Maintaining Water Quality: Rainwater is considered by many as clean and pure though in reality it is not always so. The quality of your tank water will depend on the manner in which it has been collected. If the water is collected in rainwater tanks from roof runoffs then there may be a risk of toxic metal and bacteria contamination.
What harmful contaminants are present in rainwater tanks?
The major contaminants of rainwater tanks are the innumerable microorganisms and toxic metal traces that enter through roofing materials or air pollution. One of the main bacteria present in rainwater tanks is the E.coli which enters through animal feces and can be the reason for gastrointestinal ailments including diarrhea and vomiting. The bacteria flourish in the waters due to possums and bird droppings which are washed into your rainwater tank. A large number of ailment cases may not be reported because most of the affected people recover after a couple of days’ illness.
What are the checkpoints to be observed?
- Ensure the cleanliness of your gutters as otherwise fecal matter in it can get washed into the rainwater tank. It is essential to undertake the cleaning operation at an interval of three months.
- Ensure that a good quality mesh is covering your rainwater tank. This will prevent vermin and other disease causing insects from entering into the water.
- Check the water quality after intervals of six months; this can be done with the help of water testing kit. Water can also be physically checked by observing the sediment levels, through smell or its color.
- Check the functioning of pipes and pumps every six months.
- De-sludge your rainwater tank every few years and get it done from a professional contractor. This will ensure the removal of sediment and build-up in the tank is done correctly.
What to do when in doubt?
If you have tested your tank water with a water testing kit then this should give you the peace of mind that it is safe to use. You can also consider using a water filtration system though keep in mind that in lab settings eliminate E.coli bacteria but the same cannot be said about cheaper home filtration systems. If they are not designed correctly or not maintained then they can often become a breeding place for bacteria. Ensure that your water filtration system is installed by a professional and maintained on a regular basis.
Maintaining Water Quality is important even if your drinking water comes though city water supplies, maintaining your rainwater tank quality is a good option as it can be safely used for watering plants, flushing toilets and showers. This reduces the burden on town water supplies and it helps in decreasing runoff into water channels safeguarding urban waterways.