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I put creek water in my holding tank..


rebar

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It sounded like a good alternative instead of packing up and driving 30 miles for more fresh water.. But after researching, sounds like I may have contaminated my fresh water system for good.

 

I was at clear creek res south of leadville colorado. The stream was crystal clear and my GF made the suggestion and it worked great. We drink bottled water anyway because of that holding tank "taste" and didn't use the creek water to cook. Only bathing and toilet.

 

Anyway.. As soon as I had access to city water 5 days later, I filled up and purged the water heater and pipes and dumped the rest. Drove home and added a 1/4 cup of bleach to a 1/4 tank, and filled up and purged again.. I could smell the chlorine slightly as it came out.

This was so convenient for bathing, I'm tempted to do it again and never drink or cook with the water. But has anyone else done this and then decontaminated the system? I see 1/4 cup bleach per 15 gallons is recommended. That sure sounds strong.

And which filter should I use if I use mountain steam water again?

Thanks!

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If your water tank is clean and sanatized, you should not have any "tank taste" in your water. If there is any taste, it would be from the water itself. I guess if you are used to bottled water, any well or city water would taste funny. We use a blue whole house filter that we purchased at Menards. It seems to do a good job. We have only had bad water once, but have been in areas with high lime content and the filter helps with that type of thing. It won't keep bacteria from being in your water when using an unreliable source to get your water. Animals pee in that water you know. And have you ever cleaned a fish tank? I'd rather not introduce possible unknown bacteria to my water supply (tank, lines, water heater etc.). If you are comfortable with it, hey, go for it.

 

** Water at a waterfall where we are at looks good too --- contaminated with e-coli from the farms up north of here. Can't even let people swim in the water. It looks good though.,

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Down here in Louisiana they are getting a one cell amoeba that gets into and eats your brain. Several deaths and all you have to do is swim in the water.

 

To sanitize you do need to make it very strong and don't forget the water heater tank. Then you need to do it at a place with access to several hundred gallons of chlorinated tested safe water like a municipal supply. Forget the taste you just need potable water to sanitize. Yes it does come out very strong using the right ratio. Then it takes a bit of flushing to get the chlorine down to drinkable and shower-able levels. It can be done in a day. Then once you've sanitized it, it will need repeating once or twice a year if you drink from your tank. If you use a charcoal filter to take the chlorine taste out of your city/well water, you may get algae blooms of red or green and in some cases sulfite digesting bacteria that gives the rotten egg smell and taste. Harmless but off putting. The bacteria put out hydrogen sulfide gas in solution in your water and at the levels it can be consumed without gagging won't kill the average adult with no immune system issues.

 

Why? Because you are filtering out the chlorine before the water gets in your pipes and there is not enough left in your water to prevent the algae and some other contaminants from growing in your pipes. It is best normally to filter the water at the sink for taste and chlorine removal.

 

Safe travels!.

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Next time you fill from a creek or pond, use this Disinfecting drinking water chart from the EPA: http://ndep.nv.gov/bsdw/docs/disinfect_drinking_water.pdf

Disinfecting drinking water is different than sanitizing your plumbing, disinfecting is making water safe for drinking.

To properly sanitize your plumbing system, use these directions: http://www.rvlifestyle.net/id16.html

These sanitizing solutions are not recommended for drinking water, thus all the advice to flush thoroughly.

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Here is the minority opinion.

 

I drank creek water as a Forester for almost 15 years. Never got sick. The percentage of Forest Service employees that drink unfiltered creek water and have gotten Giardia is fairly small.

 

However, I have had colleagues that have gotten Giardia and they said you never want to go through it and worse you never really recover!! There was a publication that linked water borne disease to poor personal sanitation. Not sure if he was correct, but I always carry and use sanitation wipes when I don't have easy access to hot water and soap. I am particularly careful when inserting my contact lens to make sure my fingers are totally clean.

 

I never drink water out of my holding tank. It is only used for bathing and washing dishes. I did know one Forest Service employee that kept getting sick every time he went camping. He finally tracked it down to his holding tank even though he had it sanitized several times.

 

I carry a 12 volt pump to fill the "water tank". I also carry a gravity water filter if I run out of bottled water during the camping trip.

 

I still sanitize the holding tank every six months or so even though we do not drink from it.

 

I do use Vitamin C to neutralize the chlorine after sanitizing the system.

 

You can read all about it here: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/html/05231301/05231301.html

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Having gotten Montezuma's Revenge in Greece, Mexico and Guatemala, I would choose not to get it once again. Actually, the worst was taking those chloroquine anti-malarial tables in RVN. You always had a case of you know what about an hour after taking them. Friends did not take them and several of them have malaria for the rest of their lives.

Reed

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We have a fifth wheel that we park at our camp. We pump (using a 12v pump) the river water into our holding tank strictly for use in the toilet as well as for bathing and dishes. I always add bleach to the tank, in proportions equal to those cited on the EPA site.

 

For drinking and cooking we only use bottled water. This river is one we swim in so we have no hesitation bathing in it. Since our tanks are not ever going to be used to provide drinking water, we don't do any extra sanitizing..the bleach does it all.

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There is a filter system called the Water Fixer. It uses 2 filters and a UV light. It is pretty compact and I have thought about purchasing one to fill our water tank from some high country streams.

 

There are better UV systems to be had. The Water Fixer costs about $500 for a 3 GPM UV unit.

 

3 GPM is a bare minimal flow rate, and higher flow rates will nullify the UV filter.

 

For about $100 more, you can get a 9 GPM UV system.

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You use water for washing dishes you won't use for cooking? Don't you eat off those dishes?

 

Linda Sand

 

It is all about probabilities.

 

It is hot water for washing. Then there is the air drying of the dishes, plus the time away from a moist environment.

 

Nothing is perfectly safe. However, I have seen enough water quality tests returned with contamination to look at how to lower my risk.

 

Hey, I use to drink water from creeks without filtering!!! And I think that is LESS of a risk than drinking from an RV water tank.

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Just a bit of a side track for full timers or avid dry campers.

 

I wouldn't waste my money on a couple of the systems that have been mentioned so far. You can pick up a UV unit for right around $70 off of ebay and pick up a couple of cheap filter housings to make your own system for around $50. For $150 you can get a 12gpm UV unit, but the filters and water pump will slow you down anyway so I don't think it's worth the added expense. The UV unit I have pulls 55 watts so it's not really much of an energy hog.

 

My system runs around 5gpm. It has a $10 5 micron pre filter, then a $15 .5 micron filter, then a $70 UV unit. I haven't connected it into the system yet, but I recently acquired a water softener tank that will be incorporated. My hope is that the whole system will be able to make even AZ and NM water drinkable this winter. :P

 

All told, I have around $300 invested and 90#'s that rides on a luggage wheeled cart. That's the battery, pump, filters, UV unit, and water softener tank. I still only run "marginally questionable" water sources through it, but theoretically, I could drop the pump head into just about anything and come out with crystal clear drinking water.

 

Food for thought.

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I wouldn't waste my money on a couple of the systems that have been mentioned so far. You can pick up a UV unit for right around $70 off of ebay and pick up a couple of cheap filter housings to make your own system for around $50. For $150 you can get a 12gpm UV unit, but the filters and water pump will slow you down anyway so I don't think it's worth the added expense.

 

Oh, yeah . . . a "race to the bottom" post.

 

Sure you can find/make inexpensive UV systems. How good are they? Hard to tell. But "cheap eBay filter" is a bit vague.

 

Also, any filter will affect water flow, but the UV filter itself has zero effect since it's just a pipe with a light.

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Thanks for all the replies and I apologize, but I must have forgotten to check "Follow this topic".. I am alittle relieved I'm not the only one with river water in my tank.

 

Iv read this thread a few times as there's is allot of great information. And a few laughs, Thanks!

 

When we washed dishes with creek water, we then sanitized them with grain alcohol.. Everclear works great in the ole arm pits as well. A small dripper bottle conserves it.

Iv purged the water system a few times already, but will do it once more with the strong 2/3 cup to 10 gal solution in RayIN's link. Very useful thanks.

 

I used a simmer 120v multipurpose utility pump from the creek, but I'm surprised it survived the way it sounded. I need a better pump.. A much better pump, capable of massive head and other duties. I imagine the filters Yarome mentioned would dramatically reduce the gpm, so what type of filter should I use if I don't plan on drinking the water, and need high flow? I plan on following the EPA guidelines from the first link of .13 ounces of bleach to .64 ounces of bleach for my 50 gallon tank depending on ppm desired. But what ppm, 1-5, should I use to chlorinate creek water for bathing? And any suggestions for filters and pumps? Those little gas powered ones look neat.

 

Thanks!

 

th_A012A6A9-DC6F-437C-8FE5-073565962DC9_

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Sure you can find/make inexpensive UV systems. How good are they? Hard to tell. But "cheap eBay filter" is a bit vague.

 

Also, any filter will affect water flow, but the UV filter itself has zero effect since it's just a pipe with a light.

 

I apologize if I was being vague. UV tubes are all about the same, and only as good as the bulb you have in it. Which is why I don't fret too much about getting one off ebay. Bulb wise you're looking for a UV-C bulb that emits a waveform between 100-280nm. Higher is better and a 180nm or 240nm bulb can be had for around $10.

 

I would 'not' recommend buying filters off ebay. I'm sure they are perfectly safe, but we're talking 'lifesblood' and saving a buck or two isn't worth any risk in my book.

 

The 5 micon filter I use is reusable and only gets replaced once a year. The .5 micron filters I buy by the case (12 per) and get replaced every 500 gallons or so. That keeps the cost down to around $15 per filter.

 

You are correct though that the UV unit has very little impact on flow rate. Which is why I said don't waste your money on a supposed 10+gpm unit. It's the filters and housings that will determine flow rate. From what I gather.. long tubes seem to have higher gpm ratings, but the bulbs are also quite a bit more expensive and really not necessary unless you're trying to filter for a whole S'n'B.

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Rebar, that's switching gears. ;)

 

I outdoor shower quite a bit from creek and lake water. I don't treat or filter my water other than with a twig n leaf filter for my pump head. My shower setup is just a standard jabsco 3.5gpm pump, a 1 liter accumulator tank, a Triton water heater (although mine looks very different and was only $65), 12v battery, and 10 pound propane tank.

 

I just recently switched the showerhead to an ecocamel. It's burns 1.5 gpms over the oxygenics I 'was' using that burned 2.5gpm. It's all 'free' water, but I really prefer the ecocamel for the 'coverage' vs the higher directed pressure form the oxygenics shower head.

 

I've been using this setup (in it's various forms) for the past 15 years or so without treating the water itself and have had no ill effect. You can take that for whats it's worth, but some days.. with a creek nearby.. endless hot water showers trumps Navy showers indoors hands down! LOL :lol::P

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