Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Imagine life without fresh water, a vital necessity that fuels every aspect of our existence. From the food we eat to the cleanliness of our homes, fresh water plays an essential role in maintaining our well-being and livelihood. It’s so interwoven into our daily routines that we usually take it for granted… until we don’t have it. The recent water crisis events globally have underscored our need not just for water, but fresh, clean water.
That’s why it’s not only essential to have access to water but to ensure its freshness. This is where water storage tanks come into play. They are much more than just giant containers; they are the stronghold that protects water from quality degradation. Water storage tanks allow us to have access to fresh and clean water around the clock. Be it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, or irrigation, these containers play a big role in ensuring the water’s safety, hygiene, and freshness.
Table of contents
- Choosing the right equipment for water storage
- Preparing and filling up your storage tank
- Maintaining the freshness of the water
- Water filtration options
- Testing the water quality
Choosing the right equipment for water storage
Water storage is a science as much as it is an art, and the correct equipment can make all the difference in your quest to keep water fresh. This begins with picking the right water storage tank. There are several different types of storage tanks available, with each tailored for different needs and environments.
Different types of storage tanks
There are several types of storage tanks, but these are the most common ones:
1. Above-ground Fiberglass tanks: These are most often used for temporary water storage. They are easy to install and relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind that these types are more susceptible to changing weather conditions.
2. Underground Fiberglass Tanks: Ideally suited for long-term storage, underground tanks are protected from the elements but can be more complicated to install.
3. Polyethylene Tanks: Lightweight, inexpensive, and resistant to rust and corrosion, these plastic tanks are a popular choice. They, however, may not be as durable as their metal counterparts.
4. Metal Tanks: Often made from stainless steel, these tanks can weather harsh conditions and last a long time, but may be pricier.
Factors to consider when choosing storage tanks
Choosing between these options requires considering a few key factors.
1. Size: The size of the tank you choose will depend on the amount of water you anticipate needing to store. This becomes especially important during critical times such as droughts. A good rule of thumb is to have enough water storage to last at least three days.
2. Material: The tank’s material can impact the taste and safety of your water. Materials, such as food-grade plastic, stainless steel, and fiberglass, are generally safe for water storage. Avoid storing water in containers made of toxic or porous materials that can leach into the water over time.
3. Durability: The durability of your water storage tank is crucial. Tanks made of concrete, steel, or heavy-duty plastic tend to last longer. They should be sturdy and able to withstand environmental risks and general wear and tear.
Preparing and filling up your storage tank
Let’s talk about the proper techniques and practices to prepare and fill up your water storage tank. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as simple as just dumping water into your tank.
1. Clean the tank
Before you fill up your tank, you need to make sure it’s clean. The cleanliness of your tank plays a significant role in maintaining the freshness of the water. To do this, empty the tank if there’s any pre-existing water. Use a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts of water and scrub the inner surfaces of the tank. After scrubbing, rinse the tank thoroughly. Make sure no residue is left behind as this could lead to unfavorable tastes and could potentially harm the quality of the water.
2. Use purified water
Now that your tank is squeaky clean, it’s time to fill it up. But what type of water should you use? The answer is purified water. While it may be tempting to fill the tank with tap water, it does not guarantee the absence of harmful contaminants. On the other hand, purified water has undergone a rigorous filtration process that ensures the majority of harmful substances have been removed.
3. Fill up the tank
So, how do you go about filling up the tank with water? It would be best to use a hose that’s been specially designed for drinking water. Regular garden hoses often contain substances that are not safe for consumption. This type of hose ensures that no harmful contaminants will infiltrate your water upon filling. It’s also advisable to fill the tank to the very top. This reduces the amount of air in the tank, thereby decreasing the water’s exposure to oxygen and the possibility of bacterial growth.
Maintaining the freshness of the water
So now you’ve chosen the ideal storage tank, and you have it filled with water. Wonderful! But your job isn’t done. Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your water fresh and usable. Here’s how:
1. Keep the tank in a cool and dark place
Avoid warm, well-lit areas for your storage tank. Warm temperatures and sunlight can encourage the growth of algae and bacteria, which can adulterate the quality of the water. Cool, dark areas will help prevent these unwanted organisms from growing and will effectively keep your water fresh for longer.
2. Regular cleaning schedule
Establishing a regular cleaning schedule for your water tank is non-negotiable.
1. Frequency: Depending on your usage and the quality of the water you’re storing, your tank may need to be cleaned every few months. However, for tanks that hold drinking water, monthly cleaning is often recommended.
2. Cleaning Process: The cleaning process usually involves draining the tank, using a long-handled brush to scrub the interior, and thoroughly rinsing to get rid of any residue. Always ensure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning non-potable water tanks.
3. Use of disinfectants
Here is where some people get lost. Using disinfectants will help in eliminating bacteria, so it’s a delicate process that requires a lot of thought.
1. Choose the Right Disinfectant: There’s a wide range of disinfectants available on the market. Chlorine is the most common one, but you can also use hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or water treatment tablets. The choice of disinfectant depends on the possible contaminants in your water, and it’s wise to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the right product and concentration to use.
2. Application of Disinfectants: Typically, the disinfectant should be added to the tank during the filling process to ensure it’s mixed well. Always follow all on-pack instructions and safety warnings.
3. Risks of Overuse: Be wary of using too much disinfectant. More doesn’t always mean better. Excessive amounts can complicate the cleaning process and cause a residual chemical taste in the water.
4. Prevention of algae growth
1. Risks of Algae Build-Up: Excessive algae growth can pose a few problems. It can clog your pipes, affect the taste and smell of the water, and it can even deplete the oxygen in the water, affecting its quality.
2. Using Opaque Tanks: One way to prevent algae is by using dark or opaque tanks. Since algae need sunlight to grow, blocking their access to light stops their multiplication.
3. Utilizing Algaecides: Using algaecides, which kill or slow the growth of algae, can be an effective way of preventing algae buildup. However, always make sure the one you’re using is safe for the kind of water you’re storing. Certain ones are formulated specifically for drinking water, while others are meant for non-potable water. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using algaecides.
Water filtration options
Water filtration in storage tanks is often an overlooked aspect when it comes to maintaining water freshness, but the benefits it provides are undeniably substantial. Not all water going into the tank is of optimum quality, thus we need filters to ensure what we consume is healthy and safe.
Benefits of using filters
1. Purification: Filters are effective in eliminating bacteria, viruses, and other potential pathogens from water, thereby providing safe, clean water for consumption.
2. Elimination of flavors and odors: Funny smells or tastes in water are usually markers of contamination. Using a filter helps ensure that your stored water tastes just like it should – clean and refreshing.
3. Removal of particulates: Over time, particulates can build up in water. These could be organic and inorganic matter, rust particles, sediment, or even microplastics. A filter helps in catching these particles, rendering your stored water clearer and purer.
Choosing the right filter for your needs
1. Activated Carbon Filters: Also known as pre-filters or carbon filters, these are perfect for the removal of large particles like sediment and silt. They’re also great at absorbing nasty tastes and odors.
2. Reverse Osmosis: This removes contaminants and minerals, delivering very clean water. However, it can waste a fair amount of water in the process, so it’s not for everyone.
3. Ultraviolet (UV) Filters: UV is an excellent choice if you’re looking to kill bacteria and viruses. However, it doesn’t remove particulates or chemicals, so is often used alongside other types of filters.
4. Ceramic Filters: These are great at filtering out bacteria, protozoa, and microbial cysts. Also, some models offer an antibacterial adjunct to the ceramic.
5. Ion Exchange Filters: They’re great for softening water by removing limescale but not so great at removing most other contaminants.
6. Distillation: Very effective for removing contaminants, but it uses a lot of energy.
Generally, a combination of these methods in a multi-stage filter system will provide the best results. Consider your specific requirements and test your source water to determine what’s needed before making a decision.
Testing the water quality
Assuring that water stored in your tank remains fresh and safe to consume is a continual responsibility. Trapped in a closed environment, water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms, lending importance to regular water testing. This not only ensures that the water remains safe to use or consume, but it also helps identify any problems in your tank or your water purification and storage practice. In fact, it acts as a proactive measure, helping you make necessary adjustments in the nick of time and avoid potential water-borne diseases.
How to test your water
Testing the water in your storage tank is generally straightforward and cost-effective with the help of home testing kits. These kits often include tests for bacteria, nitrates, pH, hardness, and chlorine.
Here are basic steps to follow when testing your water:
1. Retrieve a water sample: Be sure to cleanse your hands and the container you intend to use for collecting the water. Dip the container into your water tank, ensuring not to touch the inside of the cap or the container itself to avoid contamination.
2. Follow the test kit instructions: This typically involves adding a test strip, tablet, or solution to the water sample and waiting for a color change.
3. Record the results: Keep a log of the results each time you test the water. This will help you to track the water quality over time and identify any trending issues.
Remember, results can vary through the tank, so it’s a good idea to test water from different locations and depths in your tank.
water testing results
Post-testing, the water changes its color, suggesting its quality. Each test kit comes with a color chart that aids in assessing the water quality. From showing the presence of bacteria to the water’s pH level, the colorimeter, the same as in your chemistry class, delivers comprehensive yet straightforward results.
For instance, if the water displays a yellow, green, or blue tinge after a bacteria test, it implies the presence of bacteria. Meanwhile, a pH less than 7 indicates acid, while a higher pH shows that the water is alkaline. The ideal pH for drinking water is between 6.5 and 8.5.
This can depend on various factors, but a general rule of thumb is to clean your tank at least once a year. However, if your water source is questionable, you may want to consider cleaning it more frequently.
Chlorine is a commonly used disinfectant for water storage tanks. It’s effective in eliminating microorganisms that can contaminate your water. However, make sure you use it carefully and as instructed to avoid any health risks.
Algae build-up can change your water color to green. You may also notice a distinct smell and taste in your water. If you spot these signs, it’s time to clean your tank and use a proper algaecide.
While it’s not necessarily a requirement, using a water filter with your storage tank can significantly improve your water quality. It helps remove any possible contaminants and polishes the water to give it a fresh, clean taste.
When conducting water tests, it’s crucial to check for the pH level, hardness, iron, manganese, bacteria, nitrates, and any signs of harmful contaminants. If the test results show any signs of contamination, immediate actions should be taken to address the issue and ensure your water is safe to consume.
If possible, yes. Light promotes the growth of algae. Thus, keeping your tank in a dark place helps reduce the risk of algae infestation, maintaining the freshness and cleanliness of your water.
It primarily depends on your specific needs. However, some of the factors you should consider are the size, material, and durability of the tank. It should be large enough to meet your water needs, made of a safe, durable material, and robust enough to withstand the elements.
As the final words I want to say that maintaining the freshness and safety of your water supply is paramount. So, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you have doubts or concerns, and stay hydrated, folks!