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Old 09-05-2017, 09:12 AM   #1
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Water Purification?

Hi to all,
Well we finally got moved aboard full time (Yea!).
The question we have is what others do for water purification. We have two stainless 125 gal water tanks and when I brought the boat down a year ago, I ran bleach through them twice. I put in a carbon filter and we fill up with city water( which I know is OK). My co-captain is concerned and says it tastes strange and I appreciate this because she can smell an taste better than any one I know.
Do you use any kind of purification tablets or anything else to keep the water safe?

Thank you
Gordo
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:34 AM   #2
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Gordon

The tank water should be fine for washing. For immediate "help" get a 5 gallon jerry and keep it filled with fresh water off docks and refill a one gallon jug from the jerry for drinking water.

You can try out a few of the Carbon Filtering systems as time goes on, starting with the simplest as you have done. But first, there are several odor reducing tricks for the tanks that Peggy writes about, buy her book. Have you completely drained, flushed, bleached and re-filled your tanks ER Peggy's instructions?
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:39 AM   #3
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Do a blind test of the city water vs the boat water. Florida water quality can be hit and miss since it's mostly well water that the city treats and aireates.
There's always bottled water but hauling it and storing it on a boat can get old fast.
You can try filtration on your potable water hose when filling your tanks. Rv Centers or Campers World has many types of hose filters. Also use a white pvc potable water hose, drain it after use and keep the ends off the dock, store coiled with the male/female ends connected to avoid contamination.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:30 AM   #4
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I spent the bulk of my working career as a Master Plumber, I received
certification for Water Quality Ass'n training in water treatment, so
I've seen my share of ugly water. Still, I find it unusual and a bit
amusing that most folks will drink water from a tap without giving it a
second thought - it comes out of a spigot, it's OK. BUT.... Same water
goes to the hose bibb on the dock, and into a tank on their boat, and
suddenly, it's contaminated with everything from plague to festering
bacteria. Or just funky!

I've seen posts where folks describe pouring *gallons* of Clorox into
their tanks to sterilize them; some boaters refuse to drink the water
from their tanks for fear of contracting some dread bacterial infection
so instead, schlepp gallons of water in 12 oz bottles aboard and deal
with the storage and trash in order to be "safe". There is a lot of
misconception regarding water on board, and there's plenty of
misinformation out there that helps fuel the fire (and sell product!)

You absolutely can get sick from ingesting contaminated water, girardia,
coliform; those and a host of other bacterial & viral agents can be
present in water, and they *can* make you ill. The good news is, they're
relatively fragile, and rudimentary measures are proven effective at
eliminating potential contamination. Additionally, the bulk of the water
available to us comes from municipal water supplies; they are required
by Fed & State law to provide water that meets standards of potability,
and there are very few water suppliers who do not maintain rigorous
procedures to insure those standards are met. Water quality is the first
line of defense in maintaining public health, and those involved in that
endeavor take pride in their part of that process. We take for granted
that the water delivered to our tap is of good quality, and that's a
relatively safe assumption. Stories of sickness as a result of
contaminated public water supplies are almost nonexistent. With that in
mind, we can safely presume that public water we tank is pathogen-free.
(Oh, yes, I saw the story about brain-eating amoeba in a fire hydrant,
so dogs pee on them too. You drink from a fire hydrant? Click bait!)

Water that starts off clean doesn't spontaneously "go bad" nor can it
mysteriously become infested with bacteria- without a source for that
contamination. For all intents, clean water put into a clean tank and a
clean system will stay that way. Indefinitely. There's no real need to
continue to disinfect water that's already disinfected, although public
water contains an amount of "free chlorine" that is available to
disinfect additional contamination that may be encountered beyond the
initial disinfection. So given those parameters, we really need only to
insure that our on board system is clean. To do that, we can perform an
initial disinfection. Initial is key, provided we accept the premise
that clean water stays clean.

To disinfect a system, a basic rule of thumb to shock disinfect with
chlorine indicates we need to bring the chlorine concentration to about
50 ppm. Clorox contains 5.25% chlorine, so do a bit of math.

For a 100 gallon tank, multiply 100gal. x 50 ppm -> 100 X (50/1,000,000)
= .005 gal.
So we need to add .005 gal of chlorine.
Household bleach (Clorox) is typically 5.25% chlorine, so 1 gallon of
Clorox = 0.0525 gallon of chlorine.
For our 100 gallon system, .005gal/0.0525= 0.09524 gallons of bleach.
That converts to ~ 12 oz. So, 1-1/2 cup of Clorox is needed to create a
concentration of 50 ppm in 100 gal.
Contact time for a 50 ppm concentration is 6 hrs. For 24 hrs. contact
time, the concentration can be reduced to 10 ppm, or for 100 gal. tank,
a dose of 4 oz. Clorox.

These are conservative concentrations, meaning they're already
overkill. More isn't necessarily better - enough is enough! Higher
concentrations won't make the bugs more dead, they'll only complicate
the flushing and rinsing of the system. Once the tank is disinfected, it
should be flushed & rinsed with clean water, then it's ready to use. A
carbon taste & odor filter installed in the main supply line downstream
of the pump will remove any remaining chlorine taste, and help with
keeping the water fresh tasting and enable you to dispense with the
plastic bottles. Once the tank is disinfected, there's no need to
routinely disinfect it other than perhaps an annual preventive shock.
So *keeping* tanks suitable for domestic use simply involves filling
them with clean water and using it!

Hope that helps! Drink tank water! <G>
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:51 AM   #5
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Steve, thank you very much for that great post. It's members like you with your huge amount of knowledge about a topic that keep many of us who spend our lives in the dark coming to TF.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:01 AM   #6
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Steve, Thank you.

Just 2-weeks ago I convinced my wife that tank water is safe. I was in Walmart and spotted a new type of Brita filter that filters as you pour from it. It eliminates any chlorine taste and it is fast. I believe it is called a Brita "Stream." After 2-weeks of drinking tank water we are both still healthy. BTW we are liveaboards and our 2 dogs have been drinking tank water for 6-years and they seem fine as well.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:13 AM   #7
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A 10" carbon taste & odor filter lasts us six months. Does a great job of keeping our water taste consistent. That's helpful since as full time cruisers, we are taking on water from all sorts of locations, the taste can go south quickly! The filter takes care of it.
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Old 09-05-2017, 06:50 PM   #8
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Thank you

Thanks for all the great info. We will continue worry free.

Gordo.
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:11 PM   #9
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If you're on dock water, why use the tanks at all?
For those worried about drinking tank water, I'm near 70 and have been drinking from ship and boat tanks since I was 7. No health problems. Just old.
Tanks always become contaminated unless receiving water with chlorine or chlorine is added. A cheap pool test kit can measure chlorine in the water. The one I use was $5 on Amazon. I add chlorine to just show on the bottom of the scale.
I have a set of filters after the tanks that remove any adverse taste. No dock water since 2011.
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Old 09-05-2017, 07:27 PM   #10
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The Oregon Dept of Health has a handy Excel spreadsheet for calculating the 6 hour and 24 hour concentration of chlorine for shock disinfection. Pretty handy.

I am interested in knowing what the concentration would be for 3 hour contact time. At times it would be more convenient than 6 or 24.

I tend to do this once a year in the spring. I am sure that it is completely unnecessary but it it helps placate my wife.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
If you're on dock water, why use the tanks at all?
As a live aboard I use the tanks all the time for two reasons.

1. To make sure the water in the tanks are routinely refreshed

2. To ensure I never fill the boat up with city water due to line or valve failure.

Marty........................
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:51 PM   #12
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maerin View Post
I find it unusual and a bit amusing that most folks will drink water from a tap without giving it a second thought - it comes out of a spigot, it's OK. BUT.... Same water goes to the hose bibb on the dock, and into a tank on their boat, and suddenly, it's contaminated with everything from plague to festering bacteria. Or just funky!
This.^^^^^^^
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartySchwartz View Post
As a live aboard I use the tanks all the time for two reasons.

1. To make sure the water in the tanks are routinely refreshed
2. To ensure I never fill the boat up with city water due to line or valve failure.
Marty........................
Same here. I never hook the boat directly to dock water, mostly because I don't want a water pressure surge to open a water connection on my boat and fill it.

I have a water filter that I bought at Walmart. It goes inline downstream from the hose I use to fill the boat. No water taste in our tank water, so it must be doing some good.

I also chlorinate the entire water system in the spring when de-winterizing. I put in a cup or so of bleach in our tank, open each faucet one at a time to make sure the bleach water goes throughout the system, then let it sit for a day. Then I flush out the whole system and fill it with the filtered water. Never any chlorine taste, no smells, no bad taste.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:27 PM   #15
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Here is what I have been doing for about 2 years. I was spending about $20 a week on counter top pitcher filters. I have not bought a filter since. These units are what the missionaries use to filter river water. Also filters out chlorine, arsenic, cyst and all bacteria.
I plumed it from the bridge to a bar dedicated faucet. All through mouth comes from it.
I will be evacuating my boat Saturday. This filter is going with me. We will have a swimming pool full of water if the Hurricane shuts down the water system.

Big Berkey Water Filters - Largest Dealer Of Berkey Products
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:16 PM   #16
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We use the Big Berkey too and cannot recommend it highly enough.

I "GET" the whole concern for the water system failure line of reasoning but seriously. Who among you has a bilge pump incapable of keeping up with the output from a garden hose?
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:42 PM   #17
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I would add, use a dedicated "drinking water safe" hose to fill your tanks and never leave it lying around for others to borrow to rinse out their holding tanks. Best to reserve it only for drinking water and have another hose for other purposes.

Run the dock water through the hose for s few minutes before using it to fill your tanks.

If the water is suspect, don't fill your tanks with it unless you have no other choice. You can add a bit of unscented chlorine bleach if the water is not already chlorinated.

If you feel the need to filter the water for your entire boat, why not install it in the hose from the dock so you don't put "stuff" in the tanks in the first place?
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #18
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......... Who among you has a bilge pump incapable of keeping up with the output from a garden hose?
For how long? And do you really want to trust your boat to a $29 bilge pump?

You have the opportunity to not put your boat at risk. Why not take it?
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:57 PM   #19
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For how long? And do you really want to trust your boat to a $29 bilge pump?
No, but I will trust my boat to 4 x $300 bilge pumps with a 12000gph total capacity.

I am surprised you only have one little cheapy.
You have the opportunity to not put your boat at risk. Why not take it? (see what I did there)
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:02 PM   #20
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No, but I will trust my boat to 4 x $300 bilge pumps with a 12000gph total capacity.

I am surprised you only have one little cheapy.


Exactly

And I'm talking primarily to the liveaboard crowd, not the part timer that may not see his boat for 2-8 weeks at a time.
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