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Pathogens issues with tankwater. What options do we have to make tankwater safe to drink?

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A study done by Massey University has shown that the water quality of rain water stored in water tanks is a subject of concern!

Many of us think its not really such an issue ...
Because we don't easily see into gutters or into the tank, the dirt and sludge are not obvious.

But the truth lays deeper ...

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all the decaying leaves, bird droppings, dead insects .. all goes into the rainwater tank... 

Do you really want to drink this water ??

Summer holidays are just round the corner, and we are looking forward to a nice time on holiday, the bach whether rented or our own is waiting ... but it may not be so nice when we wake up after the first few day with an upset tummy. In particularly children are more vulnerable ...

Rainwater quality often is not as good as we hope for. How come?

There are many environmental influences which deteriorate the water quality and make the water contaminated. A cocktail of bird droppings, possum and rat faeces, dead insects, leaves, dust, heavy metal leakage from roofs, moss build up, decay of organic and animal matter, etc all can be contributing to a medium to severe issue of contamination.

Water samples conducted by a large-scale 2006 study (Massey University ) of rural collection systems have shown Micro-organisms found in rainwater tanks can include salmonella, e. coli, campylobacter, aeromonas, giardia, cryptosporidium and legionella.

Image above: Legionella bacteria

image left: Giardia cyst

Cryptosporidium contamination

Ecoli bacteria

   Bacteria in water

Direct links between contaminated water and illness are seldom found because problems are not reported unless there is a substantial outbreak. Individuals may put their symptoms down to a digestive upset and will not seek medical help unless the illness is severe or lasts a long time

The issues are getting exponentially bigger with the increase of summer temperatures as bacteria and pathogens are increasing in concentration.

Bacteria, cysts etc can cause a range of symptoms and dis-ease:

  • Headaches
  • Head spins from light to severe
  • Digestive upset, 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lack of energy
  • Depressed states
  • Brain fog
  • Mood swings 
  • Severe illness

"A study showed that children under five years old were particularly susceptible to giardia infections from rainwater." says Stan Abbott, director of Massey University’s Roof Water Research Centre.

“We looked at the microbiological quality of roof-collected rainwater from 560 rural homes and found that at least half exceeded the acceptable standards for drinking water and 40% showed heavy faecal contamination”

What should we do to mitigate the issues and how do we achieve good drinking water quality for everybody in the household, but in particularly to achieve water quality that is safe to drink for children and small infants as well as for more vulnerable adults.

I) Ideally we clean the gutters and the tank inside regularly.
It is hard to put a time frame behind, as every house setting has its own situation. When there are trees close by the contamination is much higher as when there are not.
Also when there are possums around who can get onto the roof, the issues are amplified.
There are also options to mitigate the issue to install smart measures:

  • Install self-cleaning screened downpipe rainheads
  • Install a first flush diverter so that the first 200 litres or so of rainfall goes automatically to waste and so prevents bird and animal droppings, dust, ash and airborne chemical residues from entering the storage tank.
  • Install a floating value draw-off pipe so that clean water is extracted from the top of the tank.
  • At the same time, install a “calmed inlet” pipe that takes incoming rainwater towards the bottom of the tank but incorporates a U-bend to avoid disturbing any sediment.

II) For peace of mind and to improve the water quality in any case, install water filters:

I am quoting in the following various options that Ionza is able to provide for tank water issues:

1) Very effective to install: Water filter systems with an Ultra filter 0.01 micron filter as an Underbench system, or Benchtop system:

1) Alka Flow: Benchtop version - connected to the sink tap with supplied T-diverter valve ( no installer required)

The ALKA FLOW is taking out all bacteria, ecoli, cysts etc with an inbuilt Ultra filter 0.01 micron. It offers very effective purification!

This system also corrects the pH and introduces minerals into the water with the Alka Cartridge. This is a relevant objective, as rain water is acidic, has no minerals and may cause harm to the body longterm when drinking acidic water, mineral deficient water.

2) Ultra X- The Ultra X  3-Filter system is the non-electric alternative to a UV system, taking effective care of rural water issues right at the point of usage in the kitchen. The Ultra X system removes bacteria, ecoli, giardia and cysts with a a powerful 0.01 micron filter. This system does not add minerals or corrects the acidic pH. If this is wanted go to the next option >> 3) Alka Ultra X


3) Alka Ultra X:

This system is taking out all bacteria, ecoli, cysts etc with an inbuilt Ultra filter 0.01 micron. It offers very effective purification!

This system also corrects the pH and introduces minerals into the water with the Alka Cartridge. In particular water stored in plastic tanks is acidic and has no minerals. It requires a pH correction and introducing minerals for drinking.

The Active Pure X 3 yr filter assists in removing odour and filters the water for good taste. The resulting water tastes soft.

4) ALKA UV system: this water system works with a UV light instead of an Ultra filter, also adds minerals and corrects the acidic pH

2) Whole house: UV Whole house filter. This is particularly important when you have the sense that you cannot get on top of cleaning the tank and gutters easily as you just don't find it easy to find time or get to it ....

Are there Minerals in the tank-water ?

As already touched earlier, there is another issue that is easily overlooked in the bigger picture:
Minerals in the water or actually the absence of minerals ! ?

concrete water tank
Rainwater is pure water ... Though this sounds great however really pure water does not have minerals and actually does not appear in nature as drinking water. Rainwater lands first on land and enters into the ground before it appears as a spring. On this journey it picks up a wide range of minerals and fine sediment with various properties, which also influences the pH of the water.
Pure rainwater is acidic at a pH of 5.9.
The issue is that the body needs water that has minerals present to make good use of the water. If water is consumed long-term which is pure and acidic then there may be various issues arising, such as chronic dehydration, inflammation and osteoporosis.

Concrete tanks in this regard are better, as they buffer the acidity with calcium and magnesium dispensed from the concrete walls of the tank, such as the lime and sand from the building material (concrete). The pH generally increases from the original 5.9pH to 8-9.5pH depending on the age of the concrete tank.

Ionza offers a range of combined water systems for solutions to introduce minerals, to buffer the pH and to remove contamination: >> Bio Mineral Dispenser
>> Alka Spring fountain

>>Alka Flow

>>Alka Ultra X

>> Alka Spring filter system
>> Alka Spring UV filter system

The mineral cartridges are loaded with bio-minerals and connect to a fountain tap.

If you would like assistance in choosing the right system for you, feel free to contact either Rob or myself

warm regards
Joseph Blessing
Ionza Water Ionizers

Ph 0800 101 707 or 03 5257911 Rob

or Joseph Ph 027 2228660