By Bob Difley
Water is one of the vital resources that we need to sustain life, and for RVing it becomes more critical than for homeowners. Permanent home dwellers use just one source of supply for their water (two if you count bottled drinking water) and as such generally know the quality and consistency of the supplier — generally a closely monitored municipal water supply, sometimes a well.
But when on the road, water suppliers change with every change in campground. Some campgrounds use municipal water while others may use a well and monitor the water quality and safety themselves. Can you be confident in the diligence of their monitoring practices?
When boondocking, we fill our water tanks frequently, and from varied water sources that we have no way of knowing where the water is coming from or its quality. Other than sterilizing our water tanks regularly, there are some simple, inexpensive precautions that we can take to swing the odds in our favor for keeping free of waterborne illnesses.
Start with the water coming into your tank or from a water hook-up. Attach a sediment filter to your hose before it enters the tank, or before the pressure regulator if hooked up. This will take most of the debris out of the water before it gets into your system. There is surprisingly more debris than you might think, especially in many of the water supply systems in the southwestern deserts where I have found sand and tiny pebbles in the filter. Consider using a home-style water filter sold by a major retailer like Walmart, Sears, or Camping World so that you can easily find filters wherever you are — and at competitive prices.
After this cleaner water enters your rig, there is no need to filter it further going to the shower, but a filter should be attached to the water coming out of your kitchen faucet either with an under-sink inline filter (such as an Everpure), or a water filter like the Brita attached directly to your kitchen faucet. In all cases, make sure you change the filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
An option for the inline filter would be to keep a Brita-type pitcher of water with built in filter in your fridge. If you use the pitcher system, remember to use the filtered water for washing veggies, making coffee, tea, cold drinks, or ice cubes, and for brushing teeth.
Another option is the Remco WaterMaker Five water filter system. Read my review.
With these systems in place you will be reasonably safe from the hidden bugs in your water supply. And if you are particularly sensitive to stomach disturbances, drink bottled water, though in most cases it is not necessary and an added expense.
You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.
For part-timers it’s probably cheaper to just use bottled water for cooking, drinking and brushing teeth. Bought in bulk it’s not that expensive for the part time RV’er
I filter all my water as it enters the bus. I use a “permanent” sand filter (found where they sell deep well pumps) as my first filter. I don’t have to keep buying sediment filters as I just open a valve at the bottom of the filter housing to drain out the collected sediment. My next filter is a standard “whole house” or “under sink” filter. That one can vary but typically I use a filter that will filter out cysts (0.5 micron) and pesticides (I tend to be in rural farming areas). These two filters (mostly the second filter) knock the park water.down to a trickle. So the fresh water tank has the incoming filtered water on a float valve (stock tank valve from a farm supply store) that opens to let water in when the tank is low and closes to stop the incoming water when the tank is full. My next add on to the plumbing will be to stick a small SimplySoft EQ-SS20 water softener after the filters to soften the water (softener cartridge lasts 2 years or one is availabe that will last 1 year). It will fit in the small space I have to put it.
Too bad there aren’t filters that can remove high concentrations of minerals – like you find down in Quartzsite. Seems like every time we go there (and fill up with water at the “Pit Stop”) we end up having to remove our toilet at some point and clean out the sprayers which become clogged. Reverse osmosis isn’t practical for boondocking since most of the water ends up as “brine”.