Bleach in water

Submitted: Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:10
ThreadID: 57472 Views:2391 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
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Hi all,

I've heard that bleach can be added to water to purify it.
Can anyone shed anymore light on this, such as when they use it and how much.

We have a Jayco Dove with a 60 litre water tank and was wondering about water from some country towns.

Regards - GC
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:34

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:34
Are you sure it wasn't iodine that was being referred to? A couple of drops of iodine in a glass of sus water is pretty good, but you don't want to have it too often. In the case of iodine, you wouldn't want to treat a tankful
AnswerID: 303142

Reply By: Ted (Cairns) - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:57

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:57
Hi GC

Yes it can. However it is a disaster management measure (6-8 drops of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite per gallon plus 30 minutes minimum contact time). I wouldn't use household bleach in normal circumstances though as it may have other non food-grade additives. Any good camping shop should have water purification tablets available, with iodine probably preferable. BTW I'm not in the office so could not double check on the figures above, if you need more info let me know and I'll look it up properly.

Cheers
Ted
AnswerID: 303144

Reply By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:59

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 22:59
Hmmm.. sounds like a furphy. As I understand it, most common bleach is sodium hypochlorite solution; ie, chlorine, and is quite toxic. Would certainly sterilise the water, but I wouldn't be drinking it!
Gerry
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 23:22

Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 23:22
If you are on 'town' water, then you drink chlorine every day!
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Follow Up By: V8 Troopie - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 00:28

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 00:28
These queries can be easily answered by doing a 'google' on bleach water purification.
V8
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Reply By: Cruiserman1961 (QLD) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 06:13

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 06:13
Hi GC,
i have used Chlorine to sterilize and clean out the water tank of the camper trailer once. Flushed it good and proper after i had the solution sitting in the tank overnight. Wouldn't recommend to use it on the road though, Chlorine is one of the most potent poisons known to men and unless you know what you are doing you could do more harm then good. We prefer bottled water for our trips for safety reasons.
Cheers, Udo
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AnswerID: 303167

Reply By: P7OFFROAD Accredited Driver Training - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 08:50

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 08:50
What do you mean by purify??

If you are attempting to make non-potable water into drinking water then I think you may need to have a rethink. If you are just trying to cleanout the tank then there are a few commercially available options
AnswerID: 303185

Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 10:45

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 10:45
Country towns have to meet minimum water quality standards just like every city does. I have never encountered a problem with water from a town supply, but if your are doubtful about quality then boil your drinking water. You dont need to boil washing water!
Bottled water is expensive and in any case has a dubious track record with respect to levels of bacteria in it - resist the marketing hype and give it a miss.
Chlorine (in the form of sodium hypochlorite) is a standard water treatment chemical in many town supplies but it is added under controlled conditions so that the right amount is added. Just adding a guestimate amount to your water tank, other than for cleaning out purposes, might not be the best approach.
Val.
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AnswerID: 303206

Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 12:02

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 12:02
If the water is from a town water supply, then it has to meet a minimum bacterial standard and already be disinfected. Chlorine products do not "purify", rather disinfect the easy micro-organisms.

Generally speaking, you cannot add a chlorine product without monitoring/controlling pH and residual chlorine levels. You need to know the residual chlorine levels first (from the water supply) to then calculate the final levels of around 2-4ppm. If you have heaps of micro-organisms/organics in the supply, then you will need to increase the dosing rates accordingly.

Not a simple process of adding X mg to Y litres.

Andrew
AnswerID: 303213

Follow Up By: Ted (Cairns) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 15:26

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 15:26
"If the water is from a town water supply, then it has to meet a minimum bacterial standard" - it is nice to see that so many people trust the system. Theoretically yes, it should. But the ANZECC drinking water guidelines are not compulsory (!!!) otherwise too many supplies would fail.

The other problem is how much residual chlorine you have at the end of an old (i.e.dirty), long reticulation system on a hot day with water restrictions (i.e. low flow) in place. You guessed: zero. In town X where I used to work I had to convince them that putting the recommended chlorine comcentration in at the source (treatment plant) did not do much for the concentration at the consumers tap (was zero regularly). Had to increase quite a bit to end up with 0.5ppm FAC at the tap...

Also, E.coli, usually responsible for travellers gastroenteritis, can be slightly different dependant on location. I.e. what you're immunised to in your country town is not there in the town 300kms away, but there is another strain you are not immune to. Won't kill you but may send you to the toilet more often than you like.

Best advice, already given here: use bottled water for drinking if in doubt. Best use small town water for the kettle (i.e. boil).

Just my $0.02

Happy travels

Ted
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 16:35

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 16:35
"Theoretically yes, it should. But the ANZECC drinking water guidelines are not compulsory (!!!) otherwise too many supplies would fail."

Yes that may be true for physical and chemical constituents, but not necessarily for microbiological parameters.

We need to be mindful that we don't incite paranoia with Australia's drinking water supplies, as any issues of poor water are the exception rather than the norm.
More often than not, the issue is more to do with aesthetic qualities eg taste of chlorine, Fe/Mn discolouration etc rather than health concerns.

As said before, the chemistry of water can be complex, and one needs to be mindful when applying any rule of thumb formula.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 16:43

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 16:43
BTW I'm not sure how E.coli gets into a pressurised (closed) reticulated system in most cases...... short of any Natural Disaster occuring.

Andrew
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Reply By: Member - Jason - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 12:21

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 12:21
Hi GC
This may sound a little excessive but we carry a Nikken Water System with us - won't drink any other water. Being a Wellness Consultant I could talk to you for an hour on the potential effects any town water can have on the body.
Everyone has their obsessions & health is mine. We only have one body :-)

Cheers
Jason
AnswerID: 303219

Reply By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 17:10

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 17:10
Don't do it mate !!!

Danger ,, danger ,,, danger

Never contemplate that thought again..

The locals in these communities drink it,, but if you are that fussy the best method is to boil the water, and after it cools down, add a small ( minute ) amount of red cordial..


SWMBO is fussy with the water she drinks, and has a " Brita " filtered water bottle,,, I just drink it,

Sometimes it can be a bit ordinary, but its better than no water..

Cheers
Bucky
AnswerID: 303253

Reply By: GC04 - Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 18:48

Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 18:48
Thanks everyone,

That's what I love about this forum.

I think town water it is then.
I know that in some towns, such as Coober Pedy, it costs but that is not a problem.

We are travelling from Melb - Broken Hill - Woomera - Aandamooka - Oonadatta - Mt Dare - Finke - Uluru - Alice - Darwin.
Therefore a little worried about water supply for 2 adults & 2 kids.

Any further suggestions about sourcing water would be appreciated.

Regards - GC
AnswerID: 303281

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