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.
• 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.