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Old 05-14-2012, 07:15 AM   #15
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I had to learn this stuff for work, when I designed drinking water treatment systems for some of our field sites that get water from wells…

Anyone concerned about the quality of the water they put into their rigs shoud check out the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act web page at Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) | Safe Drinking Water Act | US EPA

Campgrounds that use municipal water have the advantage that their water falls under the standards for "Community Water Systems." They're tested at least daily, if not multiple times a day, for 83 different contaminants. You won't need to filter the water.

Campgrounds that get their water from a well on the premises have the least stringent requirements, since they are considered "Transient Non-Community Water Systems." The number of contaminants they have to test for is smaller, and the frequency of testing is lower. The smallest systems may only have to be tested annually, but quarterly or monthly is more likely. Again, you won't need a filter, but you may want one on your incoming supply just to be sure.

All water from a tested source is considered safe to drink, based on compliance with the EPA Primary Dringing Water Standards; if it's not safe, the State will ban the use of that source until it's made safe. Differences in water quality are generally related to what the EPA calls "Secondary Drinking Water Standards" having to do with taste, odor, color, turbidity, etc. Water that fails to meet the secondary drinking water standards may not be pleasant to drink, but it won't pose a health risk; the harmful stuff is all on the primary list.

Check the water where you're attaching your hose, before you hook up. If it's palatable, hook up without a filter. If you don't like the taste, color, odor, or turbidity of the water, add a granular activated carbon filter to your incoming water line. If your municipal water hookup bypases your fresh tank (and your water pump) then you're good with that. But carbon removes chlorine from the water, so filtering the incoming water is not a complete solution when you're filling your fresh tank.

Chlorine is a tricky case. The purpose of adding chlorine is to kill biological contaminants such as algae, coliform bacteria, etc. As long as there is enough chlorine in the water to taste it, there's enough to keep the water safe. However, chlorine is also considered a contaminant for drinking water, so you want to get rid of it at the faucet before you drink it. The ideal situation is to add a granular activated carbon filter on your galley faucet. When you bypass the faucet filter, you should taste chlorine; when you use the filter, the chlorine taste should go away. If you set it up that way, the water will remain safe— and palatable— to drink even if it sits in your fresh tank for months on end.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:49 AM   #16
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1. Water. As you see, you will get a lot of different ideas. I always drank tank water (after annual sanitizing, etc.) until one day, when LEAVING a fairly remote ccommercial campground after several days, I saw a single, small sign (maybe 6 inches square) that simply said, "Do not drink campground water!" It didn't make me sick, but maybe I'd just happened to drink only for coffee and so it was boiled? Maybe it was contaminated with e.g. mercury or PCBs? Since then, I a.) filter the incoming tank / city-water-hookup water, b.) carry a gallon jug for drinking and tooth brushing, etc. I also carry a small pump filter [MSR Waterworks] that I've used all over the world to purify water from lakes, streams and municipal supplies, and if my drinking jug gets low, then I filter another gallon with the pump filter. I've seen folks with serious gastrointestinal upsets from bad water, and I just don't want to be one of them. I'm gonna' be too busy having fun to be sick, so I take simple precautions. Your choice, and you get to live with the result.

2. Batteries. This will also be a very personal result, and will depend upon how good your "new" batteries are, how much electirity you use for lights and entertainment and water pumping and furnace and vent fans, etc. It will also vary a LOT depending upon the season and elevation (cold weather = more furnace use = faster energy consumption). The only way you will know is to go out and try it. But until you know a lot more than you do now about the subject, you may well be wasting money on a generator. I have one that's propane and gasoline powered. Then, after a couple of seasons of almsot no usage and having to haul around gasoline and a big extension cord, I decided to put a pretty good sized solar system on the trailer's roof, and I literally have never used the generator since, except to run heavy-duty power tools in remote places on my farm. So if I were you, I'd try it all out first, before investing in a gennie. Then, if you need/ want one, you'll know what to buy.

Good luck, and welcome to the Forums!
I had this sign thing happen once as well.......in ALL my camping years. I've had more boil orders at home than camping!!
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:34 AM   #17
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Congrats on your purchase! Love the new Internationals. I guess we fall in the category of those that drink bottled water but shower and wash dishes with the campground water. Yes we put a filter on the inlet hose. But ours is 28 years old so who knows what color the inside of our pipes are! :-) I do sanitize with bleach though. No experience boondocking yet, but we already had a generator. If I have to evacuate for a hurricane we willtake it and see. Have fun. Oh and go to harbor freight or somewhere and get a box of disposable rubber gloves and some baby wipes. You will have to dump sewage! In fact, one of you should film the other doing that the first time.just for the fond memories! (chuckle)
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:35 PM   #18
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We routinely drink and cook with water from our fresh water tank. We only take extra water with us when we know there will not be a water source where we are camping. When filling up at home, we don't filter or add any bleach because we know the water quality there... But when we fill up from an unknown source we add a bleach solution and use a filter. We also drink campground water unless it specifically posted not to do so (which has been never)...and we use a filter. We have never suffered any ill effects, though I do believe the periodic addition of the bleach solution is a good safety precaution.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:45 PM   #19
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I had this sign thing happen once as well.......in ALL my camping years. I've had more boil orders at home than camping!!

I really should elaborate on the "one time". It was at a park that we frequently go to , as it's only about 1.5 hours from home. They were in the process of retiring their old dump stations (2) and had added a new modern one over last winter. The hydrants on the same fresh water system as the old dump stations had not been tested after all the plumbing mods. And a sign said do not drink. I went into town and asked a service station if I could fill my tank. They said sure and we bought gas & stuff (beer) from them. Had a great weekend, only to find as we were leaving, and dumping at the new station, that they had fresh water as a part of the new addition which had been tested and was safe. Plumbed as a separate system! Oh well......
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:25 PM   #20
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I use a water filter from Walmart. I sometimes, but not always, drink tap water in the trailer. We almost always have a case of bottled water in the back of the truck. Go traveling or boondocking and try it without the generator. Even on a long trip you can stop and buy a generator almost anywhere if you decide you need one. We went for 3 years before we bought one. You should be good for 3 days or so in moderate weather with the batteries. Cold weather and running the furnace drains them pretty fast. Fantastic fan and the 12 portable Fantastic fan are low draw and very useful without shore connection. Try 3 or 4 days at a prov. park in Jasper or other mountainous areas in Canada at 35 degrees and raining and you will want a generator. We do not run the air off the generator. We move to a site with power if we need the air badly.
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:21 PM   #21
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Okay, now I'm confused! I know, it doesn't take much these days, but what about people who travel for long periods of time? Taking a couple of gallons of water from home for drinking is fine for a weekend, but what about a three-week trip like we had planned for last summer?

We use a disposable in-line filter for the water that goes in our mpg, either tank or city hookup. Yes, the water in the tank can get stale-tasting in warm weather. Putting a gallon into the refrigerator helps, as does aerating it. To do that, pour a gallon of water from one container to another a few times. Aerating the water, then refrigerating it overnight, seems to work for us.
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #22
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Don't pop a hernia or wreck your back trying to open those new windows. Seems to be a common denominator with new units - those stuck windows!

Unlatch those windows as soon as you get home. The movement of you going in and out, walking around the trailer (and you will be doing a lot of that because you're just so excited about it) will probably loosen a few of the windows. Some will still be shut; use a credit card or rubber egg flipper to break the seal from the outside.

Congrats....and please post pictures. That's an Airstream forum ritual.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:21 PM   #23
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Okay, now I'm confused! I know, it doesn't take much these days, but what about people who travel for long periods of time? Taking a couple of gallons of water from home for drinking is fine for a weekend, but what about a three-week trip like we had planned for last summer?
Doesn't sound like you're confused. Sounds like you've got a plan that works for you.

But then again, who cares if you can drink the water, as long as you have beer?
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:44 PM   #24
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But then again, who cares if you can drink the water, as long as you have beer?

Great minds think alike. Ha!
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:36 PM   #25
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Thanks to all for such good and thoughtful advice! There is so much to think about!! We went to look at counter top water filters today and may go that way (as well as perhaps an inline filter after a bit).

The amount of time we can go without hookups is a concern though, since the date we will get out of our house (we are selling it with the intention of full-timing for a year to see the country) and into the AS is still being worked out and meanwhile, every campground from here to Oregon seems to be filled up! And I'm not even talking about the 4th of July week yet!! ARRGHH!!

So, there we'll be - 2 newbs practicing backing up and watching our video to make sure we know how to hitch it up properly - and in addition to that, we'll have no hookups!! Nothing like learning under fire!!

We are considering calling the dealer and telling him to add the solar package given our situation - does anyone have any advice on that??

We will post pics in a few weeks once we pick up the AS - but you'll know us in the campgrounds - we'll be the ones practicing backing up!!

Dolly
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:52 PM   #26
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Hi Dolly! Congratulations on the purchase! I bet you guys are so excited! We're pretty new to the Airstream lifestyle too. We've had ours about 5 months. We haven't been to a rally yet, but we're signed up for one in Oct. in Kernville, Ca in Sequoia National Park. I thought I mention it to you since I see you're in California too.
Check it out:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f288...6-a-90631.html
Maybe if you go, no one will notice what newbies WE are!
Hope to see you on the road someday!
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:54 PM   #27
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Hi Dolly,
we haven't really intro'd yet, but we bought a 2012 27FB International from Toscano at the beginning of the year and we live just a few miles south of you, so I had to say hi. We got the solar installed at the dealer, and have only used it once but have been really happy with it. Our batteries were recharged by about 10am, and that was in partial shade. (We got the bigger solar package, but suspect the smaller one would have been fine based on this, for $200 cheaper.) We got down to 60% or so in just an afternoon and evening of moderate use. Oh, and when you fill your water tank, hold the hose a few inches away and let the water flow in with moderate pressure. We put the hose in the inlet the first time and didn't get as full as the monitors indicated, which was a bit unfortunate for dry camping! Get a water thief hose adapter thingie, too - we had to hold a hose up to a spigot for a very long time at Big Sur. ( http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...ter-thief/4690 )
Good luck with that backing up - we've only been out a few times (waiting for the kids to get out of school!) and are still getting the hang of it!
-Sarah
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:11 AM   #28
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"We are considering calling the dealer and telling him to add the solar package given our situation - does anyone have any advice on that??"

Dolly,

I would PM "Lewster" here on the Forum's. He's in the business and will give you the straight scoop. The consensus being the factory install is rather expensive for what you get.

Bob
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