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Old 03-29-2015, 05:54 PM   #1
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Safe Drinking Water. Does bleach work?

I recently emptied my 120 gallon fresh water tank after purchasing my Island Gypsy 32 that had been on the hard and not used for over a year.
I filled the tank bank up with fresh water. I was told to add ONE CAP of Clorox Bleach to the 120 gallon tank. I was hoping this would make the water at least ok for brushing teeth, showering, etc. Is this not the case?

Any ideas on how to make the water as clean and potable as possible?
Thanks
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:04 PM   #2
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Safe Drinking Water. Does bleach work?

If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1⁄8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.

Source:


Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water | Emergency Preparedness | US EPA
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:18 PM   #3
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Safe Drinking Water. Does bleach work?

The EPA link is great info but to get marina specific for a moment it has been my observation that at many docks the water lines do not get used often unless there are folks living aboard. Flushing the dock water lines can get rid of the "cloudy" water and the most efficient way to do so is washing the boat prior to filling your tank. I know this will not apply to all marinas but it is something to keep in mind and may help a little with water quality issues.

Being sure to use a "known clean" potable water rated hose helps too.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:48 PM   #4
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We sanitize our system with bleach at the beginning of each season. One cup bleach per 60 gallons of water. Fill tanks with this solution and pressurize system. Run each faucet, shower, etc until you smell the bleach. Let stand for 3-4 hours (with pump on to maintain pressure in system). Drain tank through all faucets and refill tank. Run all faucets to drain tanks again. Refill and you will be good to go. Then just be sure you "cycle" the water regularly (use the boat!) and the system should be fine for quite some time.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:12 PM   #5
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Take a look at cleantabs.co.uk
They make a product called Puriclean that is designed to clean water systems. That's what I used last time I cleaned my water system. It uses a different chemical than Clorox that causes the slime on the walls of the tank and hoses to release and get flushed away.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:14 PM   #6
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MCA Regulation M1214 Prevent Contamination of Ships Fresh Water Storage
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:17 PM   #7
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The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated.

Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete. Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of ice—the bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded…bleach does absolutely nothing to improve the flavor of good Scotch!

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup (2 oz or 25 ml) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5% sodium Hypochlorite solution ). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity. (Those are the “official” directions. They work out to 1 quart or litre of bleach/50 gallons of water , which is MUCH easier to calculate!)

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days by vessel motion.

6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by filing the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:18 AM   #8
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I do basically what Peggy suggests. With tank near empty, put in a bleach solution about her recommended strength, then run through each spigot and let sit for some hours. Then let pump run tank dry. Then open hatch on top of tank and clean interior of tank completely. Fill partially with fresh water and pump through all the spigots. Drain water heater. Then fill tank. Purge air out of water heater.

With the hatch on top of the tank, I can clean it spotless. With this feature I have no problem using tank water for drinking and coffee.

If boat is going to sit with little use, I put a splash of bleach in it and let it sit that way. Keeps anything from growing in there. At that point, no drinking til it is cleaned out again.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:43 AM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr. ig. I followed Ms. HM's advice up to #4 but didn't use the house pump to empty the tank. I purchased a sump pump, took the top off and drained it out a port. Took 45 minutes. (550 gallons). Refilled, ran the refill water through the system, drained again and refilled with appropriate dosing of bleach.
Seems to be OK in my case.
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:10 AM   #10
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Safe Drinking Water. Does bleach work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadMistress View Post
The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated.

Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete. Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of ice—the bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded…bleach does absolutely nothing to improve the flavor of good Scotch!

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup (2 oz or 25 ml) Clorox or Purex household bleach (5% sodium Hypochlorite solution ). With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity. (Those are the “official” directions. They work out to 1 quart or litre of bleach/50 gallons of water , which is MUCH easier to calculate!)

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days by vessel motion.

6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by filing the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.
At the risk of upsetting a few people here, I do have to speak up.

First, I wouldn't do this if you have aluminum water tanks. Chlorine is incredibly corrosive to aluminum tanks. Bleach also contains a small amount of NaOH, which is also very corrosive to Aluminum. Try putting some aluminum foil in a bucket of bleach and water overnight and see what happens to it and what is this bleach solution going to do to your through hulls?

This treatment will kill everything in your tanks (except perhaps Giardia) but it calls for a very high concentration of bleach. Chlorine is incredibly lethal to fish and invertebrate life and in this instance, better to get away with less if possible. This paper suggests you can get away with less...

http://www.swcc.gov.sa/files%5Casset...PLANTS...5.pdf

"Combined low concentrations of copper (5 μg/l and chlorine (50,μg/l have been effective in preventing both micro and macro-fouling in over 120 seawater installations since 1987. This paper will outline the development of the technology, and demonstrate how it can be applied to the desalination industry. Recent trials with a copper/chlorine dosing unit on a reverse osmosis RO) test rig in the Gulf will be discussed."

By comparison, 1 litre of household bleach in 50 USG or 190 litres of water would contain 132,000 μg/l of Chlorine:
Bleach is a solution of 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite which is 48% chlorine by weight.
There is 52.5g of Sodium Hypochlorite in a litre of bleach which is 48% chlorine, or 25 grams.
50 USG = 190 litres.
25 g of Chlorine in on litre/ 190 litres = 0.132 g/l or, 132,000 μg/l.

That's a lot more than 50 μg/l. I'm not suggesting 50 μg/l is the correct amount, but a concentration that is 2,600 x greater seems like an awful lot to me. And while 132,000 μg/l is set by the code referenced above, I wonder what the DFO would say about me pouring 2 gallons of bleach in a salmon bearing slough where I tie up (Fraser River). 2 gallons is what I would need to treat my 350 gallons of tankage. The local effects of that much chlorine is concerning to this fisheries biologist.

I make beer and my primary fermenter carboys get a very tenacious ring of scum that is a buildup of dead yeast, proteins and hop residue. I blast this with bleach solution with a concentration similar to the water tank treatment described by the Head Mistress and it falls away in 3-4 hours. I'd be surprised if there is a residue in my water tanks that approaches the residue on my carboys. BTW, I use and reuse this bleach solution.


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Old 03-30-2015, 01:35 PM   #11
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I should add that the water could be dechlorinated with a similar amount of Sodium Bisulphite.


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Old 03-30-2015, 01:48 PM   #12
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One key, especially when a boat has been sitting for a long period and the quality is unknown, is to continue flushing the system until you're sure the water is ok. It may take once, it may take 5 times. Definitely don't just add bleach and think you're ok without flushing.
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