At home, we drink from our under-sink Reverse Osmosis filtered water. Kinda like watermaker juice for you cruiser types. I've been refilling and storing Crystal Geyser gallon water bottles for 25+/- gallons of drinking water. We keep them in Plano boxes aboard in the laz/ER and in cabinets.
I've been doing this since pretty much since I've owned my boat, rotating the stock as we went. At first, I kept her in the delta with water that smelled of sulfur. We didn't even drink the tap water at the marina restaurant but loved the food.
Now I'm at a city marina that is well rated. You guys have convinced me to try using the tank H2O and stop schlepping the refilled water jugs back to FW.
I sure hope it turns out well for me. If I have a problem, I'll post....or maybe not....depending on how bad it is.
Wish me luck...
__________________ My boat is my ark. It's my mobile treehouse and my floating fishing cabin. It's my retreat and my respite. Everyday I thank God I have a boat! -Al FJB
Fresh water system problems--foul odor or taste--are typically caused by allowing water to stagnate in the system. Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water. Many people—and even some boat manufacturers—believe that keeping the tanks empty reduce the problem, but an empty water tank only provides another damp dark home for those “critters—which, by the way, do not include algae; algae need light.
There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water fresh, but unless your water does not come from a municipal treated water supply, all that’s really necessary is an annual--or in especially warm climates, semi-annual--recommissioning of the entire system--tank and plumbing. 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.
1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup/25 ml Clorox or Purex household bleach (5-7% sodium hypochlorite solution ). . With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity . (Or do it a much easier way: Use 1 quart/liter of bleach/50 gal water tank capacity. Put few gallons of water in the tank, then add the bleach.
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. 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. And yes, it IS necessary to drain through the faucets to flush all the molds etc. out of the plumbing.
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
6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.
People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission aluminum tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, its effects are are cumulative. So the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock treatment" that only leaves bleach in the system for a few hours is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding chlorinated city water in the tank for years....or worse yet, adding a little bleach to each fill. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to mix the total amount of bleach in a few gallons of water before putting it into either a stainless or aluminum tank.
An annual or semi-annual recommissioning according to the above directions is all that should be necessary to keep your water tasting and smelling as good as anything that comes out of any faucet on land. If you need to improve on that, install a water filter. Just remember that a filter is not a substitute for cleaning out the system, and that filters require regular inspection and cleaning or replacement.
Shouldn't it be a quart per 80 gals? (4x4=16x5=80).
We turn the water over in our tanks (200gal) about every 6 weeks so its fairly fresh, but it still has a bit of taste we don't like. Since our boat is kept on a mooring its a bit of a pain to bring bottled water to the boat - especially when loading up for long trips. So this year we've installed to a General Ecology high tech point of use filter.
We’ve been liveaboards for going on three years. We’ve always been drinking from the tanks without any treatments. We run through ~20 gallons/day so we get a good turn over on our ~280 gallon tankage. We do run drinking water through a PuR pitcher to remove any funky taste we may get from various municipal water fill points. Watermaker water tastes great though.
We are Headmistress Disciples and have had no issues on our KK42. I installed a 5 micron filter on the cold water side of the galley sink and that is our only drinking water. Our shorelines are littered with empty water bottles - we don't drink bottled water ever.
We do the Headmistress treatment as well. The PO installed a UV, pleated filter and Carbon filter, 5 micron. And we drink the water. As good as spring water.
Originally Posted by boomerang
Who said anything about throwing their empty's overboard??? I see beer cans & all other kinds of containers on the shoreline sometimes too. I'm not going to stop drinking them just because of a few inconsiderate boaters.
We are gone for 3-4 month intervals. The last thing I need to deal with is bringing flats and flats of bottled water aboard and figuring out where to store it all. I have enough difficulty provisioning the necessary beer for the trip.
Oops...you're right. A typo in my reply to DCMonk. Fortunately it's correct in the instructions...or maybe it isn't. 'Cuz now I'm not sure where the typo is...in my reply to him or in the instructions--whether it should have been 1/2 cup/4 oz.
I first found the instructions in the owners manual for a 1985 34' Sea Ray Sundancer my late husband and I bought in 1989 and saved 'em to my files. That was several computers and at least three MS Office versions ago and a lot of copy/pasting since. And I don't even remember who told me it works out to 1 qt bleach/50 gal water tank capacity, but it's what I've used successfully without harm to the system for 25 years...and 1/2 cup/4 oz-5 gal water does come out a lot closer to that than 1/4 cup does.
To expand on the water tank thread...
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, it'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!
Once the tank is disinfected, there's no need to routinely disinfect it other than perhaps an annual preventive shock.
Which is exactly what I've recommended--and done-- for decades.
So *keeping* tanks suitable for domestic use simply involves filling them with clean water and using it!
The recommissioning process I found a few decades ago doesn't deal only with the tank, but also with the plumbing. It's not meant to purify water in the tank...as you noted that's rarely necessary. But--as made clear in the instructions, " 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 (and quite a few boats do leave the country and can take on questionable water)...iow, RECOMMISION the entire system including the plumbing, which just treating the water in the tank can't do. However, fresh water plumbing can grow a whole bunch of molds, fungi and non-pathogenic bacteria that make the water taste and smell "funky" but are harmless. Recommissioning gets rid of 'em.
IIRC, if you want to shorted the disinfection time to 3 hours, then you need about 200ppm. That gets back to the initial 1 quart/50gal household bleach that was mentioned above. If my math is correct, that gives you about 262 ppm.
I do think that there is definitely a place for adding bleach to the tanks on filling depending on your water use. During the summer months when we are using the boat a lot more, and taking more showers, we go through the tanks pretty quickly. During the winter months we don’t go through the water as quickly. Then I will add bleach to the tanks to keep the level of free chlorine up.
In my area, the level of free chlorine at the tap ranges from .05 to .3 ppm. Not sure what it is at the end of the marina dock, but likely less as the water sits longer. I typically add 1 tsp bleach to about 50+ gal of water. This adds roughly 1.3 ppm, so if you add another .2 ppm from the tap, then that is still only 1.5 ppm to begin with. Over time, the concentration will decrease.
Why do you see a problem with the chlorine level decreasing? The chlorine has already done its job and killed any bacteria in the tank. It's not like a swimming pool where contaminants are added constantly, and free chlorine is required all the time.
No need to add more chlorine to your drinking water unless you add more bacteria.