Once your water tank is fully installed, plumbed in and ready to go, one of the most important things you can do, if the water is being used for household use or drinking water, is to ensure that the water in your tank stays clean and fresh.
1. Keep Your Gutters and Roof Clean
No matter how clean you keep your water tank, if the source of your water harvesting is dirty, then the water that runs from it will pick up some of that dirt and take it into the tank with it.
This is why it’s so important to keep your gutters and roofs clean of debris that may decompose and contaminate any water that is running into your water tank.
The safest way to clean your gutters is to place a ladder square against the roof, wearing a pair of gloves to ensure you don’t cut yourself, and slowly making your way around the perimeter of your house to ensure all leaves, sticks and debris are removed. You may even want to employ a garden trowel if there is a large accumulation of dirt or fine debris.
2. Remove Any Overhanging Trees or Shrubs
In order to prevent the build-up in your gutters from accumulating as fast, it is important to make sure there are no trees or shrubs overhanging the gutters you are using to collect water. Not only will this prevent leaves and branches from ending up in your gutters, it will also prevent birds from roosting over your gutters, and their droppings from entering your water systems.
If the branches overhanging the home and gutters are small enough, you should be able to trim these back with secateurs or a hedge trimmer. If they are too large, or heavy, you may be better off contacting an arborist who can perform the job safely, without posing damage to the home.
3. Consider Installing Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are designed to be fitted to the tops of your gutters, preventing anything from making it into your gutters, and can make cleaning the gutters easier, as the leaves and debris collect on top of the gutter. However if any debris does make it into the gutter system, these will have to be removed in order for effective cleaning to be carried out.
These gutter guards come in a variety of materials and designs, being composed of plastic or steel, and being brush guards, or flat guards to be placed on or in the guttering. Downpipe filters are also available in place of installing full perimeter gutter guards.
4. Inspect and Clean Leaf Filters and Insect and Overflow Screens
At most inlets and outlets of your rainwater tank, you will find some sort of leaf or insect filter, preventing things from entering your water supply. If these filters are doing their job, they will end up catching debris or contaminants, and should be cleaned intermittently so as they do not become contaminated themselves.
This helps to ensure the freshness of water at the last stage of water harvesting.
5. Install a First Flush Diverter
First flush diverters and similar devices serve to divert the first run off of stormwater after a dry period away from the water tank in order to clear the waterways of any dirt or contaminants that may have built up since the last rainfall.
These systems should be installed on all pipes that run directly into the inlet of the water tank.
Both manual and automated first flush diverters can be fitted to your water tank, ensuring that no dirt or debris make it into your rainwater tank.
If you are still concerned about your water quality after taking these precautions, you can install filters to some or all of your household taps, and an under sink system in any areas water is being used for drinking.