So, you're concerned about whether the water from your tank is safe to drink, right? Maybe what's coming out of the tap is discoloured? Perhaps it's cloudy, or smells a bit 'off'. Whatever the case, before you put that glass of water to your lips, it's important to make sure that what you're consuming is safe.
Maintaining clean and safe drinking water is super important for your household. And the good news is that it's not hard to do. As the old cliche goes "prevention is better than cure" and by regularly testing and disinfecting your water, you can effectively eliminate bacteria, viruses and other harmful contaminants that may compromise the quality of your water supply.
Ready to find out more? Let's dive in (to the article, not the tank!)...
Water contamination isn't always easy to detect, but here are a few tell-tale signs to look for:
There are several ways that the water inside your tank can become contaminated. And identifying the source of the contamination is important:
The primary source of contamination in rainwater tanks is the roof catchment area. Here are some of the things that can affect the quality of the water in your tank:
Poorly Maintained Gutters and Downpipes
If your gutters and downpipes are not regularly cleaned and maintained, they can become rusty and/or clogged with debris. The stagnant water which collects in clogged downpipes and gutters provides the perfect environment for the growth of bacteria, algae and other contaminants, which will find their way into your tank at some point.
Are there any openings or gaps in the rainwater tank system where animals such as rodents, possums or insects can gain access to the tank? Their droppings can contaminate the water with harmful bacteria or pathogens. And worst case scenario, an animal can die and fall into the tank, creating big issues!
Cross-Contamination of Water Sources
Cross-contamination can occur if the rainwater system is connected to another water source, such as mains water. Backflow or improper plumbing connections can lead to the mixing of different water sources, potentially introducing contaminants into your rainwater.
Unfortunately, contamination sometimes happens, but by being proactive and practising good maintenance habits, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of contamination of their rainwater. Here are some common-sense preventative measures that will go a long way towards maintaining the quality of your drinking water:
Draining and Cleaning Your Rainwater Tank
If your tank has a buildup of sediment or sludge at the bottom of it, your first job is to drain the tank completely and clean it out.
It is important to recognise and take the appropriate steps to minimise the safety risks associated with cleaning out your water tank.
Common dangers include:
There are a host of different disinfection options for rainwater, and the method you choose will largely depend on the size of the tank and what you are using the water for.
Some of the most common methods of treatment are:
Test your tank water frequently. Water testing kits are easy to use and readily available at your local plumbing or hardware supplier or can be purchased online. Home testing provides valuable insights into what's happening inside your tank, including pH levels, bacterial contamination and other potential issues.
If you are using a chemical such as chlorine as a disinfectant, a water testing kit can help you monitor the level of chlorine in the water.
Regular home water testing helps to ensure that your tank water is safe for consumption and if there are any issues arising, you can address them before the situation gets out of hand.
Want to know more about keeping your drinking water safe? The team at Orion Australia is always available for a chat, so phone us on 1800 752 784 or flick us a message here, and one of our water tank specialists will be in touch soon.