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KayoCan

Did I just contaminate the water tank?

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Hello, this is my 2nd week of owning an RV (I bought it in AZ and am on my way back to the east coast). I might have made a big mistake this morning and contaminated my water tank.

I filled up my water tank at a campground in Santa Fe this morning. I use a basic water filter I bought at Walmart (blue one that attaches to the hose). I ran the water for a few seconds and filled it up. When I removed the hose from the faucet, there were bunch of small worms on the mesh filter of the pressure regulator. They looked like tiny earthworms (but probably not). Gross! The worms were big enough that they were caught in the mesh filter. Since the water is also filtered, I hope that none of them are actually in the tank. But how about parasites, small eggs and such? I was in a hurry and wasn't at a full hookup site, so I am traveling with the water right now. 

I don't drink the water from the tank but I wash dishes with it. But I am boiling water to do my dishes for now. Has anyone run into something like this before? I read posts about disinfecting the tank with chlorine but many campsites say that they are on septic system and ask not to pour chemicals in their sewer. So what should I do?

Thank you! 

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Yuck!!!  I would do a super chlorine disinfection, with maybe twice or triple as much as you would normally use. Leave it in your tank for a day or two before rinsing it out. I don't know if chlorine counts as one of the chemicals that damages septic systems, but I would be tempted to find someplace that is on a city water system for a couple of days to get this all cleaned out. 

Two questions:

  • Was the pressure regulator on the faucet side of the Walmart filter or on the coach side of the filter?
  • Also, do you have a whole house filter as well as the one from Walmart?  I would suspect that if you do, everything has been caught, but after using the disinfecting process, I would change both it and the Walmart blue filter. 

Also, when you replace the whole house filter, there are different levels of replacement filters.  The ones I use I get from Camping World are numbered.  Read the labels carefully to find out what they filter.  Some are basic and some are more sophisticated.  And I do drink water from my tank and have never had problems, but little worms would certainly make me drink bottled water for a while.

Good luck!

Edited by Solo18

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5 hours ago, Solo18 said:

Two questions:

  • Was the pressure regulator on the faucet side of the Walmart filter or on the coach side of the filter?
  • Also, do you have a whole house filter as well as the one from Walmart?  I would suspect that if you do, everything has been caught, but after using the disinfecting process, I would change both it and the Walmart blue filter. 

1) My set up is:

Facet --> pressure regulator (where worms were) --> hose --> Walmart filter --> tank

I guess I need to disinfect or buy a new hose too? It's brand new so I would like to keep it, but I don't know what the best way (least messy way) to do that. The pressure regulator is very small that I can just soak it in bleach water. 

2) No, I do not have a whole house filter. I just use the Walmart filter. 

I'm currently traveling east on I-40 and am in the middle of nowhere in Texas. I work online in the afternoon, so I can't travel long distance except for the weekends. I think I can be in Oklahoma City tomorrow, though. I may stay in a city RV park for a night or two there. I personally like more rustic campgrounds outside of cities (thus this water problem!).

I think there is Camping World in Oklahoma City too. After this incident, I will definitely invest in a better water filter even though I don't drink out of the tank. 

If I connect the water directly to the city water hookup, will it be safe to use while I'm disinfecting the tank? It bypasses the tank completely, correct? 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, KayoCan said:

I guess I need to disinfect or buy a new hose too?

I would but the hose is pretty easy to disinfect.

37 minutes ago, KayoCan said:

No, I do not have a whole house filter. I just use the Walmart filter. 

Those disposable filters are probably activated charcoal, as that is what all I have used are. That means that they remove sediment and taste and are pretty good with approved water sources and I'd be fairly confident that no worms passed through but germs would so you still need to disinfect the system. The advantage to one of the "whole house filters" is that there are far more choices of type of cartridge you can use in one. By far the most commonly used filters in those is pretty much the same as what you are using now because the better filter cartridges also cost far more. I did use a whole house system when were fulltime but use one like you have now and am just careful about our supply. 

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11 hours ago, KayoCan said:

I filled up my water tank at a campground in Santa Fe this morning.

What campground? Did you notify them so that they are aware of the problem? If they are not responsive, consider notifying the local or state health department so others will not be affected.

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In this situation bleach is going to be your friend.  I would get a couple cups of bleach into that tank, run it through everything, empty, and repeat.  Then I would totally flush the tank a couple more times.  You still may detect a slight bleach odor at your faucets but just don't drink or cook with that water for another couple tank fulls and it will soon be gone.

Like someone else said, it is doubtful that anything significant made it through the Walmart blue charcoal filter.

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If this is supposed to be potable water, PLEASE call the health department for that location and tell them.

 

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5 hours ago, KayoCan said:

I guess I need to disinfect or buy a new hose too? It's brand new so I would like to keep it, but I don't know what the best way (least messy way) to do that. The pressure regulator is very small that I can just soak it in bleach water

Roll up the hose into a coil so the loops are vertical and pour a cup or two of a strong bleach water mix into one end.  It will settle into the low point of a loop.

Connect the ends, then use your arms to spin the coiled up hose like a wheel rolling down the road. The bleach mixture stays at the low point so it travels through the hose as you spin it, disinfecting everything it touches.

Wait a couple of ,inutes, then connect the hose to a good water source and let the water pressure flush out the hose.

I do this once a year and I'm always surprised by what comes out of a supposedly clean hose.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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6 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

What campground? Did you notify them so that they are aware of the problem? If they are not responsive, consider notifying the local or state health department so others will not be affected.

It was Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground, site #48. 

I did call them (didn't have time to speak in person before I left), and they said they were going to look at it and fix the problem. 

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6 hours ago, FL-JOE said:

In this situation bleach is going to be your friend.  I would get a couple cups of bleach into that tank, run it through everything, empty, and repeat.  Then I would totally flush the tank a couple more times.  You still may detect a slight bleach odor at your faucets but just don't drink or cook with that water for another couple tank fulls and it will soon be gone.

Like someone else said, it is doubtful that anything significant made it through the Walmart blue charcoal filter.

I read online that 1/4 cup of bleach per 15 gallon of water is sufficient and my tank is 30, so I put a little more than a half cup earlier today. I am going to let it sit until tomorrow. Hopefully that's enough bleach. 

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3 hours ago, Carlos said:

If this is supposed to be potable water, PLEASE call the health department for that location and tell them.

 

It is supposed to be potable water. I did call the campground and let them know. 

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2 hours ago, bobsallyh said:

This is the reason quite a few of us run some water out of the spigot before hooking anything up to it.

I definitely learned my lesson. I will start pouring water out, put some water in a cup to visually inspect it before putting anything in my tank again! 

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2 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Roll up the hose into a coil so the loops are vertical and pour a cup or two of a strong bleach water mix into one end.  It will settle into the low point of a loop.

Connect the ends, then use your arms to spin the coiled up hose like a wheel rolling down the road. The bleach mixture stays at the low point so it travels through the hose as you spin it, disinfecting everything it touches.

Wait a couple of ,inutes, then connect the hose to a good water source and let the water pressure flush out the hose.

I do this once a year and I'm always surprised by what comes out of a supposedly clean hose.

Oh that's easy enough. I can do that :)  Thanks for the instructions! 

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I would but the hose is pretty easy to disinfect.

Those disposable filters are probably activated charcoal, as that is what all I have used are. That means that they remove sediment and taste and are pretty good with approved water sources and I'd be fairly confident that no worms passed through but germs would so you still need to disinfect the system. The advantage to one of the "whole house filters" is that there are far more choices of type of cartridge you can use in one. By far the most commonly used filters in those is pretty much the same as what you are using now because the better filter cartridges also cost far more. I did use a whole house system when were fulltime but use one like you have now and am just careful about our supply. 

I might look into the whole house filter. I am planning to go by Camping World this weekend. Thanks!

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16 minutes ago, KayoCan said:

I am planning to go by Camping World this weekend.

Let me suggest that either Lowe's or Home Depot are a better place to get them with more selection for less cost. You will need to assemble the parts but you get a better product by doing so. 

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46 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Let me suggest that either Lowe's or Home Depot are a better place to get them with more selection for less cost. You will need to assemble the parts but you get a better product by doing so. 

Ok, will do. Thank you for the suggestions! 

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I would definitely file a formal complaint with the county/city health department. There is no clue as to the source of the worms, I will not speculate.

FYI, the solution of chlorine and water in your fresh water can be safely drained onto the ground via the fresh tank drain, same for water heater. What little is in the plumbing lines will go into your grey tank for future disposal.

You may also safely use chloramine to disinfect drinking water.That is my method(Sodium Dichlor)of disinfecting my fresh water system in the RV. It may be purchased at any swimming pool supply store in granulated form, all it takes is 1tsp per 100G of water, and the water is also safe to drink(no chlorine after-taste) afterwards if necessary.

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There will be some plumbing to install the whole house filter, but the advantage is that you can get a better (and more expensive) filter that will filter more things like Giardia, and still use the Walmart one as a pre-filter of sorts. 

I often skip the pre-filter, but tonight as I was hooking up my water, I thought of your worms and hooked it up! 

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I guess none of you ever lived with a cistern or hand dug well. Gutters from the house and barn roof catch lots of water along with other things. 

Every spring grandpa added 2 gallons of Bleach that was it no filters. Always made grandma mad cause of the change in taste. Never had any issues nor did it affect any of us on visits. 

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3 hours ago, MidMOTraveler said:

I guess none of you ever lived with a cistern or hand dug well. Gutters from the house and barn roof catch lots of water along with other things. 

Every spring grandpa added 2 gallons of Bleach that was it no filters. Always made grandma mad cause of the change in taste. Never had any issues nor did it affect any of us on visits. 

Had to laugh..... yes, when we lived in Missouri we had a cistern as did many others and no one seemed to get deathly ill from the water.  Who knows what was in that water?  Hadn't thought of that cistern in 70 years!! :rolleyes:

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wRather than the water supply itself something could have nested in the faucet itself if it was not used even for an hour or two before you used it or may have even been in the new hose. I always run at least a few gallons from the faucet throught the hose before completing the hook up.  I often spray the faucet with bleach or alcohol including  up into the faucet and let it set for at least  few minutes before flushing it then completeing the hook up.  Thes winter I stopped at a park that had just been vacated. When I opened my grey tank I got a back surge out of a sewer vent at the site.  When the owner tried to clear it  he was going to hook up a hose and try to use water pressure to break it loose.  He put the wrong end down the dump first then reversed it.  I saw all this and was tempted to leave but he used alcahol as a disinfectant.  After he left I used straight bleach to do it again twice.  I guess it was alright as I never had any issues but it sure made me nervous.  There is no telling what goes on that we don't  know about so it pays to be careful.

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