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post #71 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

It might be a good idea to have the water from your tanks tested at a city water treatment facility. It cost us 20 bucks for the test when we bought a house with well water in the mountains of NC. Surprising that the water tested positive for e coli, since the previous owners drank that water and appeared healthy.

On the boat I've always used the water frequently so that the turn over between refills was less than 2 weeks. That seems to be key in keeping the water fresh assuming you have a good source for filling the tanks. Now that the boat is not being used as much my concern is water that remains in the tanks and lines turning bad with time. Even though as much water as possible has been removed the tanks, they are not completely dry. I put in non toxic antifreeze and pumped it through the lines with the thought that maybe that stuff will keep the system contaminant free until the tanks are returned to service. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.
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post #72 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

Ok, so this is a true story.

I live in Vermont and most people get their water from wells. We, however, have a spring that is gravity fed.

Last year, it smelled a bit odd (us and three kids were drinking it) and I went up and took off the concrete cover. Low and behold there were three dead snakes in the water and a dead rat (I think). All floating and bumping against the intake line that went to the house.

Cleaned it out, shocked it, and then a couple of months later , the pump it he house stopped working. When we took it apart, there was snake bits chewed up in the impeller. It had slithered through the pipe 200 yards to the house.

All still alive, have healthy immune systems, but funnily enough, don't drink the water from the boat tank
My wife would sh!t her pants if she read this story (a bit of a problem with snakes)!

Back to the OP. Municipal water pipes are often really old, and never cleaned. They don't cause (too many) problems because there is a constant flow of clean water through them.

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post #73 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

I must be amongst the lucky ones too.

I have taken water from a rain tank in Madagascar, from a stream coming down the mountain in Bora Bora. I have taken water from a ship that had been standing in Raratonga for several months, I have taken water off my sails during rain squalls.

I always use the water in my tanks for everything. The only time we have ever treated the water was when it smelt a bit dodgy (municipal water), we drained that tank, put in some purification tablets and filled it with rain tank water from our local yacht club and moved on. I have been sailing cruising boats for around 30 years and nobody has ever been sick on my boats due to water quality.

We have rain water off the roof of our house for all our water at home - we have no municipal water and don't want any. Our rain tank is completely untreated. We use it for everything. Nobody gets sick. 6000 other people on our island do the same in their homes'

I heard about giardia for the first time last week when I was discussing fitting a 5 micron filter and was told that it would not remove giardia. I fitted a 2 micron filter and the total dissolved solids (TSD) in our rain water dropped from 26 to 22 and the flow of water reduced by 60%. The filter is now in a locker in the workshop where it will probably stay until I need the space and throw it out. The TSD in the mineral water that my wife buys was 77. The water from my mate's RO watermaker is around 60. Yes I know that TSD does not speak for bacteria so don't bother going there.

In my humble opinion if water was such a killer, this planet would not be over-populated - a few billion people in the world drink unpurified water every day and have done so for centuries. Yes I know some of them die. People die from eating fast foods.

And finally, for those that refill their disposable water bottles - the plastics that those bottles are made of are apparently not very compatible with the chlorine in your municipal water and are probably not that great for being refilled.

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post #74 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

Good post, Andre... It's always tough to trump a Kiwi when it comes to sensibility and practicality... (grin)

Most absurd example I've ever dealt with regarding this issue, was a delivery client who insisted the only bottled water permitted aboard would be FIJI Water. Not due to the taste or anything, he loved the RECTANGULAR BOTTLES, believing that they stowed far more efficiently, or wouldn't roll if tipped over... I once saw him throw away a couple of cases of water away after we delivered the boat back from Jamaica, where we had only been able to provision the boat with water contained in the 'forbidden' cylindrical bottles... LMAO!

Few things today are more laughable, or depressingly ironic, than the American embrace of a product like FIJI Water:


If you drink bottled water, you've probably drunk Fiji. Or wanted to. Even though it's shipped from the opposite end of the globe, even though it retails for nearly three times as much as your basic supermarket water, Fiji is now America's leading imported water, beating out Evian. It has spent millions pushing not only the seemingly life-changing properties of the product itself, but also the company's green cred and its charity work. Put all that together in an iconic bottle emblazoned with a cheerful hibiscus, and everybody, from the Obamas to Paris and Nicole to Diddy and Kimora, is seen sipping Fiji.

That's by design. Ever since a Canadian mining and real estate mogul named David Gilmour launched Fiji Water in 1995, the company has positioned itself squarely at the nexus of pop-culture glamour and progressive politics. Fiji Water's chief marketing whiz and co-owner (with her husband, Stewart) is Lynda Resnick, a well-known liberal donor who casually name-drops her friends Arianna Huffington and Laurie David. ("Of course I know everyone in the world," Resnick told the UK's Observer in 2005, "every mogul, every movie star.") Manhattan's trendy Carlyle hotel pours only Fiji Water in its dog bowls, and this year's SXSW music festival featured a Fiji Water Detox Spa. "Each piece of lobster sashimi," celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa declared in 2007, "should be dipped into Fiji Water seven to ten times."
Lynda Resnick

And even as bottled water has come under attack as the embodiment of waste, Fiji seems immune. Fiji Water took out a full-page ad in Vanity Fair's 2007 green issue, nestled among stories about the death of the world's water. Two bottles sat on a table between Al Gore and Mos Def during a 2006 MySpace "Artist on Artist" discussion on climate change. Fiji was what panelists sipped at the "Life After Capitalism" conference held in New York City during the 2004 RNC protests; Fiji reps were even credentialed at last year's Democratic convention, where they handed out tens of thousands of bottles.

Nowhere in Fiji Water's glossy marketing materials will you find reference to the typhoid outbreaks that plague Fijians because of the island's faulty water supplies; the corporate entities that Fiji Water has—despite the owners' talk of financial transparency—set up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg; or the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles to its ecoconscious consumers. And, of course, you won't find mention of the military junta for which Fiji Water is a major source of global recognition and legitimacy. (Gilmour has described the square bottles as "little ambassadors" for the poverty-stricken nation.)

Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle | Mother Jones
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post #75 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post

Few things today are more laughable, or depressingly ironic, than the American embrace of a product like FIJI Water:
Spent the early portion of my professional life as a ground water engineer. I licensed several water bottling facilities. FWIW I drink tap water.
I fill my boat tanks with tap water. I fill my small water bottle with tap water.

Contrary to the hype posted earlier, chlorine in drinking water isn't deadly, there aren't regular mass poisonings from municipal systems, and I believe the odds favor a system that is checked multiple times daily for quality and safety (US municipal systems) under the EPA Clean Water Act standards over a loosely regulated "food" like bottled water which is under FDA jurisdiction.

Again, to each their own. If someone is afraid of their water system and they sleep better at night drinking from plastic bottles, have at it. Fear of the municipal system in the US are unwarranted. There have been times when standards were exceeded, or when people were made ill from the water. Water engineers and scientists don't wait for people to get ill before jumping into action to stop the carnage before the death toll mounts.

There have been areas with boil notices. These are news worthy events precisely because they are RARE. There haven't been epidemic, or large scale outbreaks of waterborne illness and disease in the US as unfortunately witnessed elsewhere in the world. One of the things I treasure about living in the US (and I have travelled to many places where this isn't true) is that anyone can enter a public space or building and have access to safe, clean, drinking water. No fee, no fine, no boiling, no need to fear cholera, giardia, crypto, or any other nasty bugs. The water from the tap has come from a system with continuos monitoring, testing, and adjustment of the system to ensure safety.

As for those not knowing what is in their fresh water tanks. Well, what can i say. You should know that your system is clean and safe even if that means installing a clean out port. I bet you wouldn't store your food in a dirty old metal box that you found lying around somewhere and couldn't see the inside of. It's your boat, clean your tanks (don't get your drawers in a bunch over this, meant it as a light hearted call to action )

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post #76 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

While it is advisable to take reasonable precautions with source water, life long preoccupations and extreme efforts to ensure "purity" has likely led to far more susceptibility to disease and infection in humans than not. By not allowing ourselves and our children to be exposed to "dirt" (for want of a better description), our and their immune systems are under developed and accordingly unable to adequately deal with incidental exposures to agents that would be of little effect otherwise. Considering the evolution of the human body, and how humans have had to live over the generations, the body is not quite so "fragile" as many seem to have been convinced. Otherwise humans would certainly not have survived for thousands of years before the advent of "modern" sanitary conditions. Old "Ugh" certainly didn't have "bottled" water tho' he and Mrs. Ugh would have undoubtedly preferred glacial melt or spring water to water flowing down a lazy, and likely "contaminated", muddy, river.

In general, if water smells and tastes good, or at least not bad, it is likely safe for consumption although reasonable filtration and purification is certainly wise. If not, there would probably not be many people over the age of 65, most of whom experienced their childhood before the era of such abject preoccupation with purity. They (we) all would have died of horrible diseases much earlier in life.


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post #77 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

Originally Posted by pyewackette View Post
I was wondering, how many actually drink the water in their tanks?
I never drink water from the water tank when chartering someone else's boat. Always have drunk the water from my own boats tanks, because I know that they are clean and sanitary, as I'm the one keeping them that way.

If you know the water is clean, and want to use it, but don't like the taste or smell, then there are charcoal filters available that will take care of that issue.

Oh yeah... And the only time I've drunk Fiji Water was when I was in Fiji and it was offered for free!

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post #78 of 89 Old 06-17-2013
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

I read this whole thread with sort of a confused look on my face, how can anyone who is concerned about their health want to drink the water that comes in those little bottles? I have transported bottled water for every major brand out there, and none of it is any better than your tap water. Distilled water might be cleaner, but you might be shocked to see the bottle manufacturing situation, the bottling plant situation and so forth.

In the past I drank water from my onboard tanks, on one of my previous boats I had a katadyne watermaker, and on the next I will have a watermaker as well. I also carried a manual hand pump type backup watermaker, in case of emergency. I drank the water from my tanks, which I treated with a small amount of chlorine bleach, because I knew it was safer than the water from strange marinas in Mexico, Belize, and Venezuela, but I have drunk tap water in each of those countries without any harm...not recommending it to anyone, but it did not harm me, mostly because I have lived in third world countries and lived on the economy for many years. (meaning I lived just like the locals) My immune system is very strong because I was not one of those children who grew up sanitized, we played outdoors, ate bugs and dirt and all of that sort of stuff, and it made us stronger.

I have had a couple of fairly large boats, but I never have had the room to carry a supply of drinking water in little plastic bottles or jugs, I need my storage for important stuff like Charmin, and sun tan lotion, and spare parts for stuff that will break on the way and cost a fortune in Chile or Venezuela, or wherever.

I am a clean freak on board, and when I buy a boat one of the required things to do for me is to take off every single line and hose on the boat and inspect and clean them. It takes a lot of time, it means I have to get into places I do not like to have to get into, squishing my six foot tall self into little spaces is not much fun, but I have found that if I do it while I am at home I usually do not have to do it in the middle of the deep blue sea, as it were, which is much better. I purge my water tanks, my fuel tanks, my waste tanks, and I do general PM's on every system.

For the RO system on the boat I have always had a sediment filter inline between the intake and the pump supplying the system, then the filter system, and a UV lamp in the tanks. The ultra violet lamp kills the bacteria that might grow on the walls of the tank above the water level if the chlorine does not get them the UV will. The system does draw current, but so does my laptop and radar, so I have always had solar, wind and diesel for power generation. Also I installed a high current alternator extra house batteries and an isolation system to make sure my house and cranking batteries do not deplete one another. The RO system I had onboard on my last boat made enough water in three to four hours to keep the tanks topped up, and I would not want my main system to be running more than that and would like to have it run a lot less.
I am very interested in hearing from anyone who is running a watermaker on a boat in the 40 foot range, sailing with an average of four persons aboard, and can tell me what systems they use and how they perform. I am looking for my next boat and most I have looked at seriously are around 40-54 feet, my finances most likely would not let me do much more and my needs would sort of cramp with anything less than about 36 feet. My experience in cruising is not like most of yours, it seems so many here have 30 years of cruising, I only have a few years of cruising the coasts and down only as far as Maracaibo, and most of that on a Carver motor yacht, my sailboat experience is less, but it will not be staying that way if I can help it.

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Re: Drinking water tank water.

I'm guessing that things like BPA in plastic and Fluoride in municipal water systems, are not big problems to anyone?
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Re: Drinking water tank water.

BPA is not a big problem if you don't count things like your tender enlarged breasts and early menses onset in your pre teen daughter.
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