the water in your tanks - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 45 Old 11-12-2007 Thread Starter
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the water in your tanks

As one of my winter projects I removed a non-functioning foot pump for the sink in the head, took it home and disassembled it in preparation for a rebuild.

What I discovered disgusted me. The crud and slime that had accumulated on every internal surface of that pump convinced me that I would never drink from the "potable" water system. It looked more like the bottom of a bowl of soup in a Japanese restaurant than drinking water. I don't care how much bleach I pump through it (or vodka, as some seem to prefer), there is no way I am going to drink that stuff without boiling it first.

You might want to disassemble one of your pumps in order to have a look...
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post #2 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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Our manual foot pump is for seawater, don't have any manmual pumps for drawing water from our 140 gal freshwater tank. We never drink any onboard water anyway - only used for bathing, cleaning, boiling. Every other consumption use comes from spring water gallons we store onboard.

I have to admit though, whenever I pump the foot lever after haulout to clear the line for winter storage, there is a very strong sulphur smell, with an overlying organic decay odor . . . from sea creatures which have died in the lines.

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post #3 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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I remember an episode of Jacques Cousteau where they were exploring a large lake on the African continent. The explorers were using some water purification filters to get drinking water from the lake, explaining how bad the parasites were. Then the camera panned over to the shoreline and showed the local kids playing in the water and drinking straight from the lake.

I think our bodies can handle a lot more than our minds have been conditioned for and that if the water in your tanks hasn't made you sick before, you'll still be fine, even though it may never quite taste the same again.

Ray
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post #4 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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I'm not trying to be flippant, but if you didn't like what you saw in your foot pump, NEVER EVER go to a water treatment plant. Clean is a very relative term, you will always get gunk built up in areas where the flow channel for water is not perfectly smooth. Pumps are always gross, keeping on top of your maintenance and sanitizing your water system regularly will help slow the buildup but nothing can stop it. If the water has that nice slightly chlorinated smell when it comes out of the tap it should be just fine to drink. If it doesn't, add some chlorine to your system (around 12 drops per gallon if it is totally untreated). Just remember, it tastes ok now, but if you decide you want it really really clean and load up your water system with disinfectants and soaps and crap your water will taste like dawn dish soap forever! So, use, don't abuse those cleaning agents.
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post #5 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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Generally, I don't use the "potable" water from my tanks for anything but washing. I carry bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes.

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post #6 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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a couple of drops of chlorine bleach in your tank on fillup (not the whole bottle) does wonders for bacteria. theres also a solution for purification of water upon filling your tank, cant remember the name offhand. my dock neighbor drinks straight out of his tank daily...oh yeah, did i mention he's 86 years old and healthy. but i'm with SD on the bottled stuff

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post #8 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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We cleaned the tanks and shock treated the lines in ours and had reasonably good water...but we always drank from bottles. We did use tank water for cooking and filtered it through a PUR water filter...it ran out a lot quicker than our municipal filter used to!! I wouldn't drink from any tank without a good filter system!!
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post #9 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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Oh heck, that's why we have teeth, to strain out the really big chunks.

Ray
S.V. Nikko
1983 Fraser 41
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post #10 of 45 Old 11-12-2007
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Have been drinking the water from our water tanks for the past 25 years. Our CS is 20 years old and the tanks and lines, all original, are fine. I've filled it from cisterns and wells over the years. Maybe I've been lucky but I've got enough stuff aboard without taking up good beer storage space with bottled water!

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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