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Guide to Cleaning Your Domestic Potable Water Tank

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If you have a water holding tank on your property that supplies your home with potable water, you'll need to clean it out annually.

Regular cleaning is very important to ensure that the water you use for human consumption is safe and free-from bad odours and tastes. Accumulations of silt, algae, and sludge can all encourage the proliferation of harmful bacteria. So, how do you go about cleaning your water tank? Read on for a helpful overview.

What you will need

  • pressure washer
  • scrubbing brush or deck brush
  • garden hose pipe
  • household bleach (with at least 5% chlorine content)
  • disposable face mask
  • eye protection

When working inside the water tank, make sure that the area is as well ventilated as possible, especially when applying bleach. Always wear eye protection and a face mask to protect you from splashes. This is particularly important when power washing debris from the tank walls.

How to clean an accessible water holding tank

  1. First of all, drain the tank completely so that it is empty.  
  2. Next, use a pressure washer to blast all the interior tank walls free from grime and debris.  
  3. Now use a stiff-bristle scrubbing or deck brush to give the walls a thorough cleaning.  
  4. Once all the muck has been removed from the tank sides, use a garden hose pipe to thoroughly rinse out the tank.  
  5. Next, make up a mild solution of household bleach and cold water.  
  6. Shut off any valves to tank feeder pipes and plumbing lines.  
  7. Now scrub the whole of the inside of the water tank with the bleach solution. Leave the solution to activate on the tank walls and in the associated pipework for a couple of hours. Leaving the bleach in situ will help to kill off any bacteria, mould or mildew that might be left behind.  
  8. After a couple of hours, use a pressure washer to thoroughly rinse away the bleach solution. In order to thoroughly disinfect any tank feeder pipes, plumbing lines, and peripheral fixtures, open the valves and taps so that the bleach solution and rinse water is forced through.  
  9. Before refilling the tank, check that there is no lingering odour of chlorine from all taps and tank outlets. If you can smell bleach, repeat the rinsing exercise.  
  10. Finally, refill the water tank with potable water.

It's important for your family's health that you keep your domestic water tank spotless and free from potentially disease causing bacteria. Clean your tank out annually by following the guidelines above.