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Old 04-11-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
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Sanitizing Potable Water tank

Nice day to get trailer cranked up!

What's the best way to sanitize the drinking water before filling it?
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:00 PM   #2
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I've always put about a 1/2 cup of bleach in it, filled it with water, let set for about a day, and then drained it.

I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forums.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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I've always put about a 1/2 cup of bleach in it, filled it with water, let set for about a day, and then drained it.
Don't just fill the tank; run the bleach-water through the entire plumbing system to sanitize the whole thing, not just the tank.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:31 PM   #4
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After you run the bleach water (no more than 1/2 cup!) through all the pipes let it sit for a few hours to overnight. Then drain the tank and fill it with fresh water from your domestic source or some potable water source. You should be good to go. If you object to any residual chlorine smell, you can try to flush the tank once or twice, worst case, put some baking soda in the water, let it sit for a few hours, then empty and refill the tank.

All of us who have posted so far are assuming that you are asking about a periodic sanitizing of the fresh water tank. This would only be done once or twice a year under normal circumstances. More often if you suspected some contamination.

If the nature of your question was about "routine" sanitizing with each fill up of the fresh water tank, I believe that most of us do not do this. We just trust the potable water source we are using. Some people do not drink the water from their fresh water tank (we do) and they carry plastic jugs for this purpose.

Did we answer your question completely?
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:47 PM   #5
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We also drink the tank water so long as it comes from a reliable and good tasting source. If not sure we drink bottled water instead. If possible I will taste the water before filling the tank. During the travel season I have been known to add some bleach to the tank at our last stop prior to getting home. That way during the trip it gets sloshed around and I drain it after getting home. Has worked OK for me.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:38 PM   #6
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From the Airstream Manual...

....this is the way I have always done it.

Potable water systems require periodic maintenance to deliver a consistent flow of fresh water. Depending on use and the environment the system is subject to, sanitizing is recommended prior to storing and before using the water system after a period of storage. Systems with new components, or ones that have been subjected to contamination, should also be disinfected as follows:
1. Use one of the following methods to determine the amount of common household bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
A) Multiply "gallons of tank capacity" by 0.13; the result is the ounces of bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
B) Multiply "Liters of tank capacity" by 1.0; the result is the milliliters of bleach needed to sanitize the tank.
2. Mix into solution the proper amount of bleach within a container of water.
3. Pour the solution (water/bleach) into the tank and fill the tank with potable water.
4. Open all faucets (Hot & Cold) allowing the water to run until the distinct odor of chlorine is detected.
5. The standard solution must have four (4) hours of contact time to disinfect completely. If you double the solution, this concentration allows for contact time of one (1) hour.
6. When the contact time is completed, drain the tank. Refill with potable water and purge the plumbing of all sanitizing solution.
NOTE: The sanitizing procedure outlined above is in conformance with the approved procedures of RVIA ANSI Al19.2 and the U.S. Public Health Service.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:53 PM   #7
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This is a first time usage so don't know when the last time someone has done this.

Thanks mucho everybody.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:57 AM   #8
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From Airstream.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf disinfect water system.pdf (22.2 KB, 171 views)
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #9
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I agree with Protagonist. I have done this many times on my boat. For a typical Airstream fresh water tank I shock the system with 1 pint of household bleach. Fill your tank with water and the bleach and run all of the facets including the hot water as you want to get the bleach into all of the water lines. Let sit for about 2 hours then drain and flush the system with fresh water. I do this about once a year.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:38 PM   #10
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To really be safe…..

I would add the bleach way before the fresh tank is full. That way, the rushing water will stir up the mixture.

Besides just letting the mixture sit for a few days, you could also take it for a short spin on some curvy and hilly roads. While you are at it, you could add a bag of ice into the waste tank, to scourer any build up away. Another safety tip is to sanitize your potable water white hose.

By the way, I don't drink trailer water, except for making coffee. I feel that there are too many ways and chances for the water to get contaminated. If contaminants get in there and it sits for a few weeks or more, you could end up with a breeding ground.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:27 PM   #11
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MandolinDave almost answered my question; once sanitized and filled with potable water again, how long does everyone feel that water is safe for drinking? My unit has a filter on the kitchen sink line though it seems only to slow the flow of water... definitely not make it taste any better.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:42 PM   #12
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I guess I should have taken matters into my own hands but we took off full-timing right off the lot with our used 9-yr International. We've been moving around UT, AZ, and NM for six months now and so far we haven't come down with anything (knock on wood). We use a water filter on any potable water source and then a Britta in the fridge, so we figure we're filtering potable water twice!
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by westcoastas View Post
We use a water filter on any potable water source and then a Britta in the fridge, so we figure we're filtering potable water twice!
A granular activated carbon (GAC) filter will remove many contaminants, but not all of them.

I won't go into the difference between transient and non-transient or community and non-community water sources, or the varying levels of testing and water treatment. I've already done that on other threads.

The important thing here is, even the best municipal water treatment only covers contaminants on the EPA primary drinking water standards list. Contaminants on the EPA secondary standards list are not health hazards— they only affect whether the water is palatable, not whether it it potable. They include contaminants that affect appearance, taste, and odor of the water. Your GAC filter will make the water more palatable. You cannot guarantee that it will make the water more potable, because many contaminants that constitute long-term or short term health hazards are not removed by a GAC filter. Chlorination or fluoridation is generally required as an absolute minimum treatment to kill coliform bacteria and other microorganisms no matter how many or few people drink the water, and no matter whether they drink water from the same source for days or years. In fact, bacteria can grow on a GAC filter, so keeping the filter clean and capped at both ends in between uses is also important.

In other words, your GAC filter doesn't necessarily make the water any safer to drink than it would be without filtration; at best it makes the water more pleasant to drink.

When you use a chlorine shock treatment on your tank and plumbing, you're making sure that no microorganisms are growing on the tank surfaces that could infect the water after it has been treated at the source. That is a good thing, and generally considered essential. It's not a sealed system (it is vented) and that means contaminants can enter the freshwater system from sources other than the water itself.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:56 AM   #14
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My method uses 12 oz bleach for 60 gal of water capacity in my Serenity 30. After removing the under sink filter, I fill the fresh water tank about half full. Then I dilute the Clorox about 50% and carefully pour this into the tank, immediately filling the tank. With the hot water heater off, I run the hot water taps about two minutes or until the bleach smell is detected. Same for cold water.

After four hours, drain fresh water tank, refill with potable water and run the hot water a full five minutes, cold water one minute. Replace water filter. Top up fresh water and I am good to go.

Twice yearly is my schedule based upon total occupancy of about three months per year.




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