Issues with Using Rainwater Tanks for Drinking Water?

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Rainwater itself is originally pure. As rainwater falls, it picks up environmental pollution in the droplets of water. Once the rainwater strikes the roof, it picks up any airborne pollutants that may have settled on to the roof, as well as any bacteria from birds and small animal droppings en route to the tank. This is particularly a problem in urban areas, where car exhaust and industrial gases may contain hazardous micro-particulates, but it applies to all systems. Even for houses in rural areas, rainwater from tanks must be carefully controlled against contamination.

A study published in Water Down Under 2008 revealed that Melbourne rainwater tanks were contaminated with heavy metals like lead well in excess of drinking water guidelines. Some of the contamination was attributed not to pollution in the air, but to the building materials used to make the roofs. Roofs with lead flashing often had lead levels in the water 50 times higher than the Australian limit. However, there were other contaminants whose source the study authors could not locate. Aluminum, iron, cadmium, and zinc exceeded acceptable health levels too, but the researchers couldn’t see a link between geographic location or materials used in the roof or tank system.

For these reasons and others, when using water tanks as a source of drinking water, health authorities prefer residents use their mains water supply if available. In a properly maintained tank however, there is no reason you should not be able to drink the water. In the Australian Outback people have been doing in for years. Installing filtration is recommended if using rainwater for drinking purposes to ensure harmful bacteria is removed. 

If you are interested in a rainwater tank then I recommend checking out three different suppliers. Manufacturers that I trust include Clark  Tanks, National Poly Industries and Team Poly.

 

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