PDA

View Full Version : HELP!! rain water tank


secoff
1st July 2010, 02:44 PM
help! what do we do if we found a dead rat in our rain water tank. this water is pumped into the house for use. does anyone know of any symptoms of illnesses associated with this. i have been sick for a month now and dr cant figure out whats wrong. how do we sterilize this. we have put a net over the inlet into the tank to stop any other critters from going in.

mikethebike
1st July 2010, 02:53 PM
Oh Yuk! upset tummy is the most likely symtom if any you would get, as for sterilising you could put Miltons tablets or fluid in but you will have to work out the capacity of the water tank to avoid over treating and the water tasting chloriny, or you can get water treatment from rural stores again you need to be careful not to over do it or it will affect the taste of the water. do you have filters or a UV light system on your water supply if not it would probably be a good idea to fit one they are quite easy to fit and we have found the improvement in water taste quite good, and yes we have also had dead mice, dead birds and at one time a dead possum in our tank at one time or another without suffering any serious diseases other than the odd tummy upset, infact thats what usually alerts me to check the tank!

Pumpkingirl
1st July 2010, 03:28 PM
Janola (plain) is a great steriliser too. The Auckland Medical Officer of Healthy recommends the following:



Disinfect water by adding about 333 ml of unscented bleach (like Janola) per 1000 L (litres) of water if the tank has lot of dirt, or add 167ml of unscented bleach per 1000ml water if the tank is relatively clean.*
Run water from taps for about 2 minutes or until you smell the presence of chlorine, then turn the tap off.
Leave the disinfected water to stand for about 24 hours before using to for drinking. If you would like to use it before that time, ensure that it is boiled.


*I would add that if you can stir the water it helps to mix the Janola as evenly as possible. This also helps dissipate the taste and smell of the chlorine.

If you're still worried, wait a month, then repeat. That amount of chlorine in that amount of water won't hurt you.

Personally, I have a jug in the fridge and boil all my drinking water. Even though my tanks are secure and I have a first-flush device, it doesn't take long and is a little extra insurance.

Isla
1st July 2010, 03:46 PM
Have you told your doctor about the rat since you discovered it? It would help to pinpoint anything they ought to diagnose and treat for.

Before I properly moved here, I was camping and returning to Auckland for work. Every time I went back there I was sick for several days. I thought it was the usual reaction you'd expect to having to go back to Auckland - until I discovered the remains of a dead cow upstream from where I was taking my camping drinking water! Nasty, uncomfortable, but survivable.

hilldweller
1st July 2010, 03:52 PM
You could get your tank water tested as it may be something else other than the dead rat, or nothing at all to do with the water.

Isla
1st July 2010, 04:13 PM
How's anyone else who's been drinking the water?

LongRidge
1st July 2010, 09:27 PM
Has the dead animal been found? If not, phone Lincoln Uni or some other organisation that can test for coliforms, and find out how to take a sample of water and where to take it.
If the corpse has been found then Pumpkingirls method is the one to follow, but I would have thought this is more than plenty Janola to do the job.

secoff
1st July 2010, 10:45 PM
we have removed the rat today when we found it. i will tell my dr when i go back on monday what we found and see if this helps. me and my husband are itchy after showers but not sure if it is from this, but worth checking out. thanks for all the input on this matter. we are first time rain water tankers so still learning about them.

Ronney
1st July 2010, 11:33 PM
How's anyone else who's been drinking the water?

And that about sums it up! Sorry Secoff, as somebody having used tank water for nearly 40 years and finding disintergrating possums and rats in them, it's not something I'm going to throw a hissy fit over - and nor should you. If the rest of the household is in fine fettle your illness is probably unrelated or your family has a stronger immune system than you.
Certainly mention it to your doctor on Monday but as that is four days away, treat your tank as per Pumpkingirl's instructions.

As an aside, I once lived in a company house that was just short of being 100 years old. The orginal 500 gallon water tank, along with a much new tank, was still in use. It didn't have a top and I was forever fishing out dead possums and rats. I also kept it stocked with polystyrene for the frogs to hop on to when the water level dropped. People thought I was totally mad but they were too dumb to know that my frogs kept my water tank clean. I liked my frogs and when the polystyrene became water logged I would fish them out, dry the polystyrene, and put both back in the tank. Nothing like having frogs sitting on your head and shoulders.:)

Cheers,
Ronnie

beedee
2nd July 2010, 08:29 AM
There are many posh homes in the sububs of Waikato that have rats possies and other debris in the water supply.. I would expect tummy upsets to be the main symptom.. and yes nuffink to get worried about.
I have seen on TV the ad for sterilising ones water tanks with stuff from M10... might be more ideal that tossing in a bottle of janola on a hit miss level. and that might cause more problems than mr ratus.
The post shower itchy could be/ maybe from the pH that might be changed by leaves etc rather than a dead body.
Do you have any idea how it got there, do your down pipes have those shields on, etc etc.

secoff
2nd July 2010, 12:31 PM
I have seen on TV the ad for sterilising ones water tanks with stuff from M10... might be more ideal that tossing in a bottle of janola on a hit miss level. and that might cause more problems than mr ratus.

Yes its from the same people who make the gutter witch.


The post shower itchy could be/ maybe from the pH that might be changed by leaves etc rather than a dead body.
Do you have any idea how it got there, do your down pipes have those shields on, etc etc.

We have put a Mesh over the pipe that goes into the tank, to stop further leaves and other such things from getting into the tank.

What's the normal range of Ph of water should be. 6.5?

Pumpkingirl
2nd July 2010, 12:57 PM
... might be more ideal that tossing in a bottle of janola on a hit miss level..

It's not hit and miss or I would not have posted it. This is someone's health we're talking about. Any other products you buy will have similar properties and ingredients, they just cost more.

The amounts I gave are the correct amount of Janola required to sterilise water to make it safe for drinking, as outlined by councils, the Ministry of Health and safe drinking water groups.

OldMcDonalds
2nd July 2010, 04:42 PM
It's not hit and miss or I would not have posted it. This is someone's health we're talking about. Any other products you buy will have similar properties and ingredients, they just cost more.

The amounts I gave are the correct amount of Janola required to sterilise water to make it safe for drinking, as outlined by councils, the Ministry of Health and safe drinking water groups.

Absolutely correct - I have a leaflet from our local council stating those figures for using household bleach. Works well too, but the taste takes a while to go away[:(] Better than rotgut, tho'.

beedee
2nd July 2010, 06:39 PM
Sorry PG I didnt see your post with the measured amounts only comments about using Janola... I shall hide in the offal pit for a week.

returnee
3rd July 2010, 08:23 AM
We installed a filter plus UV sterilizing system when we bought our place. We have to replace the UV light every year, but do not regret it. I grew up drinking rain water and am not bothered by the thought of mud on the bottom of the tank (Dad cleaned ours out if the water level was very low) but my american husband got hysterical when he thought about drinking water containing bird-you-know-what from the roof!
Marion

LongRidge
5th July 2010, 08:07 PM
If you are itchy, what trees do you have around the house that pollen can blow onto the roof from. Silver birch is a real nasty, as is ivy. If either of them can get into the water supply then destroy them quickly.
Drain the water tank, leaving about 1000 litres for 3 or 4 days supply. Hopefully it will rain by then to refill the tank.
If you can't work out how deep 1000 litres is, post back with the diameter of your tank.

Alan Gilbert
7th July 2010, 10:51 AM
The pH of pure water is 7. Anything less is acidic, anything more is alkaline.
When the plumber put in the overflow for our tanks, he glued an elbow on the end of the pipe, with the open end up so as to form a water trap to prevent rats getting up the overflow pipe into the tank. A water trap is much better than a mesh filter, as it does not significantly impede the flow and it does not get blocked by crud.
You might also consider doing the same for the inlet route the pipe down below the height of the entry point into the tank, then back up again, so there's always water in the low bit to keep the rats out.
The only place for mesh is over the air vent (if there is one).

mikethebike
7th July 2010, 11:18 AM
Alan having a water trap is not a bad idea but it wont stop mice or rats getting in they commonly get up through traps in toilets from drains where they often live the only way to stop them getting in is a physical barrier such as mesh or similar, whilst i agree mesh can get blocked with crud regular maintenence sorts this out and i for one would rather clean the filter regularly than have the crud in the water tank!

LongRidge
7th July 2010, 02:23 PM
Water usually has carbon dioxide dissolved in it, which makes the pH quite acidic. Depending on the amount of CO2 in the water, the pH can get down to the low 6's.
I see this morning that some dirty rat has been gnawing away at our spring inlet pipe right next the the tank inlet. If he fell in the tank, I hope he got out the overflow :-(

Alan Gilbert
9th July 2010, 12:22 PM
Mike, thanks for the kind thought.
But – the overlow trap has a water-filled elbow pointing up, in a position where a rat would have to climb up to it, then deliberately dive into water and swim under-water through about ten feet of pipe before he could breathe again. I can't see even the most curious rat attempting that, but I might well heed your warning and put a bit of pipe on the elbow to increase the height/depth of the standing water in the trap to discourage the buggers even more.
The inlet traps are formed because the tank inlet height is only about 200mm below the leaf-diverters on the downpipes from the house guttering. The downpipes therefore go down to ground level, along under the ground and back up to the tank. The "trap" thus formed is about two metres deep, and for a rat to get in he would have to climb up two metres of drainpipe (on the outside), swim down two metres, along between twenty and fifty metres under water (depending on which downpipe he chose), and finally up two metres before plopping into the tank. I'll give any rat who succeeds in that endeavour a very respectful funeral indeed!
By the way, another good steriliser is Hydrogen Peroxide. It kills bacteria smartly, and breaks down to water and oxygen leaving no nasties in the water. I use this when taking on water in the campervan. You can get the right stuff from any good water filter supplier.