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Is It Safe To Drink Rainwater from Your Water Tank?

Is it Safe to Drink Rainwater from your Water Tank?Most people are comfortable with the idea of using rainwater for washing clothes or flushing toilets, but some have reservations about bathing, showering or drinking rainwater.

If your rainwater tank is made of materials that are safe for use in contact with drinking water, and your rainwater harvesting system is maintained, then there is no reason why your water quality would not be of a consumable standard.

“But, I Heard Rainwater in Water Tanks Isn’t Safe To Drink”

Many rainwater tanks aren’t well maintained and you would not want to drink the water stored within. Consider the outback of Australia however where access to a fresh water supply is often limited, rainwater tanks often provide a valuable source of water that can be cooked with and consumed.

Government health departments generally recommend against the use of rainwater for drinking purposes where a reticulated potable water supply is available. The reason for this being rainwater tanks need to be properly maintained. People will often overlook doing this in tamidst their busy lives, and this lack of maintenance reduces the quality of water stored.

Provided that you carry out routine rainwater tank maintenance and take proper precautions with the water stored in your tank, then the rainwater should be perfectly safe to drink. You will also be able to use it for cooking and bathing.

Benefits of Washing in “Softer” Rainwater

You have likely heard of “soft” water and “hard” water. Rainwater is naturally soft, but what does that mean? It means there are less minerals dissolved in it. Consider water from surface water sources like creeks and rivers, water from such sources are normally “harder” since they contain salts and other minerals.

The beauty of softer rainwater is that it allows soaps and detergents to work better. They will lather up much more easily making rainwater ideal for washing clothes, dishes and people. Whether using rainwater to wash your hands or body, or shampooing your hair in the shower, you’ll find your skin and hair feeling more fresh and silkier. Rainwater is also great for people with sensitive skin and can reduce any negative symptoms associated with hard water.

Safe Rainwater Tanks for Storing Potable Water

Most rainwater tanks in Australia today should be safe, however you should always check to ensure that the tank you are purchasing complies with the Australian Standard AS4020 – Testing of products for use in contact with drinking water.

Any tank manufacturer who claims this of their product should be able to provide you with a certificate of compliance, or the name of the independent organisation that certified them and a certification number. It is important to identify that this standard applies to the finished tank product itself, and not merely the materials used.

Clark Tanks in the time past also manufactured steel water tanks, but now focus upon manufacturing food-grade polyethylene water tanks. If you do purchase a steel tank, even stainless steel tanks, then it is often safest to make use of an inner poly lining.

Consider that in Tasmania, many stainless steel tanks were found to contain high levels of lead. This happened because the solders using to join the stainless steel sheets together were made of lead. So even if you go with a stainless steel tank, we still recommend performing a test for lead every so often to ensure you and your family aren’t being poisoned.

Poly water tanks on the other hand have no such drawbacks, and in fact many steel tanks whether galvanised, AQUAPLATE® or ZINCALUME® have an inner poly lining.

It Is Safe to Drink Rainwater from Properly Maintained Food-Safe Water Tanks

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand some issues if you will be using your rainwater tank as a potable water supply. Just ensure you select an AS4020 certificate water tank, take proper precautions and ensure your rainwater tank is properly maintained.


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