Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-16-2016, 05:16 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
City: Rock Island, IL
Country: USA
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 37
Testing Drinking Water for Bacteria

Is there a test kit available for testing your on-board water for bacteria? I researched the forum best I could and found a lot of info on using filters for solid contaminates but not much on testing for bacteria; except to maybe add chlorine.

I'm looking for a way to cut back on the amount of bottled water we take along for drinking and cooking. Does anyone have an alternative to all those gallon bottles of water?

I was thinking if I could test the water after filling our tanks at the different locations we could save our bottled water for when the potable water is not the safest for drinking.

Is a watermaker our only alternative?

Thanks for any insight!
__________________
Advertisement

sammy999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 05:24 PM   #2
Guru
 
City: Melbourne, FL
Country: USA
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 918
Home Depot carries water test kits where you collect a sample and send it off to be analyzed. Should be the same way that you do with home drinking water.

I have a 5 stage RO filter but that wouldn't pass enough water to refill your tanks in a reasonable amount of time. I think it filters about 75 gallons a day tops. If you're in fresh water, an RO filter and a pressure pump would work. Just pick up fresh water and use the pressure pump to force it through the RO filter and the output goes in your capture pressure tank and the waste goes back overboard. That would be a cheap $250 or so water-maker solution. The 5th stage is UV to kill any bacteria, although I don't know in what order each stage is processed.

Stu
__________________

stubones99 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 05:27 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
jwnall's Avatar
 
City: St. Marks, Florida
Country: US
Vessel Name: Morgan
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 36
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 3,621
Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy999 View Post
I researched the forum best I could and found a lot of info on using filters for solid contaminates but not much on testing for bacteria; except to maybe add chlorine.
Most cruisers just add chlorine (bleach). Personally, I don't use the freshwater tanks for drinking, though. Bringing along some bottled water really doesn't really take up all that much space. Cooking with the freshwater tanks is fine, IMO (assuming the chlorine).
__________________
John
jwnall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 06:19 PM   #4
Veteran Member
 
AKMary's Avatar
 
City: Poulsbo
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Kingfisher
Vessel Model: 1974 Original Meridian Yachts Pilothouse 48
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 45
Since I only ever put municipal/treated water in my tanks, I have no concerns about drinking it. I understand that doesn't mean I can't get stuff growing in there, but I'm pretty careful about it.

That said, I do like to filter the water for taste and for years have been using a Brita water pitcher that I keep topped off & in the fridge. These home use filter products remove chemicals, pharmaceuticals & bacteria (levels vary).

Because I'm tired of constantly refilling the pitcher, especially when I have guests, I recently switched to a PUR 18 Cup Dispenser that sits on my counter next to the sink. Amazon sells them for less than $30.


I don't change the filter anywhere near as often as they say you should. The water tastes great, guests like it and it's a cheap & easy solution for me.
AKMary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 06:58 PM   #5
Guru
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1,291
I Clorox my tanks and use Seagul filter SX for potable water. The chorine kills and the filter removes chlorine and protozoa and bacteria. The down side is that the volume of flow from the filter is low but it fills cups and pots fine.
eyschulman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 07:15 PM   #6
Guru
 
HopCar's Avatar


 
City: Miami Florida
Vessel Name: Possum
Vessel Model: Ellis 28
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,494
I think you would need to look at the water through a microscope to see the bacteria.
__________________
Parks Masterson
www.hopkins-carter.com
HopCar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 11:20 PM   #7
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,129
There are many do it yourself test kits for e-coli and total coliforms. As to their accuracy and completeness I am not all that confident. I do think they are better than nothing and give some indication. If they turn purple, I wouldn't drink it. For a complete test though you need to put the cultures on slides and let them grow and look under a microscope.
BandB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 11:22 PM   #8
Dauntless Award
 
Wxx3's Avatar
 
City: New York, NY
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dauntless
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 - 148
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,312
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I think you would need to look at the water through a microscope to see the bacteria.
Put the inside of your elbow under the same microscope and you will see millions of bacteria.

Yes, millions.

In fact, they cover much of our skin and are necessary for healthy skin.
__________________
M/Y Dauntless, New York
a Kadey Krogen 42 Currently https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Blog: https://dauntlessatsea.com
Find us: https://share.delorme.com/dauntless
Wxx3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2016, 11:53 PM   #9
Guru
 
Giggitoni's Avatar
 
City: Vallejo, California
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Mahalo Moi
Vessel Model: 1986 Grand Banks 42 Classic
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,532
Check the listings in your local town for environmental testing laboratories. Checking for drinking water standards is time tested, cheap, and easy for a competent certified lab. The lab will provide the necessary sampling containers.

I have aluminum fresh water tanks and had my local lab test for Cam 7 metals along with drinking water standards. Our water tested fine for bacteria and other drinking water contaminants but high for aluminum. We drink bottled water...
__________________
Ray
"Mahalo Moi"
1986 GB-42 Classic
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑβΕ
Giggitoni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 01:28 AM   #10
Guru
 
AusCan's Avatar
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Kokanee
Vessel Model: Cuddles 30 Pilot House Motor Sailer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,093
We drink water direct from our 30 year old tanks without filtration. It tastes fine to me.
AusCan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 02:22 AM   #11
Guru
 
BruceK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,561
Overly cautious? We get used to what is in our local water. Visit urbanized parts of Asia,eg Philippines, you find the locals drink the water with impunity but a visiting "local" living overseas will be affected, as will a visitor, from say Australia, and need to obtain purified water which is readily available and seems reliable.
But, as a precaution we don`t drink water from our tanks,though we probably could, it looks and smells fine. We refill 10L "Spring" water containers with "tap" to take onboard and take a supply of tap water from home for the espresso machine.
Not sure why we don`t refill at the marina, habit I guess, and the fact that at one Hawkesbury river marina(D`Albora in Akuna Bay) the tap water was yellowish in color.
__________________
BruceK
Island Gypsy 36 Europa "Doriana"
Sydney Australia
BruceK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 06:05 AM   #12
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,517
The Jimmy Carter test is to drink the water ,

and if you observe monster sized rabbits attacking your boat , get new water.
FF is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 07:04 AM   #13
Guru
 
Capt.Bill11's Avatar
 
City: Sarasota/Ft. Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 5,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy999 View Post
Is there a test kit available for testing your on-board water for bacteria? I researched the forum best I could and found a lot of info on using filters for solid contaminates but not much on testing for bacteria; except to maybe add chlorine.

I'm looking for a way to cut back on the amount of bottled water we take along for drinking and cooking. Does anyone have an alternative to all those gallon bottles of water?

I was thinking if I could test the water after filling our tanks at the different locations we could save our bottled water for when the potable water is not the safest for drinking.

Is a watermaker our only alternative?

Thanks for any insight!
Get an under counter RO system. Or just a good under counter filter. In reality a lot of bottle water isn't much better than your average US tap water.

It's pretty rare that some one get sick from boat water. But if you're paranoid about it, get a point of use UV light or a whole house size copper/silver ionizer.
Capt.Bill11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 07:48 AM   #14
Guru
 
City: Carefree, Arizona
Country: usa
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,360
Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy999 View Post
Does anyone have an alternative to all those gallon bottles of water? !
Our cruising grounds have been the PNW for the past ten years. No shortage of good dock water. We preach water conservation when guests and family onboard.

We carry two five gallon jugs of good dock water for drinking. Bottled water is carried but not often used. We also bleach our tanks several times a month. Every spring a thorough rinse and bleaching is done. With 400 gallons of onboard storage RO is not necessary for first two weeks. Even when offshore or remote cruising we do fine this way.

But in Mexico, Latin America, Bahamas etc a water maker seems a must.
sunchaser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 08:15 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
City: Houma, Louisiana
Country: USA
Vessel Name: M/V LUNASEA
Vessel Model: 45ft Bluewater Coastal
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 405
Camping World has a number of products that will keep your tanks fresh
kartracer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 09:11 AM   #16
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
I think that if you put only "known good" water in your tanks and use a drinking water safe hose that's used for no other purpose and kept secured when not in use so your slip neighbors won't use it to rinse their holding tanks, you will be just fine. Let the water run for several minutes before filling the tanks.


City water is tested on a regular basis and treated as necessary. If you have to use well water, add an ounce of chlorine bleach (unscented).


We have been drinking our "boat water" for many years without problems. WE often fill water bottles from the boat's system just because we can keep the water in the refrigerator and it's more convenient than glasses or cups.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 10:33 AM   #17
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,129
Whether home or on a boat, we drink only bottled water.

Still, that doesn't mean we aren't careful about the rest of the water. The second most risk one has to bacteria is in the shower. There it is a small percentage of risk from the water source, but even larger from bacteria in the shower head, especially on one that goes through periods of non use. They need to be removed, disassembled, thoroughly soaked and cleaned periodically.
BandB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 11:30 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Puffin_NT32's Avatar
 
City: Watch Hill RI
Vessel Name: Puffin
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 32/34
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 104
Sammy999,

I installed a whole-house filter (Home Depot) before the fresh water pump. Since we usually tank up from treated town water (some chlorine and fluoride), I use charcoal filter elements. I also use a Brita filter pitcher for drinking water. That should cut down on the bottled water.
Puffin_NT32 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 12:14 PM   #19
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Whether home or on a boat, we drink only bottled water. ..........
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.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #20
Guru
 
kthoennes's Avatar
 
City: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Xanadu
Vessel Model: Mainship 37 Motor Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 857
We do use bottled water for drinking on the boat , but we use the tank water for everything else. I'm not too fussy but I've just watched way too many boaters stick the fresh water hose down the waste inlets to rinse out the holding tanks during pumpout.
__________________

kthoennes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012