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Old 07-04-2020, 01:22 AM   #1
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Water tanks and drinking from them

Ok so I'm a new trawler owner just purchased our boat 2 weeks ago and I'm curious how does everyone keep their water in their tanks potable.....I know you can add small amount of bleach and be safe but bleach only lasts so long and then the stagnant water becomes useable ....newbie lessen already learned....I have a pool my kids decided to quit using and it went green well considering the tanks in the boat hold 400 gallons of water and the water has been sitting in the tanks for 3 months i know its probably bad by now .... I did a little experiment on our green pool today ...filtered the water with a Sawyer filter first, then a zero filter and finally a berkey filter.....and still threw up twice today and feel like crap despite all 3 filters claims to take all pathogens out of the water.....I did however miscalculate bleach drops to add to the water and only added 2 drops per gallon instead of 2 drops per quart but I really had high Hope's the 3 filters would have gotten all contaminates out but as I lay in bed listening to my stomach churn i know that's not the case .....what does everyone do to their water tanks to make it safe to drink???
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:45 AM   #2
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A very small percentage of the water in most boats is drunk. On my boat, most water is used by showering, dishwashing, and toilet flushing. So, I carry gallon jugs of spring water for cooking and drinking. I consume less than a half gallon per day.

Regarding tank water, there are several threads on the forum for commissioning your water tanks. This includes enough bleach and water with a period of time for the bleach to have the proper effect. Then you flush the tank atleast a couple of times to remove the taste. For most places you will refill your tanks, the water will be municipal and contain the correct amount of chlorine to keep the water safe. Being an enclosed tank the chlorine lasts a long time. I would guess the water to be safe for months. If you're concerned that it's sat to long, empty the tanks and refill them with municipal water (which has chlorine already).

I don't like the taste of chlorine. So I installed a whole house carbon block filter which removes the smallest particles including chlorine. Cartridge is usually an annual replacement. I consider the water in my tanks perfectly safe and use it for brushing my teeth. I just prefer spring water for drinking and cooking.

Ted
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Old 07-04-2020, 06:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whgoffrn View Post
what does everyone do to their water tanks to make it safe to drink???
We drink the water.

We re-commissioned our tanks every Spring... with the standard recipe. (Search for posts by the HeadMistress, PegHall; Peggie has posted the ratio a number of times...

Then we filtered water as we fill the tanks. Two filters; first is 25m/1m household size sediment filter (with adapters to connect to garden hose threads), second is a .5m carbon block household size filter (ditto adapters).

For actual drinking water, water for coffee and the portable icemaker, etc. we kept a Pur filter pitcher on board, full, in a fridge. (Brita would be similar.) Otherwise, normal tank water was fine for cooking, teeth, etc.

We also cycled our water frequently. Seldom connected to dockside pressure water; almost always filled the tank, used the tank, filled the tank, used the tank, etc.

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Old 07-04-2020, 06:41 AM   #4
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Once the tanks and lines are reasonably disinfected, and you fill with City water or treated well water.....it should be fine with no filtering.

I have drunk 3 month old water with no I'll effects...although I did add a 2 stage water filter for the special tap used just for drinking water....but for years didn't have it.
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Old 07-04-2020, 06:53 AM   #5
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I use the ice machine all the time at the house so the water tank (1000 gallons) is filled every week. Maybe you should drain the tank if you know your not going to use it for a while. I drink it, doesn't taste bad but the wife uses bottle water.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:06 AM   #6
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We do the Peggy Hall tank cleansing every spring and make sure our water is properly—but not excessively—chlorinated. We also have a whole house charcoal filter immediately downstream of the freshwater pump. For drinking water, I plumbed in a two-stage under-sink filter that scrubs out most contaminants, including lead. Overkill for some, but we no longer worry about having healthy potable water.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:25 AM   #7
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We drink our water. We live aboard, though, and use up our 300 gallon tanks every 3 weeks or so. We do not charcoal filter on the way in - that removes the city water chlorine. We want that chlorine. We only use a fine sediment filter when filling.

We have a robust fridge filter (water and ice in door) and a galley sink drinking water filter after the tank on the way out (don't need chlorine anymore at this point).

The key is turnover. You need to USE your water (yes, you have to refill more often). You might decommission one or more so that the remaining one(s) get refilled more often.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:41 AM   #8
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Closed water tanks are not an open pool! If the tanks are clean and the water going in is clean, even a very small amount of chlorine Will keep the water clean(I use 2 capfuls per 100 gallons). The water in my tanks right now was put in there almost 3 months ago and I can still detect the very slight chlorine odor at a non filtered faucet.

That said, we have a General Ecology water filter system for our drinking water.

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Old 07-04-2020, 08:11 AM   #9
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Our boat carries 300 Liters of water in 2 connected plastic tanks. We use the water for cooking, dish-washing, drinking and showering. Head flushing is with sea water. We have never used any chlorine or chemicals and have, thus far (in 10 years), not suffered from algae or other problems. Given that the tanks are not huge, we generally end up re-filling every 4-5 days while on extended trips. I imagine this frequent “cycling” of fresh water helps keep away problems. Also, I empty the water tanks when laying the boat up for the winter. I flush them at Spring launch by filling and emptying them three times in immediate succession. Finally, and I think most importantly, we use a 3M US-E2 water filter in the cold water line. 0.2 microns. As I understand it, this is about the best filter one can buy not only from a taste/sediment/odor standpoint, but from a health standpoint. Specs say it filters out Protozoan Cysts/Giardia/Cryptosporidim and e-Coli bacteria. Unfortunately, the cartridge price is about $150. I change it once a year. No matter where we've filled up, the water seems to be taste-free, which is something I cannot say about our city water at home.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:23 AM   #10
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We drink the water all the time.

I empty the tank and refill with fresh before every cruise if it has been sitting a while. Follow Peggie's instructions at least yearly not forgetting every water line, not just the tank.
I have never been comfortable with the icemaker because it doesn't allow full sanitizing flush like all the other lines.

A charcoal filter at the potable faucet will improve taste.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:45 AM   #11
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We have two tanks, 700 & 200 gallons, and fill them routinely from marinas and fuel docks. Bleached and flushed them after purchase two years ago and have used them for drinking, cooking, showers, head flush, dish washing and clothes washer since then. We use a small Brita filter/pitcher for drinking water. No problems so far.

When we cruised the Med and Caribbean by sailboat we had a small water tank, maybe 75 gallons, and filled it from almost any available source including rain, village water systems, small streams and rivers. We added iodine based purification tablets or small amount of bleach.
Also no ill effects.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:35 AM   #12
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I have learned in all this definitely not to trust water filters online claims ...the filters I used are a sawyer filter , then a zero filter , and finally a $300 berkey filter which is supposed to be the ultimate filter capable of filtering all protozoa ,giardia crypto bacteria and even viruses ...cant believe out of close to $500 bux in filters I'm still sitting here on the toilet....granted my pool water looks like a swamp and had a dead bird in it but still these filters claims are turns dead bird swamp water into bottled water....definitely false advertising....tds meter read zero but my toilet would disagree
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:14 AM   #13
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Maybe it wasn't the water.

As I said earlier, carrying enough bottled water in gallons isn't tough, space consuming, or expensive.

Ted
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:18 AM   #14
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I might change my tune if we were ever to have a bad water-related experience. Fortunately, that hasn't happened to us yet. Rather then schlepping water bottles, we have a bubble maker, so we can make our own fizzy water, right from the tanks :-)
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:20 AM   #15
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We drink our water all the time. We prefer our RO water, especially from Frederick Sound
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:25 AM   #16
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Currently we carry bottled water to drink, but we'll use the tank water for ice, coffee, etc. I've found that my tanks and lines seem to give the water a slightly off taste and smell over time, even after sanitizing. It isn't noticeable in ice and it seems to cook out while making coffee. I'd drink it in a pinch (it's safe to drink), it just doesn't taste good.

I'm currently planning out a filter setup to hopefully give us better tasting water, which should leave it drinkable.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:29 AM   #17
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Collect a water sample from your tanks by using local laboratory-provided containers. Return the containers to the lab and have them run for ‘residential’ drinking water. You’ll find out quickly and cost effectively if your water is suitable to drink.

I have aluminum water tanks, so in addition to the above, I had the lab run an analysis for metals. Mine came back high in aluminum (expectedly). Because of the water analysis, I choose to drink and cook with bottled water, like Ted, but use tank water for everything else; toothbrush, showering, etc. Keep the guessing out of the equation.

Your gastric system will thank you for it!
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:53 AM   #18
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We drink (and make ice from) our water when it is either RO or municipal water from a supply we trust. All of the water runs through a UV (and charcoal) filter. We have never had a problem.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:54 AM   #19
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A very related aspect of this topic hasn't been touched upon yet: Filling hoses.


I continue to be amazed at the number of people I see that obviously don't think about this at all.
- dropping the fill-end of the hose into the harbor
- putting the fill-end of the hose directly into the water tank fill without first running the water a while to flush out the quite-possibly stagnant water in the dock piping.
- using marina hoses that look like they've been through the war without even flushing them.


When I bought my boat, one of the things I ended up struggling with early on is the decision on which type of hose to buy. It was a surprise to have to burn so many brain cells on this seemingly simple subject. Some, in the extreme camp, said food-grade hose was the only way to go. Food-grade hose is difficult to find, in bulk, and the cost is beyond staggering. So, for mere mortals selecting from more standard types of hose, I learned that one should try to get as opaque hose as possible, so as to prevent light from fostering growth of algae. Finally, I learned that I should take great care in coiling up the hose, as trapped water will also foster the growth of algae and other bad things. Store the hose in a dark compartment, just in case it isn't 100% opaque.



I went the extra mile to buy high-quality hose that won't kink and has a good "memory" for coiling. I've had my hose for 10 years now and it's showing no signs wear.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:13 PM   #20
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Good point on hoses. I always let the hose run for a few minutes before filling. And I only fill from my own hose, which is immediately drained and brought aboard after use.
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