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Old 07-22-2020, 03:58 PM   #1
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Keeping fresh water tank clean

Is it really OK to put Clorox bleach in our fresh tank? We have been lax in emptying the tank after each trip and green slime has formed. We flushed it several times and think we have gotten most of it out. We usually carry bottled water to drink but still want to keep the fresh tank as fresh as possible. Maybe 1/2cup for our 2018 fresh tank filled??
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:37 PM   #2
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We've been RV-ing in our Airstream for seven years. We follow the easily found online instructions for sanitizing the tank with bleach, and once that process is complete we always drink the water from our fresh tank because we are adamantly against creating more waste with plastic water bottles. Works fine, we've never once had an issue. Just be sure to sanitize the tank and lines at least once a year.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:38 PM   #3
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A 1/2 cup sitting in a full tank 3 days for 17yrs hasn't caused any problems here.👍
Just remember to run it into the lines also.

It does take 2-3 complete flushes to detox it though.

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Old 07-22-2020, 04:55 PM   #4
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Is it really OK to put Clorox bleach in our fresh tank? We have been lax in emptying the tank after each trip and green slime has formed. We flushed it several times and think we have gotten most of it out. We usually carry bottled water to drink but still want to keep the fresh tank as fresh as possible. Maybe 1/2cup for our 2018 fresh tank filled??
Same here. Food grade tanks are for food grade human consumption.
I do mine a couple time a year since retirement and we no longer let the AS sit for 5 winter months. So I do it once in the spring and once before our winter exit.

If it is going to sit for more than a week, all tanks are emptied.
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:50 PM   #5
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Don’t you have a filter under your sink? If so, it is probably time to replace it. As for the green slime, you want to get all that out. I don’t know if green slime itself is toxic, but if it has gone that long, there may be other stuff there.

I would flush the system until you get the slime out and then treat it again with chlorine as explained in the owner’s manual. Maybe do it again after you get it clean. I have no problem drinking the water once the fresh water system has been sanitized. We use an inline filter for city water to make sure bad stuff like giardiadoesn’t get into the system since some campgrounds do not have filtration and may not be careful. You need a 5 micron filter to make sure giardia is not present. You can get inline filters to go between water hoses in many places and the filter itself at big box stores.

I usually sanitize the system twice each travel season because stuff that won’t hurt you may replicate over a hot summer in a dark place and become a danger. A few bacteria can usually be resisted by your immune system, but many may be a problem.
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:00 PM   #6
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I just looked up how to get rid of green slime in a water tank. Green or blue green slime is toxic and grows best with light. It is algae. How it got into your fresh water system is a mystery, but it may have been in a campground water system which drew from a tank or pond open to sunlight. You need more Clorox than is usually used for sanitizing the system, but remember, chlorine is bad for plastic, so you need to use it no longer than necessary. Google green slime in water tank and see what is suggested.
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:11 PM   #7
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Keeping fresh water tank clean

I nuke my tank every spring with 1-2 cups of Clorox in a 54 gallon tank. Pump through all the lines.

I do bypass the hot water heater....

Drain / fill 3 times to rinse and good to go!
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:00 AM   #8
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2018, Salem WBCCI INTERNATIONAL RALLY. City has a problem and there was provided filter water stations to abate the issue. . To fill jugs, not airstreams. The city water went they the plumbing... so a good dose, 2 cups of Clorox (original unscented) in the water we brought, pumped they system, allowed to sit 4 hours. Removed aeration then flushed the system one at a time... ran water thru coffee filter.. no scummy stuff.

Replaced the Filtered water cartridge. Did not drink our water and treated tank but used it for other uses until we were able to “flush” Lines with empty FW tank, after drain of Clorox dose. .. twice.. no smell.

Don’t let high level of Clorox sit in your water pump.

I leave full of water and high level, 2 cups in our 34’ FW tank.. I also pump thru system. Flush is easy.. get test strips and test water For chlorine once you cannot smell the Clorox. Should be safe, even at treatment level But we prefer different flavor.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:43 AM   #9
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My Airstream manual includes detailed instructions on how to sanitize the fresh tank using household bleach, so using Clorox should be safe. However, it does leave an unpleasant odor that requires repeated flushes of the fresh tank to dissipate.

For the start of this season, I tried CAMCO RV TastePURE Spring Fresh Water System Cleaner. Itís an alcohol based sanitizer, and left very little odor after a single flush. Itís more expensive, but youíll save water by flushing less.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:55 PM   #10
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15 Seasons. Never drain or flush fresh water tank after initial filling. The only prevention I use is blue filters and refill when empty, but we boondocks a lot and therefore empty often.
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Old 07-24-2020, 03:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
We've been RV-ing in our Airstream for seven years. We follow the easily found online instructions for sanitizing the tank with bleach, and once that process is complete we always drink the water from our fresh tank because we are adamantly against creating more waste with plastic water bottles. Works fine, we've never once had an issue. Just be sure to sanitize the tank and lines at least once a year.
Off topic...I'm at an RV Resort in Heber City, UT. A week or two a wireless signal was popping up called "Rocinante WiFi" or something like that. Were ya here?
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:08 PM   #12
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..............2 cups of Clorox (original unscented) ..(emphasis mine)......
Yeah, good luck with that ^^, as I will explain below. We started a sub-discussion of disinfection methods over on the Off Topic thread, but it's more fitting here.

OMG, this makes me SO FREAKIN' ANGRY. Four months of waiting and four hours of searching and I STILL cannot find unadulterated Clorox for sale. It's simply not available in my area.

My final recourse was to put out an appeal on social media within my neighborhood group. A woman a few blocks from me was able to spare some of hers.

When I started researching this issue, I was shocked at what I found. Bleach products have become dumping grounds for chemical salts, surfactants, perfumes, and other ingredients that are not fit for human consumption, and which are not necessarily disclosed on the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the product:



Clorox only warrants their Regular and this new thing called "Germicidal" (which I have not found for sale) for drinking water treatment purposes. None of the other formulations are "bleach" per se, even though they have that word in bold type on the label. They are multi-ingredient cleaning products that superficially appear like bleach, but which cannot be used for the same applications.

Clearly, this distinction is most important if you plan to DRINK the water that comes in contact with the bleach product. But do you really want to introduce soaps or chemical salts or fragrances into your fresh water tank?! Answer: OH HELL NO.

What a pain. I managed to get hold of enough bleach to treat my drinking water. But fresh tank disinfection... that's another challenge for which I'm going to have to figure out some other workaround.

My social media tale of woe and a picture of the resulting acquisition, all four precious ounces of it. I swear I would have an easier time buying crack cocaine right now than pure bleach. No exaggeration at all.

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Old 07-24-2020, 07:41 PM   #13
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In the PNW, our "city" water is normally very clean and low in solids and iron, etc. So we only do a tank and lines cleaning once per year, at which time I clean the water pump metal screen filter (located at the water pump inlet).

No, that is not often enough to have high confidence in using onboard water for drinking, even when we are full timing for months at a time and getting our tank volume cycled frequently.

So, to avoid the uncertainty of the condition of our tank and water lines, we find it simpler to buy one gallon of water with a screw lid and keep refilling it every 2-3 days at those Glacier refill stations at Safeway/Albertsons/ Walmart. 40 cents and done for our water drinking and coffee machine. We keep the gallon jug in the step well and find that works just fine. No excessive consumption of plastic water bottle containers either. This method works fine when you are on the road or staying near town... not so good when you are boondocking for more than three days. In that case, just do your sanitizing steps before you head out like others have said.
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Old 07-24-2020, 08:27 PM   #14
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Chlorine is added to city water to keep bacteria from growing and wells are recommended to be shocked with it too. Wish there was more UV light technology products to use for RV tanks. Surprised they are not more readily available. With that said, Iíd be concerned to see what is growing in tanks that have not been sanitized. That would not be a risk Iíd want to take.
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Old 07-24-2020, 09:16 PM   #15
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Wish there was more UV light technology products to use for RV tanks. Surprised they are not more readily available.
UV sterilization only kills the bad guys in the nearest vicinity of the light source, so most systems require constant circulation. As the light source ages the emitted frequency can change (or the bulb can burn out altogether), which greatly reduces sanitation effectiveness. These things don't reliably work in static situations (e.g. swimming pools), so I wouldn't want to trust one that experiences pot holes and vibrations of interstate highways at 65mph.
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Old 07-25-2020, 05:24 AM   #16
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Expounding what I said above, given that I have written to the Clorox company and intend to also communicate this need to my federal representative (IMO, uncontaminated bleach should be included in the medical supply chain security legislation that we all know is coming)... by Clorox's admission, here is their list of bleach-related products, with the products acceptable for use in a drinking water system highlighted.

Only 6% of their lineage (by name) should be used in a drinking water disinfection capacity, and of course that's the portion that sells out first.

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Old 07-25-2020, 01:38 PM   #17
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I just looked at the Clorox "No Splash" bottle and there's no chlorine in it. It says not to use as a disinfectant. Glad to have been educated.
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Old 07-25-2020, 02:08 PM   #18
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I just looked at the Clorox "No Splash" bottle and there's no chlorine in it. It says not to use as a disinfectant. Glad to have been educated.

Clorox "splashless" bleach has the same active ingredient (Sodium Hypochlorite) as "regular" bleach, but with additional viscosity modifiers to thicken it up. While splashless will do an admirable job with cleaning your tank, I can imagine it will take quite some many tank flushes to get it out of your system.

Occasionally I've needed to use bleach to sanitize my swimming pool when my saltwater electrolyzer goes down. I learned the hard way to not use the splashless variety--my entire pool foamed up like a giant bubble bath for the remainder of the day. The kids were amused; the wife...not so much.

Point of Interest: Sodium Hypochlorite tends to degrade over time, especially at warmer temperatures: The older the bleach, the lower its effectivity. It doesn't ever really go bad, it just becomes more and more dilute over time. So if you're disinfecting your freshwater tank with the same jug o' bleach you purchased a few years ago, you're not getting it as clean as you might think. Generally, bleach has about a 6 month shelf life. Google "bleach date code" if you want to discover how to read the age of a bleach bottle.


Happy disinfecting!
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:51 PM   #19
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Just checked mine. Itís not on the list.
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Old 07-25-2020, 06:35 PM   #20
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If you can access your fresh water tank.. ...I added a kayak hatch and can inspect, clean and make sure it’s dry for winterization... one of my best modifications. See this thread, I used the same one as Smokelessjoe. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...tch-69584.html
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