Is rain water safe to drink?

Environmental pollutants, harmful bacteria, and parasites can contaminate rainwater, and drinking it can make you sick. Boiling, Filtering and Chemically Treating Rainwater Can Help Make It Safer for Human Consumption. A properly maintained rainwater tank can provide good quality drinking water. As long as rainwater is clear, has little taste or smell, and comes from a well-maintained water intake system, it is likely to be safe and unlikely to cause illness for most users.

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. 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. 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.

Alternatively, the tank inlet should be disconnected so that the first rain runoff after a dry season is not collected. Filtering can also remove some, but not all, of the hazardous metals that have been found in many Australian water tanks. So, making sure your water supply is properly chlorinated, whether it's used for drinking, washing, or in your garden, will provide security against harmful contaminants in your water supply. In urban areas, public water supply remains the most reliable source of good quality drinking water for the community.

If your home is over-sprayed with overhead chemicals, clean the collection pipe of your rainwater tank to prevent pesticides from entering the tank. Consider adding a grate to the water inlet or emptying the rain barrel at least every 10 days to prevent mosquitoes from using the rain barrel as a breeding ground. If you collect and store rainwater for drinking, you have an individual water system and are responsible for ensuring that the water is safe. In these areas, NSW Health supports the use of rainwater tanks for uses not related to drinking water consumption, 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 extinguishing fires.

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. . The research of Dr. Ross has examined the levels of zinc, lead, chromium, copper and cadmium in water tanks in South Australia.

And check that your mesh is in good condition every three months; a recent CSIRO study found that more than 10 percent of the water tanks inspected had mesh that was in poor repair condition enough to allow pests and vermin to enter the tank. If the roof catchment and tank are well maintained and the water looks, smells and tastes clean, the risk of getting sick is low. The best and safest way to collect rainwater is through the use of storage containers specifically manufactured by a reputable company that produces steel rainwater tanks for the purpose of directly collecting rain. .

Thomas Nguyen
Thomas Nguyen

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