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Old 04-12-2019, 01:31 PM   #1
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Filtering Salt Water

We spent some of our winter in the south west. Long story short most of the RV parks have well water that has salt in it. Reverse osmosis vending machines are available on site but we would like to eliminate it from our water. We did pick up a water softener cartridge for our filter but I understand that that adds salt as part of the demineralization process and wondering if the end result is net neutral. Even if that is better it will only be a short time that this cartridge will last with no way of recharging or back washing like a real softener.
There are people that use reverse osmosis system at the water inlet to the RV. But these don't look to portable or easy to set up for short term use. Nobody seems to act like its an issue down there but for us in the great lakes fresh water basin we would like to not shower in it or wash things with it. Yes we used gallon jugs for drinking water as we are both on low sodium diets.

What does everyone else use particularly in South West Arizona?

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Old 04-12-2019, 01:39 PM   #2
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A water softener removes hardness ( calcium) it will do little for salt. A reverse osmosis filter will not be practical as one that would be appropriate for an RV will only supply drinking and cooking water. One that will supply showers and a washer would require a lot of space. Also keep in mind that most good RO filters generate 3-4 gals of waste water for every gal of good water.


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Old 04-12-2019, 01:44 PM   #3
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Water softener and reverse osmosis are two different systems to address two different things.
Water softener is not a filter but a system that exchanges ions in the water for salt...
Reverse Osmosis is a filtration system able to take the salt out of salt water.

From my sailing days, a reverse osmosis to filtrate water for shower will need to be like the ones boats have:
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:55 PM   #4
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RO is what you need to deal with salt water. Not practical for showering though. A small under sink system could be installed for drinking water. But they are not inexpensive and if you dry camp, it would not be practical either as there is a good bit of waste water from the process. On "city water" at a campground it would not be an issue unless you did not have a sewer connection (the grey tank will fill faster from the RO process plus the other uses of water).
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:20 AM   #5
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Just don't drink it and learn to live with it. I was on a canoe trip on the lower Colorado River one Feb. We used up our drinking water in a couple of days. I drank some of the local water with a pH around 9 and promptly puked.

We grew up on Chesapeake Bay and used sea water for everything including bathing. It is not that hard to get used to.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:37 AM   #6
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At Myrtle Beach the campground that we go to has salty tasting water, so they offer free purified water for drinking. Other than that we have been showering and washing with their water since 1995 with no issue.


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Old 04-13-2019, 09:40 AM   #7
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I find the salty water to be pretty good.

Didn't like it when I first moved here last year, but now I drink it all the time.

I have a reverse osmosis water system under my kitchen sink and I rarely use it.

My cats even turn their noses at the RO water and will only drink the salty water.

One thing...I rarely, if ever, add any salt to anything we cook.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:46 AM   #8
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Depending on what one considers "expensive" this might be an option:

Claims to provide 50 gallons a day which could be used to fill the onboard storage tank and then just use water from tank.

If one is clever they could install a solenoid valve on the City Water supply and a tank level sensor to control it. When tank is down, water is turned on to fill through RO unit and when full, turns it off.

Under $400 but if salt is an issue (like it is for some people with cardiac issues) it can be offset pretty quick when considering the cost of purchasing salt free water. When I was in Quartzsite the RV Pit Stop was selling salt free RO water for $.025 per gallon. On average that's $10 per tank fill and over a nice long camping season that can add up quickly.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:37 AM   #9
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It starts to look like the solution is to live with it. We are able to get drinking water from an RO machine like TitanMike said for 25 cents a gallon. Not going to fill my tanks we can shower and wash with the salty water and just need to keep gallon jugs for drinking and cooking as both of us have high blood pressure and need a low salt diet. We had been drinking it in the Yuma area before we realized there was salt in it. I think there is more salt in some of the well water in the rural parks that there is within the municipal area water in Yuma.

While we where in Tachna AZ. one evening around supper a 40 foot newer DP class A pulling a toad pulls in beside us in a pull through. He proceeds to set up and gets his hoses out and starts washing the front of the motor home. I thought maybe he is only trying to clean the windshield. But no he washed everything including the Toad. Everything dried with a white film on it. Nasty. He would have been better leaving it dirty. He was gone the next morning so I dont know the rest of the story.
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Old 04-17-2019, 10:45 AM   #10
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Sorry to side track.... I have no experience with salt being 350 miles from it, but get close to a bunch of oil.... yuk. Terrible water

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