Category: SAVE WATER


In November of 2013 the EPA published a report on “The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy”.

We are in the business of Inspecting and Cleaning potable water storage tanks and towers.  Saving potable water is the center point of our underwater tank inspections and in-service diver cleanings.  In this paper the EPA has drawn attention to how valuable our water supply really is as an essential part of our economy.

This is a must read for anyone who is in the business of water distribution. In fact, by the time you’re done with it you may agree this is a must read for everyone.

This report raises awareness of water’s importance to our national economic welfare.  The report highlights the economic importance of water and at the same time how hard that fact is to measure.   The report establishes some extraordinary facts . For example, “The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that in 2005, water withdrawals from groundwater and surface water in the United States totaled approximately 410 billion gallons per day (BGD) (USGS, 2009).1 USGS reports withdrawals for eight water use categories: public supply; domestic self-supply; irrigation; livestock; aquaculture; industrial; mining (including oil and gas extraction); and thermoelectric power. Exhibit 1 shows the distribution of withdrawals in 2005 by category”.

Read the entire report here: “The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy”.

If you need more information about saving water with underwater tank inspections or in-service diver cleanings for your potable water or fire prevention tanks, click “RON PERRIN WATER TECHNOLOGIES“, or call toll free: 888-481-1768.

Please share this post, or at least the link to:  “The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy”.  The truth is that the EPA is very good at writing papers, but not so good at getting them read. This is a significantly important work that should become a sounding board for the entire country.

People are concerned about their water quality.

By Ron Perrin            (c) 2010 all rights reserved

Cleaning water storage tanks is a positive action to address this problem.  While a few states require water storage tanks to be inspected only Florida requires tanks to be cleaned at this time.  The few states that do require tanks to be cleaned are content with the outdated AWWA methods of draining the facility, putting an inspector inside to check for structural soundness, and paint conditions, few inspectors pay a lot of attention to the sediment on the floor.  The tank or tower is then decontaminated by super chlorinating the water as it is filled.  That water is dumped, and replaced with fresh water that is tested before the tanks returns to service.  This method that has been in place for over 25 years and is a good way to disinfect any contamination an inspector may have introduced into the tank.  It will also kill a majority if not all of the bacteria and viruses that may be on the interior walls or on the surface of the sediment in the floor of the facility.

This method is NOT CLEANING the tank.  You can inspect & disinfect the water storage tank or tower and NEVER CLEAN IT.

If there are colonies of bacteria in and under the sediment before this process many will survive the disinfection process using the sediment for cover.  Protozoa like crypto can even survive the decontamination process on the surface of the sediment.  It has been proven that the only effective way to rid a water storage facility of crypto is physical removal.   What this decontamination procedure will do is return the tank to a condition that will pass a water quality check, while problems continue to grow in the sediment.

Most water storage tanks & towers are not designed to be cleaned.   The water drained goes directly into the water system.  There is not a “DRAIN PIPE” or “Wash Out Port” on most water storage tanks or towers.

The engineers that designed most of the  the tanks & towers in service today never thought about needing to clean them.  The thinking was this- It is storing perfectly clean and treated water in a closed system from the water plant, the water will be in the tank until it goes to the tap and is used by the consumer.  How could it get dirty?

Since 1990 tanks have been routinely inspected by divers, ROV’s and remote underwater video cameras.  What we know for sure it that over time WATER STORAGE TANKS accumulate sediment.

When tanks are drained & inspected what appears to be 1/4 or 1/2″ of insignificant sediment on the floor of the tanks, may actually be two or three inches of semi-liquid habitat on the floor of the tank that can support & hide billions upon billions of contaminates.  Seen with underwater cameras while the tanks remain in service we are only now beginning to understand how much of a threat sediment on the floor of a potable water storage tank is to public health.   Many states without any inspection rules are allowing feet of sediment to accumulate.

Tank Cleaning Methods:

Some attempt to pressure wash the facilities.  Workers are sent up and into a water storage tower with pressure washers and told to clean the tank.  They see a big floor drain in the center and of course push everything into it.  There is no where else for it to go.  Every thing that is cleaned with a pressure washer is then pumped right back up into the tanks when the facility goes back into service.

From the drawing board tanks & towers need to be designed with clean out drains & clean out valves.  Regulators need to understand that the AWWA rules for inspecting and disinfecting water storage tanks are antiquated.  The State of Florida is the first to understand that regulations must be in place to CLEAN tanks at least once every five years, in addition tanks that are attached to a raw water source must be cleaned annually.

For More information on tank & tower cleaning visit http://www.ronperrin.com

Polluted Drinking Water

Water Storage Tower Being Cleaned

People are concerned about their drinking water, and they should be.

To properly clean most water storage tanks the sediment must be PUMPED out.  Removing the sediment to the yard of the facility is the only practical way that the tank is really cleaned.  A Potable Water Dive Crew using equipment that is purchased for and only used in potable water is a economical way to keep the facility clean.  Wearing dry suits that completely seal the diver in his own environment the diver can be washed down with a 200ppm chlorine solution.  This removes the need to “decontaminate” the entire tank after the inspection or cleaning.  The diver can then enter the facility and vacuum  ALL LOOSE sediment from the floor of the tank, completely removing any contaminate that may be using the sediment for cover.

This method leaves the tank much cleaner than pressure washing or the traditional bucket & shovel.  It also saves water, using only a fraction of the water lost draining then disinfecting the tank.  Saving the utility time and water results in a saving of utility funds while providing customers with cleaner drinking water.  When human health is a risk, the savings cannot even be calculated when you consider that some basic housekeeping may keep your utility from being next weeks headlines regarding contaminated drinking water.

Article by Chris Griffin ADEM, Posted on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management  web site.

Would you drink from a dirty water glass?

This is a great article that ask a great question.  It also points out that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has certain recommendations about routine water tank and tower maintenance that include tank inspection at least once every five years.

But they have gotten it WRONG.  Alabama requires the tank to be inspected by draining and disinfecting the interior a minimum of once every five years.

What is wrong with that you ask?

Disinfecting is NOT CLEANING.  We are not all speaking the same language here.  Many say disinfecting assuming when that is done the tank will be clean.  This is not the case.  From the engineers who build water storage tanks down to the managers who run the systems there has been a major break in communications with what is actually in water storage facilities.

The tanks & towers are designed to be CLOSED SYSTEMS, they store the crystal clear clean water that comes from the water plant.  When Alabama DEM requires operators to drain & inspect the water storage tanks and then disinfect the interior, that disinfection process is to kill whatever contamination may have been introduced into the tank during the inspection.  Sediment that was on the floor of the facility before the inspection is there after the tank is disinfected and placed back into service.

Disinfecting is not Cleaning,  if you have contaminates like bacteria, protozoa or even viruses buried in the sediment before the disinfection the majority of them are going to be there after the disinfection.  The only way to remove them from the facility is to CLEAN the TANK.

Most tanks and water towers were not designed to be cleaned.  There are no handy cleaning ports to open up and wash things into.  It was assumed by the designing engineers  that only clean water would be stored in these facilities and there was no need.

The reality is that over time sediment accumulates on the floor of water storage tanks and towers.  They need to be Cleaned out, not looked at and disinfected.

Once sediment is de-watered a few inches of soft simi -liquid sediment can become 1/2 inch of hard clay like coating stuck on the floor of the tank.  An underwater inspection can offer more information about the facility without any disruption in service.   Divers deployed to clean the tank can remove everything that is loose in the floor of the facility and provide video documentation confirming the job was done and the floor is now clean.

Washing a tank out after draining it for an inspection is not a viable way to clean a tank.  For example on an elevated tower, where is the sediment being washed to?  We have seen many cases where it was washed down the center standpipe only to return when the facility is put back in service.

The other option is a bucket and shovel, where even the most dedicated crew can not get 100% of the sediment out.  The shovel is also hard on the painted surface of the floor.  Divers removing the sediment OUT of the facility and onto the yard of the tank is really the best option.  When you consider the  disruption in service, man hours and cost of water divers are also the most economical option to clean a water storage tank or tower.

This is a great article that ask a great question.  It also points out that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has certain recommendations about routine water tank and tower maintenance that include tank inspection at least once every five years.

But they have gotten it WRONG.  Alabama requires the tank to be inspected by draining and disifecting the interior a minimum of once every five years.

What is wrong with that you ask?

Disinfecting is NOT CLEANING.  We are not all speaking the same language here.  Many say disinfecting assuming when that is done the tank will be clean.  This is not the case.  From the engineers who build water storage tanks down to the managers who run the systems there has been a major break in communications with what is actually in water storage facilities.

The tanks & towers are designed to be CLOSED SYSTEMS, they store the crystal clear clean water that comes from the water plant.  When Alabama DEM requires operators to drain & inspect the water storage tanks and then disinfect the interior, that disinfection process is to kill whatever contamination may have been introduced into the tank during the inspection.  Sediment that was on the floor of the facility before the inspection is there after the tank is disinfected and placed back into service.

Disinfecting is not Cleaning,  if you have contaminates like bacteria, protozoa or even viruses burried in the sediment before the disinfection the majority of them are going to be there after the disinfection.  The only way to remove them from the facility is to CLEAN the TANK.

Most tanks and water towers were not designed to be cleaned.  There are no handy cleaning ports to open up and wash things into.  It was assumed that only clean water would be stored in these facilities and there was no need.

The reality is that over time sediment accumilates on the floor of water storage tanks and towers.  They need to be Cleaned out, not looked at and disinfected.

Once sediment is de-watered a few inches of soft simi -liquid sediment can become 1/2 inch of hard clay like coating stuck on the floor of the tank.  An underwater inspection can offer more information about the facility without any disruption in service.   Divers deployed to clean the tank can remove everything that is loose in the floor of the facility and provide video documentation confirming the job was done and the floor is now clean.

Washing a tank out after draining it for an inspection is not a viable way to clean a tank.  For example on an elevated tower, where is the sediment being washed to?  We have seen many cases where it was washed down the center standpipe only to return when the facility is put back in service.

The other option is a bucket and shovel, where even the most dedicated crew can not get 100% of the sediment out.  The shovel is also hard on the painted surface of the floor.  Divers removing the sediment OUT of the facility and onto the yard of the tank is really the best option.  When you consider the  disruption in service, man hours and cost of water divers are also the most economical option to clean a water storage tank or tower.

Potable Water Diver in DRY SUIT

Sand & Sediment being pumped

Sand & Sediment being removed from a Potable Water Tank

If you have any more details about  rules for inspecting & cleaning water storage tanks in Alabama or any other state contact me-  Im always glad to share information.

Please check out the rest of our blog at www.ronperrin.us and visit my web site at www.ronperrin.com

By Ron Perrin   (c) Ron Perrin 2010 all rights reserved

Do You Have a WATER IQ?

Visit the home page for “Water IQ: Know Your Water” — the campaign that educates utility customers and businesses about their water sources and provides simple tips on how to be more efficient with water. The rapid population growth in Texas, booming economic development and—for many parts of Texas—the worst drought in 50 years means water is in greater demand than ever before. As consumers, we need to use our limited water supplies efficiently no matter how much it rains.The good news is it doesn’t take much effort. If everyone does their part, we can make our water last.Go to http://www.wateriq.org/ or  http://www.wateriq.org/about.php

%d bloggers like this: