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Potable Water Tanks: Guide to Storing Drinking Water Safely

Many diseases are connected to the lack of clean drinking water. It is a matter of public and personal health to make sure our water is safe to consume. Water fit for ingestion is referred to as “potable.” In order to store potable water, you must take many precautions.

Here are the requirements for water to be considered potable:

  1. Low bacteria levels and the virtual absence of pathogens. The water must be purified of microorganisms that can cause infection or disease
  2. Low levels of disinfectants, such as chlorine, that help monitor the dangerous levels of microorganisms
  3. Appropriate levels of minerals and organic chemicals that can become contaminants or irritants if overdosed
  4. Low levels of inorganic chemicals such as fluoride, lead and mercury that can cause very serious conditions such as cancer, birth defects and neurological disorders
  5. The absence of radioactive compounds that are harmful carcinogens

When it comes to storing this water for use, there are 3 important questions to ask involving Potable Water Tanks.  The first question is what is the source of the water? Where does it come from? Does it come from a private well or spring?

The second question involves the water storage container. What is the material and chemical composition of the container? Is this something that will dangerously break down over time? Has the material been rated or graded by any standard that makes it fit for drinking applications?

The third question involves exposure. Is it exposed to direct sunlight? Is it exposed to high temperatures? Is it exposed to extreme weather?
It is important to meet state and local standards, and to purify this water when necessary. It is also important to use the right materials. For example, recycled or “regrind” tanks are NOT SAFE for potable uses. The most common standard for potable water is HDLP, which stands for high density linear polyethylene. When storing water, you need to make sure the container meets NSF/ANSI.STD 61 compliance.
Whether you source your own water or use water from another source, you should keep a close eye on your potable water supply. Not only for the sake of public health, but to avoid long-term consequences of contaminated water in our community.
You can find more information about potable water at the National Drinking Water Regulations, as well as an exhaustive list of bacteria, chemical, mineral and radioactive limits at water.epa.gov
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