannot compare as a measure of possible outcomes to the experience of 300 million.

The key suggestion, and it is only that and only intended for those who are looking to make a rational decision about their RV water systems, is that you should make sure to base your decisions on facts rather than myths and be sure to have your facts in a proper perspective. Be a skeptic and not a cynic or a paranoic.
I don't think I said anything offensive or which lacked respect. And I think my perspective is perfectly rational, well-documented, and realistic. I wasn't taking aim at you at all even though I disagree with almost every word you write. I do agree, however, that there is plenty of FUD going around and I found your perspective on filtration causing secondary problems enlightening.

And I will do what I want - I won't drink water from sources where the quality is unknown. I won't load water into my coach before filtering it. I can't think of a worse situation than to be out "camping" and finding oneself sick from drinking contaminated water from an unknown source. I also prefer to filter out such things as chlorine and flouride (known carcinogens) for obvious reasons.

I didn't questioned the safety of the US public water system even though I probably should have mentioned that there are many well-documented instances where there are/have been serious problems. I found the first link, below, very interesting.

I did a very quick search and filtered out the "FUD" to prove my point anyway. Here are a few "facts":

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp...&notFound=true

http://www.amwa.net/mtbe/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/2/139

http://jech.bmjjournals.com/cgi/cont...stract/54/1/45

http://www.environmentallawyers.com/...d-Lawsuit.html

http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/circ/2004...rcular1265.pdf

Frankly, "safety and sanitation" are at the top of my list of reasons to filter the water I use in my coach.

FYI, the reason for distilled water in an espresso machine is because of the elimination of minerals that can eventually clog and ruin the equipment. Now if you decide that the life of, say, your $500 espresso machine (like mine) can be enhanced and extended by using distilled water, it might be a better choice to use distilled water than tap water.
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Old 08-19-2005, 01:13 PM   #13
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I didn't questioned the safety of the US public water system even though I probably should have mentioned that there are many well-documented instances where there are/have been serious problems. I found the first link, below, very interesting.
The links provided are a good example of why "perfectly rational, well-documented, and realistic" needs a bit of rigor and appropriate skepticism. When there is a failure in the US public water supply it is big news in part because of its rarity and in part because of the paranoia and the 'bleeds leads' news philosophy. i.e. they feed FUD because of a lack of appropriate referent in statistical measure.

What you see is where there are real or supposed faults in the public systems that impact, or might impact, many. These get a lot of press, especially when the 'victims' are some particularly sympathetic sub group (e.g. elderly, children). An example is the recent water park story out of New York.

What you do not see in the national press is the individual cases, the situation where individually owned water systems failed; Where someone got sick because they left water to form a culture in an under sink water filter or where some other such fault occurred. - this is probably because it doesn't have much of an impact on most healthy people (re the WaPo story) of any note to get into the radar of the public health authorities. When's the last time you reported a case of diahrea to the health department?

"You do run the risk of a mineral imbalance if you drink distilled exclusively, so I've been told. "

This is an example of the kind of rumor that floats around that is probably inoccuous. It is an issue in regard to things like a "$500 espresso machine" but the fact that that was brought in tells me that the effort to refute is going to ridiculous extremes. I had also previously addressed this in regard to the taste of coffee, which is where the contaminants can make a big difference. Even bottled water often has 'contaminants' added to keep if from tasting flat.

Also thanks for the USGS report on streams and aquifers - a good report although I note again that it does not address the user end of the US Public Water Supply. It does illustrate just how seriously the US government considers water quality which is why a lot of the personal paranoia is misplaced. A careful reader should also note that the report describes the extremely low levels of contaminants it is tracing but mentions the standards involving these contaminants only in passing. You have no way to determine any risk in what they are talking about as far as the public water supply is concerned.

On the other hand, the recent brouhaha concerning the standards for arsenic in public water supplies that is causing an innordinate amount of expense in many smaller communities should help provide perspective. Another example is the kind of examination that goes on looking for the cause of cancer clusters such as the one in Fallon NV a while back.

It is the things you don't know about that will get you. While the FUD mongering in the press and the misreading of scientific reports can get people worried, they should really take heart that these things are known, are publicized, are a part of the public debate and are being addressed. Out of the 300 million people in the country and the many thousands of public water systems, any failure or suspected fault is big news. It is something we know. It gets fixed. It warrants an appropriate trust (unless you are a conspiracy nut).

I'll have to chalk this one up with 'speed limits' as a non-reasonable-debate topic, I guess. Too much emotion, too much feeling, very difficult to get down to solid issues. Oh well. Maybe some will profit.

Good project for the camper: ask the camp host or ranger who does the water testing at your campground. Find out how it works, how it is done. See if you can find out where to see the reports. Find out what training was required by the person drawing the samples, what regulations and laws are involved, - learn. know. and maybe make a new friend among the folks whose job is to help make your camping experience a healthy one.
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:27 PM   #14
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No problem here and no emotion on my part.

Have a good one.
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