Tag Archive: water storage tank cleaning


Why do some utilities NOT clean their water tanks and towers? On the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Water Protection Program fact sheet they state: “Routine inspection, cleaning and maintenance of finished water storage facilities are clearly necessary to protect public health.” Isn’t that just common sense? Some states do not have rules on when you inspect or clean tanks. Water storage tanks and towers are the last stop water makes before it comes to the tap at your home. These tanks need to be inspected inside and out every year. We have been using underwater cameras to get that done since 1997. If our cameras find sediment build-up we can remove it with a potable water dive team. Our services are efficient and affordable but still many communities choose to do nothing at all. Check this video out and let us know what you think.

 

Source: Missouri has no requirement to clean water towers

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

I have posted the most interesting part (at least to me).

2. Storage Tank Inspection and Cleaning EPA requests comment on the value and cost of periodic storage tank inspection and cleaning. There are instances of storage tanks being the source of waterborne disease outbreaks at PWSs. In December 1993, a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in Gideon, Missouri resulted in over 600 people affected by diarrhea, 31 cases of laboratory-confirmed salmonellosis and seven deaths of nursing home residents who had exhibited diarrheal illness (four deaths were confirmed by culture). The larger of the two storage tanks had a breach in the roof hatch that allowed pigeon droppings to be carried into the tank and likely accumulated in the several inches of sediment. This contaminated sediment, more than likely, was pulled into the distribution system by a flushing program that  drained the tank (Clark et al. 1996). Salmonella typhimurium was isolated from the sediment of one of the towers, and tap water tested positive for fecal coliforms (CDC 1996). In March 2008, Alamosa, Colorado (with a population of about 9,000 people) experienced a waterborne disease outbreak associated with Salmonella. The report released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Falco and Williams 2009) indicated that the outbreak resulted in 442 reported cases of illnesses, 122 of which were laboratory confirmed, and one fatality. The State epidemiologist estimated that a total of 1,300 people may have been ill. Two storage tanks in Alamosa had several inches of sediment and breaches; one tank had breaches large enough for birds and animals to enter. Some of the key factors that contributed to these two outbreaks include significant levels of sediment (several inches to feet) and the presence of breaches of the integrity of the storage tank. Sediment accumulation occurs within storage facilities due to quiescent conditions which promote particle setting. Over time sediment continues to accumulate in a tank, even if the finished water is consistently treated tobelow 0.1 nephelometric turbidity unit(NTU). For surface water systems, it isnot uncommon to have 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch or more of sediment accumulate after two to three years (Kirmeyer et al. 1999).

While there are no turbidity regulations for ground water systems (except for ground water under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI)), the levels of turbidity can be significant in the water pumped from an aquifer. Sand particles, if allowed to accumulate, provide pore spaces that house diverse populations ofbiota (which may include pathogenic microorganisms) (Kirmeyer et al. 1999; van der Kooij 2003). Periodic high flows in the storage tank may scour, stir up, and suspend the sediment (along with entrapped bacteria and pathogens) and carry it into the distribution system, with greater accumulation of sediment being a more significant concern. Other water quality problems associated with sediment accumulation include increased disinfectant demand and disinfection byproduct formation. The storage tank’s vulnerability to contamination increases when breaches of the storage tank allow insects, animals, and birds and their associated diseases to enter. Contamination from bird and other animal excrement can potentially transmit disease-causing organisms to the finished water.  Waterfowl, for example, are known carriers of many different waterborne pathogens including Vibrio cholerae(Ogg et al. 1989). Based on the potential public health implications associated with poorly maintained storage tanks (e.g., as indicated by significant sediment accumulation and breaches), EPA is interested in receiving comments and supporting information regarding the state and condition of tanks that have been cleaned and inspected, costs of storage tank inspection and cleaning, and how public health can be better protected. EPA requests information on whether there are States that recommend or require periodic inspection and cleaning of storage tanks. If so, what are the requirements, the frequency of inspection and cleaning, and how successful are they? Are inspections and cleaning done by individual PWSs or by contractors?

End

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The EPA extended the comment period until October 13, 2010.


Photos & comment from Ron Perrin:

Sediment Being removed from the floor of a water storage tank

Three inches of sediment being removed from a water tower.

Over time sediment builds up in almost all water storage tanks.  Only with annual inspection of the tanks can the utility operators know they have a problem with sediment levels or a possible breach in the tank.  The most common breach is missing or corroded vent screens.  In areas in the US where tanks are rarely or never inspected it is more common to see water storage tanks & towers with holes in the roof allowing insects and birds to enter the tank.

This sediment that builds up in the floor of the tank can become a breeding ground for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses.  As contaminants become a problem, the water utilities add more and more chlorine and other treatment chemicals. This kills living organisms but starts to build up chemical byproducts like chloroform, trihalomethanes, bromoform, and other contaminants that have been linked to cancer.

Removing the sediment in the floor of water storage tanks is the best way to keep them healthy.  It takes less treatment chemicals, less treatment chemicals means less chemical by-products in our water.  Please join me in responding to the EPA request for comment.  Let them know there should be rules to inspect and clean all water storage tanks that serve water to the public.

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Related Information:

The New York Times has a series of articles called “Toxic Waters” about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response.  Read more at this link:

That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy By CHARLES DUHIGG Published: December 17, 2009

What’s in Your Water

The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal. Examine whether contaminants in your water supply met two standards: the legal limits established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the typically stricter health guidelines. The data was collected by an advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, who shared it with The Times.  See the link below:

What is in your water? Find water Quality reports here:

What is it?  It’s a video about how sediment builds up in our public drinking water supplies.  It should help you understand the importance of having your potable water storage tanks inspected and cleaned.

Out of sight and out of mind.  The cleaning of water storage tanks remains one of the most overlooked health concerns today.  I have been showing this video to every person I can for years.  I just can’t get to enough water utility managers, water board members, mayors and city council people to make a difference.  Information is power, the right people just don’t have the right information to make the right decisions.  Everyone is cutting back and it is easy to cut back on a maintenance budget.  Tell the water utility manager to do the inspections himself.  So, year after year the water tank is inspected without seeing the inside floor of the tank.  Because an inspection contractor with an underwater camera was not in the budget.  So the sediment goes unseen and unnoticed year after year.  Inspections and cleanings would only be one or two percent of the budget.  But the money never gets allocated because the people in control do not understand the importance of it. As the economy gets worse, fewer tanks will be inspected and cleaned while more and more people will return to drinking tap water.

I need your help.

We have all seen the silly or funny “viral videos” that make their way around the world.  This one deserves to be shared so that more people who have influence on the way water systems are managed will understand the problem.  Tanks need to be inspected. If they are dirty, they should be cleaned. It is a very simple message and one that I have spent everything I have made in since 1997 trying to get across to water managers. Please share this video with your friends and encourage them to pass it on to their water utility, city council person, or water board.  Managers just don’t know what is going on inside their water storage tanks.  Having them inspected by a professional with underwater camera equipment will let them know if they have a sediment problem.  If they have sediment, removing it is a cost-effective way of maintaining the public health of that water system.

Also see our page at www.current.tv . Just type “Ron Perrin” into the main page at current or use this link:

http://current.com/users/ronperrin/all/0.htm

If you don’t know about Current TV, it is a cable channel and web site that is viewer created. If your video gets enough votes they put it on TV.  My mission is to show as many people as I can the health concerns of sediment in Public Water Supply storage tanks.  This would be a great way to get my message to thousands of people at a time.  Click on my link below and VOTE me “UP!” on the right side of the page!  By helping to spread this message YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!    Thanks for your help!

This web site is about spreading this message and educating people about the importance of inspecting and cleaning their water potable storage tanks.

Thanks for your help,

Ron Perrin

Ron Perrin Water Technologies has been inspecting and cleaning potable water storage tanks since 1997.  We serve the mid-west and southern United States.    For more information see our web site at: www.ronperrin.com , or call us toll-free at: 1-888-481-1768.

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