Recent storms (October 2018) and heavy rain in Southeast QLD have presented customers with numerous problems, which Pristine Water Systems operators are madly running around helping and fixing to ensure our customers have water that is ready and safe to use.
But if you have heavy rain, especially after an extended dry period, winds or even flooding, the following checklist will help ensure you have healthy drinking water.
Debris – Organic
During big storms, leaves and twigs are ripped off trees. Winds will pick it up and your roof is a perfect catchment.
It doesn’t matter if you clear your gutters regularly or if you are using a gutter guard. The debris will gather at any resistance point such as the gutters, and with the rain, will wash through your pipework into your water tank.
Certain types of leaves can cause tannins to leach into the water. Many of which can be poisonous, or at the very least, make you ill. Such as Tea Tree leaves and Gum Leaves.
Quite often strainers are damaged during storms.
If not secured properly, they can be blown away. However, with all the organic debris flying around and getting washed down through the pipes, the strainer (which is doing its job), accumulates a large amount of debris. Much more than normal.
With the additional water mass that comes with storms, there is a lot of pressure on these strainers. This can cause weaknesses or breakages.
First Flush systems
As good as these systems might sound, they are not the most effective method in keeping debris out of your water tanks.
Due to law, nearly all first flush systems are underground. During long periods of dry spells, stagnant water sits in the first flush system. Until rain comes, which will replace the stagnant water.
However, when the first flush system is full, debris will still make its way into your strainer/tank.
Storms pick up a massive amount of leaf and twig debris, and typically you will find it has been raining prior to the devastating wind.
Regularly cleaning of your water tank will help keep sludge levels at a minimum. But even if you recently had your tank vacuumed, there is potential for sludge build-up after a storm. Particularly if it hasn’t rained for quite some time.
Dirt build-up on your roof will be washed down into your tank. Excessive organic material will also make its way into your water tank, and will settle and start to break down quite quickly.
It can take a few days for the agitated water to settle, allowing the heavier organic sludge/material to settle on the bottom of the tank. At which point, vacuuming and removing will be required.
While many people who live off water tanks might think fresh rainwater tastes great and is the healthiest water for you, this couldn’t be more further from the truth.
Rain is naturally low in pH, can bring with it fallout from pesticides and herbicides (especially for those living in agricultural areas), and is only as clean as the roof it is coming from!
Bacteria can build up quickly in a water tank as the weather improves and temperatures start to rise after the storm, especially when organic debris has accumulated. Hence it is extremely important to sanitize the water to ensure there is no bacteria present.
Traditionally, chlorine is used. However, there are more organic methods you can use to purify your drinking water such as the Pristine Water Systems WaterPure® or WaterCare® (you will need to contact a Pristine Water Systems operator for details).
Action after a storm
First thing you need to do after a storm, other than checking your home and livestock, is to check your water tank.
- Is the strainer blocked or damaged?
- Clear debris, and if damaged, remove.
- Is there any damage to the water tank itself?
- Is the overflow clear of debris?
- Roof and sidewalls damaged?
- Clear gutters, pipes and roofs from any additional debris
- 3-days after storm has passed, check if you can see the bottom of the tank
- Dirt, debris and sludge will have settled after a few days
- Vacuum and sanitise the tank
Pristine Water Systems uses our unique Quadclean™ method to clean, sanitise and make your water supply healthy and ready for drinking. If you need assistance, especially after a storm, we can help to make sure your water tanks are clean and sterilized.