Is rain tank water safe to drink?

A properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water. Occasionally there are cases of contaminated rainwater sickness. In urban areas, public water supply remains the most reliable source of drinking water for the community. Water is a valuable resource and rainwater stored in a tank is safe to drink as long as appropriate measures are taken.

You just need to make sure that the parts of your rainwater collection system are made of food-safe materials and that they are properly maintained. Many experts say that untreated rainwater may not be safe for human consumption, even though national guidelines suggest that the risk of getting sick from drinking rainwater is low. The answer is yes and no. In its purest form, rainwater is certainly cleaner than treated water, since it is free of chemicals that can be added as part of your state's water treatment program.

But that doesn't necessarily make it safe to drink it, especially from your rainwater tank. As long as rainwater is clear, has little taste or odor, and comes from a well-maintained water intake system, it is likely to be safe and unlikely to cause any illness for most users. Rainwater is generally a safe and reliable source of drinking water. A well-maintained and well-managed supply system helps to further protect water quality.

Water used for domestic purposes for drinking, preparing food, or bathing must meet water quality guidelines to protect your health and that of your family. This “first flush” can be used for washing, watering plants, or other non-drinking uses. If mosquitoes can access tank water, it can become a breeding ground for insects that spread diseases, said Dr. Moglia, which was part of a research project that inspected 450 tanks in Melbourne.

Filtering can also remove some, but not all, of the hazardous metals that have been found in many Australian water tanks. Bacteria that can thrive in water tanks and traces of toxic metal that can be found in roof runoff prompt experts, such as Michael Oelgemoeller, a water treatment researcher at James Cook University, to suggest that rainwater should be your last option if you have access to other treated water sources. Proper maintenance of the tank, catchment system, roof, gutters and inlet is essential to ensure a safe water supply and is best done before heavy rain seasons. Tank Shop sells a self-cleaning system for tanks, and many who install it notice a much fresher tasting water with no odor, while others are happy to see the water in their toilets change from a little color to being very clear.

Alternatively, the tank inlet should be disconnected so that the first rain runoff after a drought is not collected. While sludge is usually not harmful, it can cause problems if it enters the water column of your tank, where it can be pumped from the tank. Consider water from surface water sources such as streams and rivers, water from those sources is usually “harder” because it contains salts and other minerals. In these areas, NSW Health supports the use of rainwater tanks for non-drinking uses, such as flushing toilets, washing clothes or in water heating systems, and outdoors for uses such as garden irrigation, car washing, filling swimming pools, spas and ornamental ponds, and firefighting.

Most rainwater tanks in Australia today should be safe, however, you should always check that the tank you are buying complies with Australian standard AS4020: testing products for use in contact with drinking water. The top of the tank should have a hermetically sealed access cover, to prevent animals and children from entering, but to allow access to the tank for cleaning and inspection purposes. To maintain a safe water supply after the initial dose, 1 gram of calcium hypochlorite or 4 milliliters of sodium hypochlorite per 1000 liters should be added to the rainwater tank and allowed to stand for a minimum of two hours. If your rainwater tank is made of materials that are safe for use in contact with drinking water, and your rainwater collection system is maintained, then there is no reason why water quality is not of a consumable standard.

Showering, flushing toilets, and watering gardens with rainwater help conserve city water supplies. . .

Thomas Nguyen
Thomas Nguyen

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