Tag Archive: potable water tank cleaning


Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Requires Assessment and Corrective Action when there are indications of coliform contamination.

On February 13, 2013, EPA published in the Federal Register Vol.78 No.30 (part III)  the revisions to the 1989 TCR.  EPA anticipates greater public health protection under the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) requirements.  These new requirements will go into full effect April 1, 2016.

Under the RTCR, there is no longer a monthly maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation for multiple total coliform detections.  New revisions require systems that have indicators of coliform contamination in the distribution system to assess the problem and take corrective action that may reduce cases of illnesses and deaths due to potential fecal contamination and waterborne pathogen exposure. This final rule also updates provisions in other rules that reference analytical methods and other requirements in the 1989 TCR, like public notification and ground water rules.

The rule says “The Distribution System”  of course, what that means is,  “The Water Utility Manager or Operator” is now required to assess the problem and take corrective action when there are indications of coliform contamination.

Getting started assessing the problem:

A tank inspection may be the best place to start with the assessment.  Is the vent screen in place?  Are there birds or insects in the tank?  There are at least 12 steps to a water tank inspection and at least one of them should be to get a look inside the facility to see if there is sediment on the floor of the tank.  Over time, sediment can build up on the floor area of almost all water storage tanks and towers.  Sediment is known to be a habitat for bacteria, protozoa and viruses.  Inspection contractors can offer great documentation of the interior condition of water storage tanks with no disruption in water utility service.  Using remotely operated cameras, inspection robots, or even potable water divers, high tech contractors can deliver great information about the water storage tank or tower.  For information on in-service Water Tank and Tower Inspections, see our inspection page at www.ronperrin.com. For tips on doing your own potable water tank or tower inspection, see: Do your own potable Water Tank Inspection at:  THE TANK DIVER blog.

Corrective action may be as simple as basic housekeeping.  If you know the facility has never been cleaned there is more than a good chance sediment inside the structure needs to be removed.  Again, a qualified diving contractor can save time, water and money by removing all loose sediment with minimal water loss or disruption in service.  For more information on using a Potable Water Dive Crew to clean your potable water tank or tower see our cleaning page: www.ronperrin.com/cleaning

 

Our tank cleaning customers tell us time and again that their chlorine use was significantly reduced after we cleaned their facility.   With regular inspections and cleanings your likelihood of a coliform contamination are greatly reduced,  if not completely eliminated.

To request a tank inspection or cleaning quote, call Ron Perrin Water Technologies toll free at 888-481-1768 or visit the about us/contact page at The Tank Diver Blog.

Sediment Being Removed from a Ground Storage Tank

Sediment Being Removed from a Ground Storage Tank

 

 

Since 1997 Ron Perrin Water Technologies has been serving the water utility industry with innovative tank inspection and cleaning solutions.

See the Full Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Here:  RTCR

In July of 2010 the EPA requested comments on proposed changes to the

Total Coliform Rule.  The entire posting can be read on this link.

Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 14, 2010 / Proposed Rules

See my post: EPA considering requiring all Water Storage Tanks to be cleaned!

Published 7-17-2010, I highlighted the relevant parts of the Federal Register post from July 2010.

The EPA is currently doing a study on the cost or requiring all potable water tanks and towers in the U.S. to be inspected and cleaned.

On May 22, 2013 we were contacted by The Cadmus Group and ask to participate in a survey on water tank inspection and cleaning.

I have made an inquiry to he Cadmus Group as to the progress of the survey, I am currently waiting for a reply.  You can explore my former post from 2010 (linked above) to get a good idea of how this came about and why the EPA thinks there is a need for a national rule.

Do you want to know more about YOUR LOCAL DRINKING WATER?  START HERE: http://water.epa.gov/drink/local/

300.000 Gallon

300.000 Gallon

Sediment Being RemovedFrom 300,000 gallon drinking water tower.

Sediment Being Removed
From 300,000 gallon drinking water tower.

The water storage tanks and towers you see around your city or town are the last stop for drinking water on its way to your tap.  By the time the water enters the storage tank it has been processed through filter media or other forms of treatment to meet EPA standards. Over years of service, sediment builds up in water storage tanks and towers.  One particle at a time, from a half to three inches is a common amount of build up over several years.  This sediment that gathers on the bottom of the tank floor is seldom thought about.  Out of sight and out of mind, it lays undisturbed becoming a welcoming habitat for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses. . .

Sediment under Microscope

Sediment under Microscope

A close up of the sediment under a 4x microscope did not reveal any moving contaminates, but still, nothing you would want to drink. . . . .

Sediment water under a 40X microscope

Sediment water under a 40X microscope

. . . However, under a 40x microscope we could see the movement of microorganisms.  Removing the sediment from the floor of the tank removed the habitat that these microbes were able to live in.  Now chlorine will keep the drinking water fresh and pure, free from bacteria and other living contaminants. . . . . This is raw video of what we found with our 40X electronic microscope.   For more information on water tank cleaning visit my commercial web site at http://www.ronperrin.com One of our divers thought he had something important to say from the top of a water storage tank we were cleaning.  He made this video and put it online.  A little rough, a little crude, but he makes a good point. If you would like a quote on cleaning or inspecting a water storage tank or tower please call us toll free at 888-481-1768. Check us out on FACEBOOK and LINKED IN and share this site with your friends!

Do you need a Potable water tank or tower inspected?

Our inspection methods offer the most information for the least cost,  all of our inspection methods include an underwater DVD allowing you to see what is in your storage tanks.  Remote video camera, ROV or potable water diver we have a method for every budget.

Call us toll free at 888-481-1768 or simply fill out the form below:

A countless number of biological contaminants can use the sediment in the floor of water tanks and towers to get a foot hold in a municipal drinking water system and grow into a real health concern.  Why should we care what is on the bottom of a water storage tank?

We drink off the bottom of water storage tanks!  Of course like many things the adverse health effects are unequally distributed to poor communities where drinking store bought bottled water is not a given, It is also these communities who have underfunded water systems that suffer from lack of maintenance.

Many utility systems that can afford inspection and cleaning of their systems simply do not allocate the funds for it because there are no regulations requiring them to do so.

See potable water storage tank inspection and cleaning on this video.

This video shows how professional companies like “RON PERRIN WATER TECHNOLOGIES” using cutting edge equipment can make quick work out of inspecting and cleaning the most difficult water storage facilities.  The inspections can be performed with zero water loss or disruption in service.   Potable water divers can clean the floor of the facilities with minimal water loss providing a healthier storage area for municipal drinking water.  This makes a huge difference, a clean storage tank reduces the amount of treatment chemicals needed to meet current sanitary regulations.

Do you think the EPA should require Potable Water Storage tanks and towers to be cleaned?

Take the poll on this blog and be counted!

Link to the video

https://ronperrin.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/water-storage-tank-cleaning/

From my conversations with others in the industry this is what

their concerns are for storage tanks.

None of the tools that are outlined below have worked to get PWSs to

clean their tanks every 5 years.  Unfortunately, it comes down to the

personal preference of each PWS’s Manager whether the tank is cleaned on

a schedule recommended by guidance.

Some manager’s religiously clean their tanks every year, or every three years but for others, it never

occurs to them to clean their tanks.

This is unacceptable and can

sicken hundreds and cause fatalities.  Because nothing has worked, it is
vital for the protection of public health to create a regulatory (not
guidance) back stop that any system that has not cleaned and inspected
their storage tanks in the last 5 years would incur a violation.  This
is not a burden to those PWSs that have done what is right and followed
guidance but it does provide equal public health protection for those
who have not followed guidance.  We need to ask ourselves, where will
the next waterborne disease outbreak, like Alamosa occur?   In Alamosa,
one person died and 1300 others were sickened in a waterborne disease
outbreak that was caused due to neglect of their storage tanks – this
was completely preventable.  This person died needlessly.  Create a
regulatory backstop to prevent waterborne disease outbreaks from ever
occurring from such a preventable cause.

AWWA guidance and EPA whitepapers do not work to get PWSs to clean their
tanks every 5 years!

AWWA Manual M42 recommends tanks be drained, inspected and cleaned at
least every 3 years.  This same recommendation is reflected in EPA’s
Whitepaper on Finished Water Storage Tanks.  Kirmeyer, one of the
industry’s most  knowledgeable persons on storage tanks and water
quality, recommends tanks be drained, cleaned and have a comprehensive
inspection every 3  to 5 years.  These recommendations are ignored and
unknown to most PWSs.  They are recommendations, they are nice to do and
as a consequence, tanks are not cleaned and inspected and that’s why we
continue to find feet of sediment inside of tanks.  They don’t realize
the public health significance that sediment and holes large enough to
allow birds, rodents and insects into their tanks can have, it can lead
to waterborne disease outbreaks.  Salmonella can last for months in a
wet environment.  Clearly guidance does not work to get PWSs to clean
their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop to get PWSs to
do what is right for public health protection.  This does not need to be
delayed to study this to death, this is one of the most simple and
practical ways to protect public health.

None of the 50 states use their Significant Deficiency authority in
sanitary surveys for ground or surface water to clean their tanks every
5 years

None of the states have “not cleaning and inspecting their tank within
the last 5 years” as an item on their list of significant deficiencies.
The reason is States don’t realize the public health significance of
sediment buildup and/or the significance of breaches to a storage tank.
That is why cleaning and inspection is not on State’s significant
deficiency lists for sanitary surveys.  When you have both sediment
buildup and breaches, that is a fatal combination, and what causes
waterborne disease outbreaks like in Alamosa, Colorado.  One person died
from this Salmonella waterborne disease outbreak in Alamosa, he died,
from something that is totally and completely preventable.  There is a
class action lawsuit ongoing at this time.   You may justly ask why
aren’t we having waterborne outbreaks at more systems?  Because along
with sediment buildup and holes you need an event that would scour this
disease laden sediment into the distribution system.  Unfortunately,
that event that would awake this sleeping giant of a public health
concern is uncontrolled (e.g., fire flow, poor operation, power outages,
etc.) and that is completely unpredictable.  Gideon, Missouri had holes
that allowed salmonella contaminated bird feces into their tank but, it
was not until they underwent a flushing program that accidentally
drained their tank and flushed contaminated sediment into their
distribution system that the outbreak occurred.  This series of events
that led to hundreds of illnesses and 7 deaths stands ready to occur
again at hundreds of PWSs across the country.  EPA you have given the
drinking water industry a tremendous opportunity to prevent hundreds of
serious illnesses and fatalities from occurring from something the
industry already recognizes is vital to perform by creating a regulatory
backstop.  But, and I can not say this strongly enough, if you are
relying on significant deficiencies to achieve this goal it is not and
will not work unless there is a regulatory back stop.

State regulations that require PWSs to inspect their tanks only do not
work to get PWSs to clean their tanks every 5 years!

In the State of Texas where they have regulations that require PWSs to
have yearly inspections do not clean their tanks even when provided
overwhelming video and picture evidence of the sediment buildup.  They
don’t clean their tanks because they are not required to.  It is
impossible to inspect the floor of a tank when the sediment is not
removed.  The State of Wisconsin has recommendations for inspection
every 5 years, yet in the City of Brookfield two tanks were last cleaned
at a frequency of 7 years with 4 to 12 inches of sediment and another at
a 15 year frequency with 28 inches of sediment.     Clearly regulations
and recommendations to inspect only do not work to get PWSs to clean
their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop to get PWSs to
do what is right for public health protection.

State recommendations to inspect and clean their tanks do not work to
clean tanks every 5 years

Recommendations are largely ignored by PWSs.  Actually it’s much worse,
PWSs don’t even know these recommendations exist.  For example in the
State of Minnesota they had recommendations that stated ” All water
storage tanks should be inspected, cleaned and disinfected on an annual
basis.  Cleaning and disinfection should take place more frequently when
there have been identified water quality issues”.  The City of Moorhead,
one of the largest PWSs in the State, was unaware of any such
recommendation.  Recommendations to inspect and clean do not work to get
PWS to clean their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop
to get PWSs to do what is right for public health protection.

Protect public health over politics

Many agencies purporting to protect small systems (e.g., Rural Water,
RCAP, etc.) from the high costs of regulations are the very same systems
with the highest levels of sediment and most significant holes in their
storage tanks.  Many of these small systems can clean their tanks by
themselves with their own staff and fire hoses.  If these agencies were
truly helping these systems they should be assisting them to comply with
industry guidance of cleaning their tanks every 3 years.  If this were
the case such agencies would be able to say don’t worry about a
regulation to inspect and clean your tank it will never apply to you
because we ensure your tank in cleaned every 3 years.   The cost of a
cleaning a storage tank does not compare to the cost of a waterborne
disease outbreak and defending yourself from class action lawsuits.

Since 2004, testing by water utilities has found 315 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) drinking water quality analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials.

More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.

Water utilities spend 19 times more on water treatment chemicals every year than the federal government invests in protecting lakes and rivers from pollution in the first place.

Read More Here : EWG.ORG WATER – HOME PAGE

Sediment being removed from a ISD water storage tank in West Texas.

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

 

Ok for years I have been saying it wrong  POT (like a pot on the stove) able.  Now,  I have been corrected

My company Inspects cleans and Dives in poh-tuh-buhl Water Tanks. 

it is Pronounced [poh-tuh-buhl] [Origin: 1565–75; < LL pōtābilis drinkable, equiv. to L pōtā(re) to drink + -bilis -bleOld French, from Late Latin pōtābilis, from Latin pōtāre, to drink, from pōtus, a drink  Reference: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Cite This Sourcepo·ta·ble   Audio Help   [poh-tuh-buhl] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation

Ok, Ive been saying POT-ABLE for so long I think I will just change to DRINKING WATER.  My Company

Inspects drinking water tanks with a remote camera,  we can identify problems with interior coatings, corrosion and sediment.  Sediment in patable water storage systems is a real problem.  Sediment can be a habitat for bacteria to grow.  Bacteria in a citys drinking water is not usually a good thing.  The more sediment in a water storage tank or tower, the more chance there is for bacteria to come into the system, find a place to get a foothold and grow into a problem. 

When our inspections find deep sediment in a water storage facility we offer to clean it out using commercial divers.  Divers enter the water system wearing a dry suit enclosed in their own enviroment, they are washed down with a chlorine solution meeting AWWA standards.  The diver can then remove the sediment without wasting several hundred thousands or even millions of gallons of water.  This cleaning process also get the tank cleaner than the traditional method of taking the facility out of service.  Everything that is loose on the floor is removed.  If the tank is drained the loose semi liquid sediment often compresses into a hard clay like substance making cleaning much more dificult and not nearly as effective.  See more about our Inspection and tank cleaning service at www.ronperrin.com .

We are now happy to Inspect and clean Drinking Water Tanks.

Also See our other blog At www.tankdiver.us .

 

%d bloggers like this: