Sanitizing Your Freshwater Storage Tank and Plumbing

I'm not sure where I got this .pdf info. Sorry

Background: An improperly maintained freshwater storage tank can harbor harmful pathogens that have thepotential to not only ruin your trip, but may cause long-lasting and serious health effects. It is a good idea to periodically clean and sanitize your tank to prevent any possible problems with water quality. If you follow these simple steps, you will easily and effectively eliminate any potential disease causing organisms that might be lurking in your fresh water tank.

Before starting the procedure, make sure you have capacity in your grey and black water tanks sufficient to accept 30 gallons of water between the two. Most of the water will be going to the grey water tank.

  • Step #1: If your fresh water tank has water in it already, drain it completely by removing the plug in the bottom of the tank. Take note of the characteristics of the water draining from the tank. Does it appear to have sediment in it? Does it have an off-putting odor? Is there any sign of slimy growth in the water? Be sure to replace the plug once all the water has drained out.
  • Step #2: Use a funnel and carefully pour 1/4 cup of non-scented household bleach (5.25% chlorine) for each 10 gallons of tank capacity into your freshwater tank. Then fill your tank with clean water. I dilute the bleach in a 1 gallon milk jug before pouring in the fresh tank.
  • Step #3: Use your water pump to bring the chlorinated water to all cold water fixtures in your RV. Do not open any hot water spigot - those lines are already sanitized due to heat. Run each fixture just long enough to be sure the chlorinated water is coming out.
  • Step #4: Let the water sit undisturbed in the fresh water tank and plumbing for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Step #5: Open the fresh water tank drain and empty the tank. Now, refill the fresh tank with clean water. Leave the drain open at first to rinse any remaining sediments, chlorine, or other unwanted crud from the tank. Close the drain valve when the water draining is fresh and clean.
  • Step #6: . Use your water pump to clear all plumbing lines. Flush the toilet several times. Run the shower, bathroom sink, and galley sink cold faucets. The idea is to run enough fresh water to clear all lines of the chlorinated water.

You should never empty the tank full of highly chlorinated water directly out on the ground near trees and plants or into a waterway (storm drains, gutters, etc.). Using the black and gray tanks to waste and then dumping into a sewer is totally acceptable.

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