Keep your RV drinking water safe

By Bob Difley

There are two kinds of RVers: those that drink raw water right out of the tap and those that don’t. If you are one that doesn’t, you don’t have to concern yourself with waterborne illnesses. Of course, depending on what you do drink – wine, beer, tea or coffee – you may be confronted with other issues.

For those of us that do drink water and spend a lot of time on the road and in questionable locations, the following measures have kept my wife and me free of typhoid, diarrhea, pathogenic microorganisms and intestinal parasites. As explorer Owen Lattimore noted while traversing the Silk Road in camel caravans, “Water alone, unboiled, is never drunk. There is a superstition that it causes blisters on the feet.”

• Fill your water tank only from water supplies that are confirmed potable sources, such as municipal, campground and tested well water sources.

• 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 campground and let it slosh around in the tank as you head home.

• Keep the ends of your water hose out of the dirt and off the ground when filling your tank.

• Attach the ends together after voiding it of all remaining water and store 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 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), attach a water filter (e.g., Brita) to your kitchen faucet, or keep a Brita-type pitcher of water with built-in filter in your fridge. 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 or ice cubes, and if you’re slightly nervous about your current water tank supply, for brushing teeth as well.



5 Thoughts to “Keep your RV drinking water safe”

  1. Claud Addicott

    On the road, we start out with several gallon containers of store bought water. When we stay at a campground that we hope has good water, we filter and boil some to refill the gallon jugs – generally in the mornings while making coffee. We boil in a large pan, and use some of the same water to make the coffee in a French press.

    If we are away from a seemingly safe water supply for any length of time we prefer to buy more water. If not possible, we do carry a camping water filter that is supposed to make even polluted water safe – but we still boil it.

    Overkill? Probably, but we’ve never had a water related health issue.

  2. CB

    We installed a UV water purification system from just for drinking water as well as a coconut shell carbon taste & odor 0.5 micron filter from and our water is always clean and safe – UV is what many water treatment and water purification systems use these days and a small unit can be installed for less than $150 with annual bulb replacement at about $35 per bulb – safe clean water from almost any source – no need to fill landfills with plastic these days. You can research these products online.

  3. George

    I use two 5 gallon water jugs (one at a time) and installed a separate water system just for drinking water. Total cost about $100 but peace of mind is priceless.

  4. Mike & Louise Bacque

    As a full-timer, you’re article served as an excellent reminder of the do’s and don’ts. Any water taken onboard our unit is filtered through a two stage system, even municipal sources. Just last year we were headed to Corpus Christi, TX when they announced a water advisory for the entire region due to the potential of an industrial back flow into municipal water lines. (Turned out negative but it took a full week of testing). So, one never knows what’s in the water even if supplied by a municipality.

  5. PeteD

    We always carry bottled water for drinking. We take several gallon jugs and a couple cases of bottled water and resupply when necessary. One bad sip of water can ruin a day or two.

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