Thursday, November 1, 2012

Water Issues

I've been having one of those months.  You know the one, where you try to fix a problem and end up making it worse.  We have friends arriving tomorrow and only contaminated water to drink.  I think I went wrong when I filled the tank with town water.  The chlorine may have eliminated our precious little ecosystem within our drinking water. Has anyone else had this problem?

It started about a month ago.  We have three rainwater tanks and the one we were using for everything was empty.  The other two had been pilfered a few times already and were getting low as well.  We needed it to rain, but rain has been elusive this month.  Rain was predicted and by draining the last of the other tanks (one at the quarters, one which has a single tap in the kitchen) we could hold out for about a week.

I didn't want to fill our tank with the dam water again, because that would mean we couldn't drink the water plumbed into the fridge.  So I came up with the brilliant plan of getting council water from town. Thus it was organised.  We drained the rest of the water whilst waiting a few days for the truck.

All good, we had clean water to drink and in which to bathe.  About a week later it rained.  Not huge amounts but enough to top up the tank and refill the other two to about one quarter full.  The singleton tap in the kitchen managed a drizzle.

A few days later, our water supply started to go cloudy, then it had black specs through it.  Soon it looked like it had iron filings throughout.  I figured it was sediment from the bottom of the tank being stirred up, but it didn't settle. It got worse, then it began to smell like something dead.

We managed to get a sanitizer for the water which has eliminated the smell.  It hasn't changed the colour though, and we've decided against drinking it.  So we're left with the water with the one tap in the kitchen, except the level isn't high enough to get any pressure in the tap.  This problem was solved by pumping water from the other clean tank into it.  But now we have stirred up the settlement and the water has floaties in it.

So now we have two types of water, non-drinkable but sanitised black water and drinkable water with specs floating through it.  I'm sure my city-slicker dad and our American guests will be far from impressed.  Luckily the Foodstore is having a special on bottled water this week.

But what could have caused the water to go bad?  Is it that the chlorine did kill the good bugs in our water leaving only bad bugs.  Was it because the new water was diluted by the rain, thereby making the chlorine levels too low, and allowing algae to grow in the tank?

Next time we run out, I won't be so picky about filling up from the dam.  Who cares about a little yellow in the water?  At least it won't be black.