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Old 07-31-2016, 08:56 PM   #1
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How do you purify well water?

We have a 1975 AS which has a 40 gal. fresh water tank. I want to fill the tank at our house, but we have well water which is not chlorinated. How much chlorine bleach (Chlorox) or other purification chemical should I add to the water when I fill the tank. We usually don't drink the water but nuse it for cooking, dish washing and showers.
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Old 07-31-2016, 09:39 PM   #2
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In my opinion you don't need to add any. Water is very stable. Many folks store an emergency supply of water, that sits for years.

If you want to sanitize your water tank put in 1/4 cup per 15 gallons or for your 40 gallon tank put in just under 3/4 of a cup. Fill the tank, let it sit for 1-3 hours, then drain the tank, fill with only water, wait one hour, drain it again and fill/drain a second time. The second rinse will be necessary if your group has a sensitive nose.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:36 PM   #3
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This is a very complex question the answers to which range from you don't have to do anything to don't drink it. It all depends on what your groundwater is exposed to -- could be septic system output, livestock, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals.....

You may be fine without any treatment -- including no chlorination -- but I strongly suggest you have a local water testing lab run a drinking water test on it.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:56 PM   #4
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From the sounds of it you have well water as your primary source of water at home. Do you drink the water in the house. If so you don't need to do anything to it to put it in your tank. If you drink the well water in your house you can drink it in your tank.
You may want to sanitize the tank, but the water itself is not an issue.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:40 AM   #5
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Curious, do you have your well water tested?
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:44 AM   #6
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Bleach bottles usually have water purification info on the label. Don't use the sented stuff.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:07 AM   #7
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We have well water at one of our houses and city water at the other. I would only fill the Airstream tank with well water if we planned to use it right away. Our well water is tested and the risk is slight, but the city water has been treated and may be safer for storage.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:14 AM   #8
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Consider adding a water distillation system to remove all doubt about the quality of your drinking water, whether from one's private home wells, city "treated water" sources (Flint, MI?), RV-Parks/Campgrounds water supplies, myriad boondocking sources, creeks, springs, glacial melt, seawater, or? Below is my experience w/ Waterwise distillers, pasted from a current AF thread re removing "crud" in a fresh water tank ... no, I don't sell distillers even though I'm obviously a proponent for having the freshest/safest water possible; in addition to Waterwise, excellent and durable distillers can be purchased from several manufacturers.

Re the different water uses: consider avoiding all future risks from unknown/questionable drinking water by adding a water distillation system to your camper to make pure water for your *consumption* purposes. 25+ years ago, I acquired our first Waterwise Model 7000 distiller. We now have three 7000 systems and I have yet to even need to buy a single repair/replacement part - these things are *workhorses*. Two systems are permanently home-installed: 8 gallon reservoir models w/ demand faucets to every sink & to icemakers/fridges. The 3rd is the more portable 3 gal reservoir model that always stays with our AS. It provides all our drinking/cooking water no matter where we are, no matter whether we think we can probably trust the source water, and also for when we know with absolute certainty that we can't trust it, e.g streams & creeks with their "wild organics" load. We've even "fed it" Gulf of Mexico salt water while beach camping with nothing but pure fresh water coming out. Distilling does require treating the boilertank w/ Kleenwise every 3 to 6 months to remove the minerals left behind by the process and we also replace a small carbon filter (that removes any lingering volatiles a/o odors) at the same time. Waterwise distillers do require 120v power - 6 hours running produces 3 gallons - so when going to be boondocking, we pre-distill while still on the grid and store into 5 gallon water containers; doing this also *greatly* reduces our off-grid generator usage. Here's a link to the Waterwise 7000 info page:

http://www.waterwise.com/productcart/pc/7000.asp
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air4563 View Post
I want to fill the tank at our house, but we have well water which is not chlorinated. How much chlorine bleach (Chlorox) or other purification chemical should I add to the water when I fill the tank. We usually don't drink the water but use it for cooking, dish washing and showers.
Wells— including private wells— are regulated by the State. In Louisiana where I live the State agency is the Department of Health and Hospitals, but in Kentucky I believe it's the Department of Water. Whatever agency it is will have guidelines on how often the well water should be tested based on the number of people using the water, and on the specific contaminants that need to be tested for.

The regulations for water quality for well water vary from state to state, but here's one thing you need to be aware of that applies in all 50 states— legally the water must meet State water quality requirements if you use it for ANY sanitary purpose, including bathing, cooking, and dish-washing as well as drinking. Water that's not healthy to drink isn't healthy to wash or cook with, either. And that's especially true of dish-washing, because whatever is on the dishes ends up in you.

The possible contaminants in well water aren't limited to coliform bacteria that you can treat by chlorination, but may include minerals and heavy metals, chemical compounds, etc. The EPA Primary Drinking Water Standards identify over 60(!) possible contaminants that are hazardous to your health. Without proper periodic testing of the "raw" (untreated) water from your well, you don't know what contaminants might be in the water that need to be removed by filtration or other treatment. And without periodic testing of the treated water, you don't know if the filtration or treatment you're using is effective.

You can follow the EPA or World Health Organization requirements for emergency chlorination of drinking water:
https://www.epa.gov/your-drinking-wa...ater-june-2015 or
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_...nvsan/tn05/en/
but that only ensures that the water does not contain live bacteria. It doesn't help with any other possible contaminants that may be present. Since the well is at your home and you do use the water for sanitary purposes, I strongly recommend that you contact the State agency responsible for wells and follow their guidelines and regulations.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:39 AM   #10
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Ditto on Protagonist. Chlorination does not make all things better, in fact its interaction with organic compounds make it worse. Time is not a factor, in fact the more time chlorine is in contact with organic compounds the more harmful byproducts are created. Filtration does not get much of anything harmful out of the water. Carbon filters also are only partially effective.

Distillation and reverse osmosis both remove all of the minerals from the water, many of which are essential to health and for many minerals water is our primary source.

I ran a quasi-public water company for 15 years and we were under state and federal mandates for monthly testing and treatment of our water supply which came exclusively from wells and was provided to homes as their primary water source. The groundwater was so good that we never had to filter it or treat it in any way, including no chlorination. You may be perfectly fine, but you will not know unless you get it tested.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:47 AM   #11
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If you safely use it at home it should be safe to use in yiur Airstream.... given yhe fact you have properly sanitized your system.
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Old 08-01-2016, 09:39 AM   #12
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If you safely use it at home it should be safe to use in yiur Airstream.... given yhe fact you have properly sanitized your system.
That's just it… "Not had health problems that we know of" is not the same as "safely use it at home."
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:09 AM   #13
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My friend has well water too.

He installed a UV treatment system. He installed copper " loop " with elbows, on both sides of the system, so that the UV rays don't shine on the PVC ( which is a no no )
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air4563 View Post
We have a 1975 AS which has a 40 gal. fresh water tank. I want to fill the tank at our house, but we have well water which is not chlorinated. How much chlorine bleach (Chlorox) or other purification chemical should I add to the water when I fill the tank. We usually don't drink the water but nuse it for cooking, dish washing and showers.
Hello Air4563

Many replies upthread of widely varying quality

I have well water at the location where I store my Airstream. I sometimes fill the freshwater tank there, and also at campgrounds that are served by a well of their own and not equipped with chlorination equipment.

The goal of chlorination when filling the freshwater tank should be the same as the goal when chlorination is used for drinking water in municipal systems or any other setting. That goal is to reduce the risks posed by incidental contamination while the water is stored and distributed.

I am currently using 0.5 mL per gallon of water. My tank is 60 gallons, so I use 30 mL. I use a veterinary syringe without a needle to measure out the bleach and introduce it into the freshwater tank just before filling. I find that to be a simple way of doing things that reduces risk without chlorinating the water to the extent that it overwhelms the carbon block filter under the sink or creates an objectionable chlorine odor in the shower.

There is no way to determine the proper amount without measuring the pH, temperature, and free chlorine in the water after the bleach is added, but I figure this gets me close. As others have touched upon upthread, the water chemistry you're treating affects the amount of chlorine required. The other problem is that chlorine bleach sold in stores varies in its strength, because chlorine leaches out through the walls of the bleach bottles during storage leaving a weaker product behind over time.
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