Rural water tanks are literally life savers in many countries but, other than coming with insect screening and possibly a first flush rain water diverter, little has changed to improve the quality of the water coming out of them. Of course, many would consider that if it is only rain water going in then it’s only going to be rain water coming out and therefore there is nothing to worry about. But is that true?

Denizens Of The Deep

Regardless of whether the water came from rain, creek, dam, bore, spring, or well, it will contain organisms that can be potentially harmful. The water will also contain organic matter such as leaf particles, and the aforementioned animal droppings. Even with a first flush rain water diverter, it is not possible to remove all possible contamination as bird droppings on your roof will take time to dissolve completely and so some will end up in your tank. These nutrients provide the food for the bacteria to multiply. Over time, nutrients, organic matter, bacteria and cysts all tend to sink to the bottom of the tank. Yet this is the region from which the water is drawn.


The bottom of the tank will also contain the sludge or sediment which has settled out of the water. A new tank will obviously not have much sediment but a tank which has been in use for years will contain quite a bit. In addition to micro-organisms and sludge, the bottom 300mm (or 1 foot) of the tank is a low oxygen zone. Ignoring the possible health implications for the moment, this adversely affects the taste of the water. (In fact, this is one reason that tea drinkers are advised to use fresh water and not previously boiled water to make tea as the boiled water has lost much of the dissolved oxygen which affects the taste of the tea.)


The detritus at the bottom of the tank can interfere with the operation of household appliances. For instance filters in water filters, dishwashers, hot water systems, etc will all become clogged. At best this may just mean that they need to be changed more frequently and that the water pressure is lower; at worst it may cause damage if, for example, a pump is starved of water due to a blocked filter.


All things considered, it would appear that the tank water is not quite as clean and healthy as we would like it. You might think that you’ve been drinking from it for years and never been sick as a result. That may be true generally as your body builds up resistance to the bugs to which it is exposed. On the other hand, you can never be sure. That stomach upset that was attributed to something you ate might have been caused by your water. You also need to consider any visitors who may be used to chlorinated water and thus might be more easily affected by bacteria or other things in the water.

What can be done?

There are some basic steps that can easily be taken to improve the quality of your tank water tanks gold coast Firstly, have your tank vacuumed out every year or two. There are people who specialize in this and use a device similar to a pool clean to suction water out of the bottom of the tank. You may lose around 120mm (or 5 inches) of water but when you see what comes out you won’t begrudge it.

The second thing is to install a device that allows water to be taken from the top of the tank rather than the bottom. The most popular of these is known as the Water Boy and it is installed inside your water tank. It consists of a float with a stainless steel mesh filter and a flexible hose which connects to the inside of your outlet valve. As the filter is always suspended a few inches below the surface of the water, you are always drawing water from the cleanest and oxygen-rich area of your tank.

The third step is to install a water purifier for your drinking water. This will ensure that any water you drink is pure regardless of what may live in your tank.