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Old 06-20-2011, 01:57 PM   #1
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Sanitizing the Fresh Water Tank

I have a 2007 Georgetown and I'm a liveaboard. I put a few tablespoons of pool shock in the fresh water holding tank to sanitize it. I let it sit in there for 1 day and drove around allowing it it to slosh around and sanitize the tank. I then came home and drained the tank.

Here's where I'm a bit lost. I'm not sure if I should fill the tank back up again after draining it and flush it again. My intention is to always leave some water in the fresh water tank unless we ever have an earthquake or some other disaster in California, we will have water. So, another question besides whether or not I should fill it up again to rinse the tank and drain often should I sanitize the tank? I don't know how long water in the fresh water tank is considered "fresh".

Thanks for your replies.

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Old 06-21-2011, 09:25 AM   #2
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Alot depends on how much chlorine is in your water. Also, how high are the temps when you are storing this water. My guress would be two weeks and I would be replacing it. You might want to call your water dept. in your city and talk to one of the water engineers. They would be able to give you a better idea. Another place to call would be your local disaster planning division of your city or county. They will have information. Barring that, the red cross might have some info as well. HOpe this helps. As a side note, we never ever drink water from our tank...we carry bottled water and water from home in larger jugs.

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Old 06-21-2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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I would drain and refill until you don't notice a chlorine taste / odor. If you are filling your tank from city water - the water is treated and you should be fine. For disaster preparedness, recommendations vary, but I've seen suggestions to change the water in storage tanks every year, every 6 months etc. If it's not a huge problem, why not just leave it full of city water and then at some interval (3 mo? 6 mo?) add your chlorine, let it sit, use it up and refill. Sounds like you are using city water and having the tank full is just back up.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:38 AM   #4
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Yes, I have been just keeping water in my fresh water tank as a back-up in case of emergency but just not sure how often I should then be draining it.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:39 AM   #5
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We have the filter for the water coming into our RV and then we also use a Brita filter for drinking water. So it gets filtered twice. I'm sure it's just as good as bottled water and I don't have to mess with all the plastic bottles.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:41 AM   #6
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The water in my fresh tank is NOT for drinking, it is for flushing, and washing ONLY. Drinking water is in the bottles in the cabnet that gets used and replaced with new bottles for cooking and drinking and the dog.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:46 AM   #7
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Well if you want the FEMA response... If the tank is properly sanitized stored water should last up to 6 months. This is for sealed air-tight sanitized containers. I don't know how sealed a camper's fresh water tank is. For emergency preparedness your better off with commercially packaged water, it has a much longer shelf life. Many consider it safe way beyond the "use-by" date on the package.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:29 PM   #8
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A water tank is vented so that the tank is not damaged when you pump the water out. It may be as simple as the fill area doesn’t have a seal adequate to prevent air from entering the tank or it may be a vent on the top of the tank. Either way, air will enter the tank as the water is used or as the water heats and cools. As air enters the tank, so does whatever is in the air. As air leaves the tank Chlorine gas, commonly used for disinfection, leaves the tank, reducing the chlorine residual in the water in the tank. Loss of chlorine and growth, or regrowth of constituents in the tank both increase as the water gets warmer. One common parasite, Cryptosporidium is very resistant to disinfection, and even a well-operated water treatment system cannot ensure that drinking water will be completely free of this parasite according to the DEQ. I won't be drinking water that has been in the tank for even three months during the summer.

It's also a good idea to make sure that your fill hose is clean, sanitized, and flushed before filling your tank. I'm with brianb, for emergency purposes, use commercially packaged water and remember that even that water has a shelf life. You could use the water in the tank for other purposes but remember that even a small amount of water with Crypto or Giardia can make you very very sick. A real bummer when you’re having an emergency!

By the way, make sure that whatever model and brand of filter you are using will remove microbiological cysts, cryptosporidium and giardia, and be careful with the handling of the filters after use.

All this talk about water has me pretty concerned so I think I'll go have a beer!
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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You asked about rinsing the system after draining the shock. What I have read is that it is not necessary. The little bit of chlorine left behind is not a problem. In fact, I treat the fresh water I add back with a partial teaspoon of shock.

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