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Old 01-17-2016, 12:38 PM   #21
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After I graduated High School I spent a summer in the jungle in Venezuela where my father was an engineer on a hydroelectric dam project. There was a large town for all the construction workers to live in, since the nearest civilization was two hours away. The Americans and other European workers all had bottled water brought in. The Venezuelans used tap water that came from the river. Someone got the bright idea to have the bottled water tested. It tested the same as the river water. The company was filling the bottles right from the river. They had been using the water for three years before the test, and nobody had gotten sick. Maybe we're worrying too much. That's not to say there isn't bad water out there, much of it coming from our own municipal water systems.
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:46 PM   #22
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Why? When I was growing up, bottled water hadn't been invented yet. We all drank city water if we lived in the city and well water if we didn't. We did just fine. My wife grew up on well water and both of us drank it for over twenty years until we retired and moved to a home (and marina) with city water.

I suspect bottle water has been promoted solely for the financial interests of the companies selling it. If you read the labels, much of the bottled water originates from a city water system somewhere. If nothing else, bottled water causes a lot of unnecessary plastic bottles to be produced, used once, and thrown out contributing to pollution and the filling up of landfill space.
First, as to the bottles. Nearly all the plastic bottles from bottled water are recyclable and a huge percentage of them are recycled plastic.

As to the water, when you were young the water quality was much different than today. I've read the water reports of the areas I've lived with the good and the bad. I also know my bottled water originates from city water but is then further treated.

If I only drank occasional water, I'd probably do differently, but water is what we drink almost exclusively. So taste and quality are both very important. We each average about 6 x 16 oz. bottles per day. We drink no tea, coffee, or soft drinks.

I don't know the water in your city, but do in mine and did in my previous home. As to water along the way, I don't know.

But that brings us to one more point. Let's assume the city water is excellent. That says nothing of the miles and miles of decaying pipes running underground to get it from the source to your home. It also doesn't speak to the quality of the pipes from there to your faucets in your home. And it most definitely does not speak to the delivery of the water to the marina locations or of the piping from the road to the marina, to the docks and to your boat. There are a tremendous number of places for the quality and safety to be broken down. The water at your home faucet or reaching your water tank in your boat is far different than the water produced by the city at their plant. It is also less safe, varying by degree in different circumstances. Bottled water doesn't start with safer water, but it does have a safer delivery method in most situations. Now, I'm only referring to bottled city water, not to spring water. Bottled spring water is decidedly less safe than bottled city water.

Most of you drink boiled water (coffee and tea) and factory processed water (soft drinks, beer, juice) for the majority of your water consumption. The average person only drinks a couple of glasses a day of plain water. We each drink 12 a day.

And we have out of curiosity done testing on our own. Part of this grew up out of observation living on the lake where many homes and businesses did not have enough land to have their septic tank and well adequately separated. We've seen some very bad water test results that clearly indicated contamination along the way. This had nothing to do with the quality of the city water.

I would drink water from our watermaker long before I would drink water from a marina. I've had control of it and it's treatment. I don't know anything about the marina water.

I'm not asking anyone to change what they're doing. But we are very comfortable with our choice and will stick with it.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:22 PM   #23
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In order to answer your question- No there is not a self administered bacterial test for the water on your boat that you can do from various locations unless you wish to invest in some lab equipment. Typical bact-t tests require submission to an approved lab within 36 hrs. of collecting the sample. At that point the lab will incubate the sample for 24 hours then scan for coliforms.

For all that say their water looks or tastes fine, that is great but it has noting to do with the potential of bacteria present.

One of the reasons most municipal systems use chlorine as an agent in killing bacteria is that it leaves a residual amount of chlorine after it has killed the bacteria. This residual amount of chlorine can easily be tested on board, in the field , or anywhere along the distribution lines. If the chlorine is present there is no bacteria. Easy test time proven results. Hach Company makes a total chlorine test kit for about $40.00 bucks.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:40 PM   #24
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Like I wrote in post #9 above, it's not the lack of bacteria in drinking water test results that give us the green light to drink from our boat tanks. In our case it's the aluminum tanks which taint our water with levels of dissolved aluminum that are higher than accepted National Drinking Water Standards. That's why we have chosen to drink bottled water on the boat. My recommendation: Sample the water from your boat tap and have a certified laboratory analyze it for metals along with other parameters for safe drinking water. Then make your decision.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:30 PM   #25
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Like I wrote in post #9 above, it's not the lack of bacteria in drinking water test results that give us the green light to drink from our boat tanks. In our case it's the aluminum tanks which taint our water with levels of dissolved aluminum that are higher than accepted National Drinking Water Standards. That's why we have chosen to drink bottled water on the boat. My recommendation: Sample the water from your boat tap and have a certified laboratory analyze it for metals along with other parameters for safe drinking water. Then make your decision.
Which I omitted but is just one more part of that chain from the city water supply to your faucet. Buy a home where the water has been off a while and just look at what comes through when it's turned back on. Or watch when they clean the lines at the street. There are some cities today with water lines that are really in bad shape. Most of the water infrastructures in the US are meeting the end of their useful life. Chicago has a lead issue. Look at Toledo, Flint and Detroit. D. C. has a lead issue. L. A.'s water pipes are rusting out. Atlanta's problem isn't the source but the poorly maintained distribution system. Then you toss in the hoses to and on your boat and the tanks. No thanks.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:52 PM   #26
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Reality....it is often more about the person than the water.


Water is just like food, chemicals, drugs, allergies, etc...etc...


Some of us can drink somewhere close to sewage and be fine....others not so much.


People are gonna eat and drink whatever they want, feel is going to make them happy or live longer.


But generally...genetics makes you live longer probably as much as anything...other stuff only to a point but some need to be careful to make it as long as they think they can.
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:16 PM   #27
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Water is the universal solvent. Sooner or later everything will pass through the water cycle. Presently the water systems that I maintain test for over 280 potential contaminants. Bacteria was the question in the OP but yes, metals, Volitale Organic compounds (VOC) Inorganics, radiological, nitrates and a host of others including chemicals that are produced as byproducts of the water treatment processes. Most of your municipal systems are maintained to the water meter at the consumer ends so yes the pipes should be tested and maintained also. Most of the lead or copper problems that are mentioned above are primarily due to household plumbing old lead pipes, copper and bronze fittings etc.. coupled with water that may have a ph problem and is corrosive. At that point the system should be treating with a ph adjustment.
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:40 PM   #28
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Most of the lead or copper problems that are mentioned above are primarily due to household plumbing old lead pipes, copper and bronze fittings etc.. coupled with water that may have a ph problem and is corrosive. At that point the system should be treating with a ph adjustment.
A lot of them are household, but a lot are a breakdown of the municipal systems.
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:40 PM   #29
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Most of your municipal systems are maintained to the water meter at the consumer ends so yes the pipes should be tested and maintained also.
In our town, My water is tested every 3 months, at our faucets. Somehow we got into a municipal testing program and every 3 months draw a sample for the town. They send us a full analysis after the testing. As a bonus, they pay us $50 a test as we're pretty reliable. We're just a random sample in a strategic location I assume. On the boat, we just run some of this tap water through a Britta and keep 3-4 gallons on the boat for coffee and drinking. The rest comes from the Poly boat tanks.
Not worried about Bacteria...Our bodies need a certain amount of that to work well...:-)
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:41 PM   #30
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In our town, My water is tested every 3 months, at our faucets. Somehow we got into a municipal testing program and every 3 months draw a sample for the town. They send us a full analysis after the testing. As a bonus, they pay us $50 a test as we're pretty reliable. We're just a random sample in a strategic location I assume. On the boat, we just run some of this tap water through a Britta and keep 3-4 gallons on the boat for coffee and drinking. The rest comes from the Poly boat tanks.
That's great that they're testing like that.
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:30 PM   #31
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Lead service supply lines were common prior to 1950, these were lead based service lines from the meter to the older homes. Municipal water systems used cast iron pipe (no lead) up until the 1950's then Ductile Iron Pipe became the Norm for municipal systems. PVC started being used in the 1970's and is very common today. The breakdown of any municipal system piping would not produce any lead unless the system was perhaps insalled in the late 1800's. Asbestos /cement pipe enjoyed a brief period and can still be found in many systems today. Where found it is usually removed and replaced with pvc or ductile iron pipe.
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:33 PM   #32
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The USCG told us at the base ....asbestos ingested from the water pipes is not dangerous as opposed to being inhaled.


Any truth to that?
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:58 PM   #33
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The breakdown of any municipal system piping would not produce any lead unless the system was perhaps insalled in the late 1800's. .
I don't know when they were installed, but Chicago and DC have both had lead issues. EPA testing in Chicago identified the problem. Chicago used lead to connect houses to the water mains into the 80's. They found that when they replaced water mains they were getting spikes of lead that lasted for years, so actually part of their issues came from updating their systems. American Water in Illinois advises running the water before using for drinking or cooking to remove lead. They also suggest you may want to get your water tested and refer you to the EPA regarding that. This is all in their annual report to homeowners. To my knowledge, none of this has been resolved, is just a continuing discussion as to cause, extent of problem, and fix.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:20 PM   #34
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I'll write specifically about Fort Lauderdale's water, since that is where I live. First, the taste is bad. Over 5% of their monthly samples showed excessive Coliform bacteria. Their Peele-Dixon treatment facility is 81 years old and had issues maintaining quality. In August of last year there was a problem with E-Coli in the water so we were on boil water instructions. Water in Fort Lauderdale often appears yellowish or tea-like in color due to Tannins. They are not dangerous but create a smell and bad taste. (We do have a filtering system on our home supply).

My hometown of Charlotte NC had issues too with color and taste and occasionally with disinfection products and other things and occasionally with lead. The water sources were considered to have high contaminant and susceptibility ratings. Ours came from the Catawba River and rivers are considered the most difficult source for cities to treat.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:28 PM   #35
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Perhaps there is some confusion as to what I have said about the "lead" in drinking water. Yes, it can be found in drinking water it is primarily due to lead pipes used as service supply lines common in the 1900's. The supply lines from the municipal meter to the home. You can also find lead and copper in plumbing fixtures in the house including your nice brass and bronze items up until the 1980's. Lead and copper becomes a problem when it leaches out of that type of piping and enters your drinking water at or near the tap. It becomes a problem for the municipal system due to the corrosiveness of the water that they are supplying through the pipes. It is not a breakdown of their piping but rather a breakdown of the homeowners piping DUE TO THE PH AND CORROSIVE PROPERTIES OF THE MUNICIPAL WATER. Therefore if a system is having trouble meeting the safe drinking water act regulations they will notify through the annual consumer confidence report and ask that you run the water for a minute or two at the tap if they are known to have a problem. If your fixtures and/or service line was put in after the 1980's there should not be a problem. If the problem was in the municipal line then there would be no amount of running it to fix the problem.
There are places (Flint Michigan) that have not had a problem with lead then changed to a different water source (Flint River) that had a different PH and now the system has a problem with lead and copper due to the change in PH of source water. The wording in your consumer confidence report is the same no matter where you live, the lead warning is required on everyone's report. The trick is to look at the system lead results from the lab.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:30 PM   #36
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Years ago we were told to boil Sydney water because of the presence of giardia and cryptospridium. For weeks, it was a PITA, but we were told if you drink it without boiling, you`ll get sick. Then the State elections rolled around. Our wily State Premier worked out people wouldn`t be happy voting for him at the ballot box just after spending time boiling and cooling water to drink. Suddenly, election week, all was well,we could drink the water unboiled. And no one got sick.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:39 PM   #37
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Psneed: The asbestos Maximum Contamination Level in drinking water is set at 7 million Fibers per liter. If it goes over that then it is considered a health risk. Primarily the asbestos effects lungs through the air but it has been found drinking it at these high levels may cause intestinal cancers and polyps.

BruceK: giardia and cryptos are bad news. They are difficult to test for and are relatively large bacteria with a hard shell making chlorine less effective. Please do not get me started on Water and Politics. I was chairman of my local water authority for about 19 years and saw way too much politics involved. None of it for the best.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:24 PM   #38
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Been RV'ing boating for over a half a century. Never got sick off the water. That said, coffee a la pink is not my thing.

Cook with bottled. Everything else with tank.
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:57 AM   #39
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"First, as to the bottles. Nearly all the plastic bottles from bottled water are recyclable and a huge percentage of them are recycled plastic."

I understood recycled plastic was never used in food or drinking water .

Thought it became park bench or patio decking.

There are a couple of new business startups that are delivering drinking water in cardboard containers (think milk carton) .

Supposed to dissolve in the land fill much faster than plastic , and also dissolve in sea water .
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:32 AM   #40
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BandB, You are sounding like the head of advertising for a bottled water company. Obviously you have a right to choose to drink only bottled water, but the quantity you claim to drink would be extremely expensive. You would probably come out ahead in the long run by buying and installing some sort of purification system.

And while water bottles can be recycled, many are not. My city provides recycling service (free) and perhaps 20% of the people in my neighborhood take advantage of it (I do). That means that 80% of the water bottles are going into the landfill.

Recycling reduces landfill usage but it still uses a lot of energy and labor. It's far more environmentally favorable to not use something that's not needed than to manufacture, use and then recycle something.

I think your concerns over the safety of city water are way overblown. Millions of people drink it every day without issues.
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