When was the last time you thought about water? We Americans and Canadians are so used to hooking up the hose to any available tap and filling our water tanks with pure, clean water that we don’t let bugs like typhoid, diarrhea, pathogenic microorganisms, and intestinal parasites to even enter our consciousness. And that sometimes causes us to become careless.
You may not drink plain, un-enhanced water, preferring wine, beer, coffee, sodas, or tea for your liquid intake. As explorer Owen Lattimore noted while traveling the ancient Asian Silk Road in camel caravans, “Water alone, unboiled, is never drunk. There is a superstition that it causes blisters on the feet.” But if water for any use–ice cubes, washing vegetables, brushing teeth–comes in contact with your insides, you might want to consider these extra firewall protections between you and the microscopic creepy crawlies.
• Fill your water tank only from water supplies that are confirmed “potable” (drinking) sources, such as from municipal, campground, and tested well water supplies.
• Every six months sanitize your tank by pouring in one-quarter cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water in a full tank. Let stand overnight. Drain, fill, and rinse at least twice, or until chlorine odor is gone. Better yet, fill with water and bleach when leaving your last campground and let it slosh around in the tank as you head home.
• Be especially careful to keep the ends of your water hose out of the dirt and off the ground when attaching your host to a tap.
• Attach the ends together after emptying it of all remaining water and store coiled in a plastic or cloth bag.
• When possible, use your own water hose to fill your tank. You don’t know how previous RVers have handled the supplied hose.
• Do not fill your water tank from the water supplied at a dump station for rinsing down, unless you are sure it is a safe (municipal) water supply and you use your own hose.
• Wash your hands after using a dump station before using the water hose to fill your fresh water tank.
• Filter the water coming out of your kitchen faucet either with an under-sink inline filter (such as an Everpure) or attach a water filter (i.e.Brita) to your kitchen faucet. You can also keep a Brita-type pitcher of water with built in filter in your frig. These filters will also remove grit and bad tastes like you get from some desert water supplies.
• If you use the pitcher, remember to use the filtered water for washing veggies, making coffee, tea, cold drinks, and ice cubes, and if you’re slightly nervous about your current water tank supply, for brushing teeth as well.