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Old 07-13-2018, 01:22 PM   #1
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Treating water in tank to make sure it's safe to drink?

Before starting I know that many refuse to drink water from their trailer fresh water tank. This thread is not for you.

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Often while boondocking it's necessary to add water to your fresh water tank from a stream or other water source other than a regularly inspected community water source. When I was a kid we were always told that as long as the stream was flowing briskly and over rocks, the water was clear, it was safe to drink. I drank gallons of water back then and never suffered ill effects.

Today those streams are often sources of animal contamination as well as human so old rules no longer apply. Even water from wells, unless regularly tested by health departments, can be "questionable".

I've taken a pro-active approach to maintaining my fresh water tank so I can drink the water safely if necessary. I merely add 2 drops of unscented Clorox Bleach per quart (1 Tsp per 10 gallons) whenever adding/filling my tank from a stream or unknown quality well water system.

This is per instructions posted by Clorox and many public health sources for treating water to make it safe for drinking. They recommend that the water should have a FAINT smell of chlorine when just right. Key work is "Faint". If it's strong, drain some water out and add more untreated.

They also recommend that the water be allowed to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before drinking.

In my mind this also prevents the tank from growing any harmful organisms and as for taste in my glass, the on-board filter in my TT filters water from the tank as well as "city water" and all the taste is absorbed by the charcoal.

Chlorination standards for drinking water limit the amount of chlorine to 4 ppm and at that level the smell is quite strong so if only a faint smell one should be well below the limits.

I figure a few drops added to the FW tank whenever my water source is of unknown quality (this includes a lot of campgrounds I've been to) I can at least have water I can drink whenever I need without having to boil it first.

Anyone else do this?

Basically I'm a "Boondocker" at heart. I find lots of great campsites around here that many people shun because they don't have full hookups. My next reserved site (July 23rd-----) is in a NF campground with NO amenities other than an outhouse. Only $8 per night with Lifetime Senior Inter-agency Pass. Three nights for less than the price of one at the cheapest Full Hookup site within 200 miles of my house.

No water other than what flows down the fast running creek without a single residence upstream.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:05 PM   #2
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If you follow the guidelines you will be fine. Personally I let the treated water sit for over an hour, because there are some rare organisms that the kill time is slightly less than an hour. I also use a dpd chlorine pool test kit to make sure I get 3 ppm free chlorine in the water.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TitaMike View Post
I merely add 2 drops of unscented Clorox Bleach per quart (1 Tsp per 10 gallons) whenever adding/filling my tank from a stream or unknown quality well water system.

Saw an emergency preparedness segment where they used the saturate paper towel to drip 2 drops into a liter bottle for purifying water where you might not have access to measuring spoons.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
If you follow the guidelines you will be fine. Personally I let the treated water sit for over an hour, because there are some rare organisms that the kill time is slightly less than an hour. I also use a dpd chlorine pool test kit to make sure I get 3 ppm free chlorine in the water.
And then there are some micro-organisms that chlorine will not kill at all. We found this out in Vietnam. The Army used to issue chlorine tabs to put in your canteen to purify water. Didn't always work! The Army then switched to Iodine tabs, and they worked. Water tasted like crap though, but zero chance of introducing a "parasite" into your digestive system. In the 80's the Army discontinued Iodine tabs and went to Reverse Osmosis to purify water. Personally, I would never introduce ANY unknown water into my FW tank, nor ingest it. There's more out there than organisms these days. In Alaska, anywhere near where gold was mined you will find arsenic in the water tables. It'll kill you. Additionally, drinking water from streams and rivers in AK has been know to cause cases of what we refer to as "Beaver Fever", very similar to E-coli. Some have contracted it and it has taken them months to get rid of it. In the Puget Sound area of WA you will find lots of heavy metals in the waters left over from the copper mining industry of the early 1900's.

No, I'll pay a little more and settle for potable water. At my age there's enough stuff I have to worry about killing me without me taking unnecessary chances.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:17 PM   #5
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At my age there's enough stuff I have to worry about killing me without me taking unnecessary chances.
At my age I've already had people, cars, motorcycles, illness, (including maybe an ex wife) that's tried and failed to kill me.

Having passed the 3/4 century mark I've stopped over worrying and just take basic precautions. Chlorine and filtering should handle whatever I expect to encounter.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:33 PM   #6
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TitanMike - Did you modify your onboard water filter? I thought I've read that only city water goes through the factory one. Is that right?
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:44 PM   #7
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There is another method: https://www.rvwaterfilterstore.com/B5029.htm
I use the 120v version of this at home and process swamp water into near surgical quality.

And yet another method is an ozonator.
https://www.ozonepurewater.com/ozone...all-ozonators/
Note: I don’t know what the power requirement is.

This is the same principal the SoClean CPAP sterilizer uses.

Just some food for thought...
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:47 PM   #8
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Mine filters both and was set up that way from the factory.

I'm sure this could vary from model to model but it makes no sense to not filter tank water.

On that note, many have removed factory filter and have separate units outside that do only filter city water. They'd rather use a filter that has cheaper filter elements.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:54 PM   #9
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Your trailer carries 43 gallons of fresh water which should be more than enough for boondocking if you know how to manage the resource. Learn to camp like those who camp in tents and you won’t need to drink water from a stream.

You have an outhouse and a stream available. Poop in the outhouse and bathe in the stream (biodegradable soap).

The only time I drank purified water from a steam was on backpacking trips and it was a necessity.
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:05 PM   #10
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Learn to camp like those who camp in tents and you won’t need to drink water from a stream.
Hmm. When I did camp in tents (from age 6 on) I always drank water from the streams. Ditto when backpacking.
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