Why Your Water Tank Needs Cleaning

Water Tanks need to be regularly cleaned to keep your drinking supply safe.

Contamination can enter into water tanks a number of ways.

Roof water can be contaminated by faeces (poo) from possums, birds and cats, as the water flows over the roof and through the spouting before collecting in the water tank.

Animals like frogs living inside the water tank can also cause contamination.

Sometimes water tanks have had their access holes left open to the elements, meaning that not only do leaves and other debris get blown into the open tank, but birds will occasionally drown in the water. As well as regular cleaning, your tank should have a secure lid over any openings.

In other cases hunters will use the top of the water tank as a storage area for deer heads or other parts of the animal that they wish to expose to the elements. Leigh does not recommend this practice as the rotting carcase can seep into the water supply and there is a risk of contamination by maggots and other insects.

For photos of these and other “what not to do” examples see the Gallery.

Diseases from drinking contaminated water

People who drink contaminated water can get a variety of water-borne diseases.

Water-borne diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa, cyanobacteria, and other tiny organisms like parasites. These micro-organisms mostly get into the water supply through animal and bird faeces.

Not all microbes cause illness, but those that do can be nasty.

Campylobacter, giardia, and cryptosporidium are common causes of gastrointestinal disease in New Zealand. They cause symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting and can be highly contagious. One common way for people to get these diseases is through contaminated drinking water.

In 2016, there were nearly two thousand notified cases of these illnesses, where people reported drinking untreated water in the lead-up to their illness.

Cleaning the water tank

Storage tanks need regular cleaning to remove accumulated sediment, slimes and chemical deposits. This cleaning needs to happen before the drinking water becomes unsafe.

Cleaning frequencies can vary depending on the particular set-up for water-collection and storage, how often the spouting is cleaned out, and the general condition of the tank.

Read how Leigh Burford cleans water tanks thoroughly to remove any contamination from the tank and the water.

Contact Leigh Burford today and keep your water supply safe and healthy.

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