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Old 10-13-2010, 06:00 PM   #1
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Got sick from drinking old water in tank?

I havn't cleaned or used my fresh water tank since bought the trailer about 2 year ago. There is still water in it. When I got back from a recent trip I was having issues getting 12v from the battery and tried the pump. Well I left the switch on and when I plugged the trailer in it must of pressurized the system. I did come inside and turn the switch off right away. Anyway hooked up fresh water hose and went about my business.

Next day I ask the wife to rinse out a plastic bottle and fill it with water in the trailer. Well the water tasted ok, but had a slight odor so I didn't drink muich of it. Figured she didn't rinse it out very well. I left it sitting in my center console. The next day my 2 year old son wanted some water so I gave him a sip from it as it was all I had in my truck. That night he got sick and threw up and had diarrhea for 2 days. He also had mexican food and I thought since i didn't get sick from drinking it that there was nothing wrong with it except the odor. Know that I look back and think I am an idiot for letting him have any of that water. Should of just stopped and bought a bottle.

Keep in mind I completely forgot about the water with the odor and the plastic bottle was still in my truck. A few more days later were going somewhere and my wife takes a drink from that same bottle of water and said it was terrible.
We had mexican food that night and she got real sick early in the morning. Throwing up and diarrhea. Said it was the worst she ever felt.

So was it really that little bit of water that pressurized the plumbing or what they both ate? Don't plan to drink any to find out. I didn't get sick and I get sick real easy off of bad food. What is the shelf life of water in your holding tank anyway? I did run bleach threw there and flushed it when new.

If you are not going to be using the water from the tank is just best to leave it dry?

Just thought of someting. Better change out my water filter. It could be contaminated.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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I sanitize the fresh water system before each use
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:18 PM   #3
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DCRC, did you fill the fresh water tank with a municipal water or well water ?? I would think that the treated water from a municipal system should be bacteria resistant longer than untreated water. But I would think 2 years would be a long time for even treated water. I sanatize my system each spring when getting ready for camping season.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:47 PM   #4
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It was from my well. 420ft deep. It was purely by accident as I had no plans to drink the water that was left in the tank. Feel like an idiot for possible getting my family sick. Should have just drained it and left it empty. Only reason I flipped the switch was to see if it was getting power.

Sure would make it easier if the installed water filter had a bypass.

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Old 10-13-2010, 09:34 PM   #5
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mntguy how do you sanitize the fresh water tank?
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threegr8katz View Post
mntguy how do you sanitize the fresh water tank?
From rvbasics.com:

Quote:
The generally accepted method of sanitizing your RV's fresh water system as outlined below involves filling the fresh water tank with a solution of household bleach and running the solution through each faucet. Then letting it stand for at least three hours. Finally, flush the system once or twice to remove the taste and smell.
This procedure is one you'll find in most any book about RVing it tried and true but be sure to read on to find out what I do.

Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.
Turn the water heater off and let the water cool.

Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water.

Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank. (Never pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank. )

One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)

Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours over night is better.

Completely drain the system by flushing the faucets for several minutes each.

Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.

Open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.

Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.

Fill water tank with fresh water.

Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)

Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.

Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revrnd View Post
From rvbasics.com:
I think that the instructions should say to first Remove The Filter if equipped...
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by threegr8katz View Post
mntguy how do you sanitize the fresh water tank?
The article that revrnd quoted is pretty much how I do it. I extra thing that I do is drive around a little while the bleach is in the tank, to make sure the bleach solution is splashed on the top of the tank, and again drive around again with just fresh water in the tank to rinse the bleach out.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DCRC View Post
It was from my well. 420ft deep. It was purely by accident as I had no plans to drink the water that was left in the tank. Feel like an idiot for possible getting my family sick. Should have just drained it and left it empty. Only reason I flipped the switch was to see if it was getting power.

Sure would make it easier if the installed water filter had a bypass.

Daryl
I would rather drink well water than treated water, but the well probably has more microbes. With the nearly constant flow of water in our home systems, those few microbes shouldn't bother us, and we probably become immune to them as we continue to drink the water. But sitting in a tank for 2 years, those little puppies probably mulitply, and that is where the problem could arise. Even with treated water, there is no guarantee that it won't happen. I figure every time I add more treated water to my tank, it might take care of some of the old water, but not sure if that is how it works or not.

NWJeeper mentioned in another thread about a product called Taste Pure. A quick internet search turned up this: http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...reshener/18634. It doesn't mentioned getting rid of bacteria, so not sure how good it is for that.

Maybe NWJeeper can chime in here with what he uses.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:19 AM   #10
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revrnd,

thanks added this info to my person TT notes doc.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:22 AM   #11
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DCRC, that seems odd, wouldn't be a practice to make sure the fressh water tank is drained ,via the low point drain or tank drain when winterizing the system?

Your experience has been noted ...thanks, and sorry for the that nasty experience.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:08 AM   #12
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It was from my well. 420ft deep.
thats a deep well! any bacteria or iron?
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:51 AM   #13
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DCRC, that seems odd, wouldn't be a practice to make sure the fressh water tank is drained ,via the low point drain or tank drain when winterizing the system?

Your experience has been noted ...thanks, and sorry for the that nasty experience.
I havn't winterized the trailer since I have owned it. The trailer is stored inside my shop.

Quote:
thats a deep well! any bacteria or iron?
Yes, fairly deep considering the elevation here is only about 52'.

Never had the well tested. Had it drilled and started drinking the water after about 5-6 months of use. Water taste great and never had any health problems related to it. Thought about getting it test several times, but never got around to it.

From what I have read, problems can come from storing well water. The shelf life of well water can be a lot shorter than water from a municipal supply, about 6 months. In an emergency situation sites reccomend buying bottle water for storage as oppose to storing well water. Of course if you have a gen set you can just power the well anyway.

I think the problems multiplied when the bottle of water set in my warm truck and in the sunlight.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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FWIW I sanitize my fresh water system twice a year. when I dewinterize and then in the middle of summer. I keep approx. 10 gals. of water in the tank and I flush that out about 4 times a year.
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:54 AM   #15
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DCRC yup you got it. municipal is treated chemically and usually UV to. but nothing tastes better then the home water!
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:59 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by DCRC View Post
I havn't cleaned or used my fresh water tank since bought the trailer about 2 year ago. There is still water in it. When I got back from a recent trip I was having issues getting 12v from the battery and tried the pump. Well I left the switch on and when I plugged the trailer in it must of pressurized the system. I did come inside and turn the switch off right away. Anyway hooked up fresh water hose and went about my business.

Next day I ask the wife to rinse out a plastic bottle and fill it with water in the trailer. Well the water tasted ok, but had a slight odor so I didn't drink muich of it. Figured she didn't rinse it out very well. I left it sitting in my center console. The next day my 2 year old son wanted some water so I gave him a sip from it as it was all I had in my truck. That night he got sick and threw up and had diarrhea for 2 days. He also had mexican food and I thought since i didn't get sick from drinking it that there was nothing wrong with it except the odor. Know that I look back and think I am an idiot for letting him have any of that water. Should of just stopped and bought a bottle.

Keep in mind I completely forgot about the water with the odor and the plastic bottle was still in my truck. A few more days later were going somewhere and my wife takes a drink from that same bottle of water and said it was terrible.
We had mexican food that night and she got real sick early in the morning. Throwing up and diarrhea. Said it was the worst she ever felt.

So was it really that little bit of water that pressurized the plumbing or what they both ate? Don't plan to drink any to find out. I didn't get sick and I get sick real easy off of bad food. What is the shelf life of water in your holding tank anyway? I did run bleach threw there and flushed it when new.

If you are not going to be using the water from the tank is just best to leave it dry?

Just thought of someting. Better change out my water filter. It could be contaminated.
Looks like the common thing here is the mixican food. only the ones that drank the water and ate mexican food got sick. u had the water and didn't get sick.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:20 AM   #17
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i have a well. there is nothing in the water bacteria wise. to get approval for household use, the health dept had to test it.
problem comes when it comes out of the ground and is exposed the the surrondings and light.
i've seen steam condensate have algie grow along the sides of it.
the chlorine used to treat with will leave shortly after being exposed to sunlight.
it doesn't matter what u leave in the tank wheather from a treated system or a untreated system. they will both develope slime in a few weeks.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:11 AM   #18
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FWIW I would consider adding a UV filter if you are concerned with your water. We have a cistern instead of a well that I haul water once a month for our house and have a 5 micron water filter, UV filter, carbon filter and water softener. I highly recommend at least a UV filter as it kills 99.9% of the micro organisms in drinking water. Cheap no but what is your health worth?
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:27 PM   #19
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I sanatize my system if I don't run any water through it for a few weeks. I also change the filter at least annually.
Or maybe you should lay off the Mexican food???
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:30 PM   #20
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one of the local power plants has cooling towers for the boiler water. they have to add chlorine to the water to prevent it from growing cultures that could wipe out life for miles
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