Is tank water really good for you?

Don’t we all love our fresh untreated rain water? We often a liken it to natures gift, pure rain water, but how pure is it actually? Is it causing us sick and we aren’t realizing.

Those who are drinking untreated rain water are at risk of contracting bad bacteria in your digestive system which can have a very negative effect to our health.

There are 3 main bacteria’s that can cause an issue for our health. The first one and probably the most commonly known one is Escherichia coli (E. coli). E. coli is transmitted via faeces and can cause gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhoea. If you water tank is not sealed properly or you aren’t cleaning your gutters droppings from birds, possums and other animals can run directly into our water tank where the bacteria can grow and thrive.

The next common bacteria is giardia, a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia intestinalis. This parasite lives in a person or animals intestine and is passed in stools so similar to E. coli if you are getting animal stools in your water tank this would be how you would contract it. Giardia has a protective outer shell and can live in the environment for a long period of time.

What are the symptoms of giardia?

Giardia infection can cause a variety of intestinal symptoms, which include:

▪ Diarrhoea

▪ Gas or flatulence

▪ Greasy stools that tend to float

▪ Stomach cramps

▪ Upset stomach or nausea.

If you have these symptoms that has been discussed so far you should consider talking to your naturopath to get a comprehensive stool analysis done to test what bacteria is in your digestive system.

How can we prevent these from occurring?

What I think is an amazing thing to install on your tanks is a first flush diverter. After a long hot, dry period with small amounts of water lingering in the pipes plus dust, leaves and droppings that’s where a lot of the bacteria grows. The idea is to divert the first rain after summer or a drought away from running into the tank to flush out the pipes and prevent any of the bad bacteria from going to the tank. Alternatively, if you can remove the tank inlet at the first rain so you don’t get any run into the water tank. Location of your tank also has a massive role to play.

Cleaning your tanks on a regular basis is the next step to take. It is suggested that you should wash and clean your gutters, pipes and pumps every 3 months, get your water tested every 6 months and every 2 years desludge. The desludge process should be performed by a trained professional who can effectively remove the sediment build up and completely clean the inside of your tank.

My closing tips to prevent water tank illness

- Seal your water storage so animals, birds and sunlight cannot get in

- Clean your roof, gutters and water tanks on a regular basis.

- Installing a ‘first flush’ diversion device – the first rain after a dry period contains most of the contaminants

- Test water every 6 months

Stay tuned for my next article on how to remove parasites from your digestive system naturally.