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Free water

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by All U Get, Jan 11, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,471 posts, 1,614 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    I would think rainwater would be pretty dang pure. Maybe I’m wrong but shouldn’t it be?
     


    JamesG161 likes this.
  2. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,059 posts, 521 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    I think the rain water might be pure, as it is kind of distilled, but it is the air that it falls through that make it dirty.
     


    jwing likes this.
  3. jwing

    jwing

    Joined Jun 5, 2014
    372 posts, 131 likes
    ODay Mariner
    US Guntersville
    Rainwater can contain contaminants. Sometimes the water vapor condenses on airborne particles. Rain can also collect contaminants on its way through polluted air, this is the principal that makes power plant exhaust scrubbers effective. You've heard of acid rain?

    In Utah, storms that approach from the west kick up salt particles from the Great Salt Lake Desert. Then they pick up water vapor from the Great Salt Lake. When they encounter the Wasatch Mountains, orographic lifting causes the water vapor to condense on the tiny salt particles. The salt acts as a desiccant, causing the snow to be very dry, resulting in the powder skiing for which the Wasatch Range is famous.

    I took off on that non-sailing tangent to illustrate that contaminated rain is generally caused by a local phenomenon. It is not widespread. Be aware of the world around you.
     


    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  4. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    2,343 posts, 541 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX where ever we are anchored
    Did you see the grey teak toe rail? That's dirt and salt that makes it grey. Imagine the dirt in the toe rail to deck joint. If one wants to collect rain water to drink, one must have a dedicated system that is perfectly clean. A tarp that is stowed and only unfolded for collecting drinking water. An area of the deck or cabin top that can be washed before the rain water is fed into the tanks.
    Cisterns are a whole different kettle of fish. The water sits in there and any impurities can settle out and the pick up tube is above this settling section, like a fuel tank. Then it is bleached and filtered. Boat tanks are almost perpetually moving, disturbing any settling process.
    Anytime one is anchored anywhere near shore, especially on the sheltered leeward side of an island, there is going to be dirt and contamination on any surface except a dedicated tarp or washed surface. If you have a dodger, this can be seen quite easily. After a good rain, wash the Isinglass and see how much dirt is left.
    We often get dust settling on the boat that has come all the way from the Sahara Desert. That dust is so fine it gets into the cloth of the dodger, the bimini, wood grain and around stanchion bases and jib car tracks. and yet it is unseen as it washes into your tanks.
    Unfortunately, once a baffled tank gets contaminated, there is little one can do but remove it, cut some access holes in each section and wash it with steam, before replacing it, not a fun project.
     


  5. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    4,979 posts, 897 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Unscented bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is an easy to find and an effective tool for the treatment of potable water in storage. You want to maintain between 1 and 2 ppm in the water.

    Here is a dosage calculator from Public Health Ontario.

    Just filling your tanks, you should shock the tank. Recommend 10 ppm.
    Here is is Oregon Health Agency calculator for shocking a tank.

    Don't think more is better, this stuff is a powerful oxidizer and can do a number on your tank, plumbing and fittings.
     


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  6. Don S/V ILLusion

    Don S/V ILLusion

    Joined Sep 25, 2008
    4,989 posts, 240 likes
    Alden 50
    US Sarasota, Florida
    Don't tell anyone living in Bermuda:)
     


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  7. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,958 posts, 651 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    Last year we stayed in a camp in near Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. The water was collected from the roof, and feed into a cistern and then pumped back to the house through copper pipes.

    The shower floor had a nice turquoise color, just about the shade of copper sulfate. Apparently the water filter didn't need to filter out the sulfuric acid in the rain as it reacted with the pipes.
     


  8. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    4,979 posts, 897 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Years ago my Pappy was taking a boat south with Ma and another couple. Each day the crew became increasing ill, all except the old man. None of them responded to their Dramamine meds. Upon further investigation Pap determined that unlike himself, his crew was mixing drinks each evening with ice they were making in the galley freezer...from the tap. He was drinking his Black Label beer from a can. Liked to tell the story about how he converted them all to beer drinkers!
     


  9. Bill Roosa

    Bill Roosa

    Joined Jun 6, 2006
    6,961 posts, 139 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    US Harrington Harbor North, MD
    Speaking as a civil engineer, rain water is very soft (not a lot of minerals in it so it makes soap bubbles really well) and makes cleaning tasks easier. You do get "dirt" and biologicals from the air though. Course those biologicals are the same ones you breath in all the time and the dirt will settle out in the tank!! Standard practice is to "waist" the first few minutes of rain to clean the collecting surface of bird poo and the like. A simple carbon filter is sufficient to render "after waist" water officially potable. You will notice (rather not notice) the taste of rain water and how much easier it is to clean with it. soap goes a lot further with soft water.
     


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  10. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    4,979 posts, 897 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    Not sure what you define as a "simple carbon filter", but most household and boat-installed filters (including that Brita thing) are poor filters for the bugs and cysts. I have a carbon-block camp filter that works but the granular types are designed to filter volatiles and herbicides. You have to pre-treat to make it microbiologically safe.
     


    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  11. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,487 posts, 240 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    Well I thought Texans drank their water from horses hoof prints. After three days of steady rain we were pretty sure the deck was clean. We use this water for washing dishes and the head. All drinking water is bottled which is probably worse. With T-storms all afternoon, we added about 50 gallons which should be enough for our stay here in the Bahamas. Oh we do have a charcoal filter on the system and a Seagull in the galley.

    All U Get
     


  12. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    4,979 posts, 897 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    A Seagull filter is a carbon block filter and is capable of filtering microorganisms and viruses out of the water. It is a superior filter if you have the reduced flow model.
     


  13. Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Joined Mar 1, 2012
    1,349 posts, 303 likes
    1961 Rhodes Meridian 25
    us Texas coast
    every place I was at in the Bahamas had RO water available at quite reasonable costs
     


  14. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,487 posts, 240 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    :liar:
    I don’t know how it happened but I bought some in Marsh Harbor and by the time I got to the Boat it turned into rum. :biggrin:

    All U Get
     


  15. Don Crowther

    Don Crowther

    Joined Sep 4, 2007
    665 posts, 19 likes
    Hunter 34
    CA Elbow, Saskatchwen, Can.
    It's the magic of the Bahamas.
     


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  16. JamesG161

    JamesG161

    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    2,618 posts, 671 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS
    I like this water treatment Chemical and the final product are Oxygen and Water, Not Chlorine. Chlorine Bleach is damaging to many rubbers and wood.

    https://www.amazon.com/Members-Mark-Hydrogen-Peroxide-fl/dp/B01LNWSL7W/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1515765452&sr=8-3&keywords=hydrogen+peroxide

    Both Peroxide and bleach are great for treating Stings from Jellyfish too. Hold a soaked paper towel on the wound and Pain stops within minutes. Both oxidize the venom.;)
    Jim....
     


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  17. JamesG161

    JamesG161

    Joined Feb 14, 2014
    2,618 posts, 671 likes
    Hunter 430
    US Waveland, MS


  18. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    1,927 posts, 480 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL

    I use this as a no rinse sanitizer in my brewing equipment.

    Iodophor Sanitizer

    Was thinking of running some through my whole system the next time the tank is empty.

    Much better than bleach. No flavor or smell, you do not need to rinse once sanitizing is complete, and you can get it online or at most brewing supply stores.
     


  19. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,958 posts, 651 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    Hydrogen Peroxide is a decent antibacterial agent, I wonder about its effectiveness on mold, mildew, and those sort of flora and fauna. Also, what level of concentration would be appropriate? The product you listed is 3% H2O2, if that is the lowest concentration to be effective, then it would take a lot to sanitize a 120 gallon water system. Also, H2O2 is unstable, it naturally separates in to water and oxygen fairly quickly, so be sure to use a fresh supply.

    This is interesting. According to the SDS it is iodine and hydoriodic acid. Basically the stuff in the water purification tablets we used to use in Boy Scouts. Again the issue is what concentration is necessary to clean a large water system on a boat, it may work well, but be inordinately expensive.

    Where's our resident chemical engineer?
     


  20. Justin_NSA

    Justin_NSA

    Joined Jul 7, 2004
    4,534 posts, 671 likes
    Hunter 30T
    US Cheney, KS
    This discussion is pushing me to go forward with an inline filter in my water system. I already filter what comes in from the dock.
     



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