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Old 04-05-2024, 10:15 PM   #1
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Filters so that drinkable water comes from every tap

I'm building out a 35 foot skoolie and will shortly be roughing in the plumbing. There is a kitchen sink, a small bathroom sink and a shower. Online I've seen lots of builds that, for drinkable water, use a countertop Berkey filter or an under-the- counter filter feeding a separate tap. Water coming out of the main taps is used to wash hands and wash dishes, but not e.g. brushing teeth or drinking.

Not sure if this is too ambitious, but I'd prefer a setup where the water coming out of every tap is drinkable.

I'll never be hooked up to city water under pressure. I have a 45 gallon fresh water tank that I expect will always be filled from clean drinking water sources. I'm mostly concerned about biohazards arising from water sitting in the tank for too long.

Is it feasible to have a "whole house" filtration system that has a sufficient flow rate (like 3 gpm) for even the shower? If so, what would be the components? Eg one or more cylindrical filters going down to xx microns, and an ultraviolet filter?

Thanks.

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Old 04-05-2024, 10:53 PM   #2
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Potable water everywhere

If you only put potable water into your tank, then you'll have potable water at every tap. With only a 45 gallon capacity tank, you'll not have water sitting in the tank for long. If you have a translucent tank, keep it in the dark.

I have no problem drinking water from our 84 gallon tank (2 @ 42 gal each, parallel hookup). Once a year, I sanitize the system, 1 oz bleach per 8 gallons, run through system till you smell bleach, then let sit 12 hours. Then thoroughly flush the system.

I do this, though I'm not certain it's necessary. I've never had an issue with growth in the tanks. I have filled the tanks with potable water that I didn't like the taste of, but it was safe to drink. I just drain and refill with better tasting water when it's available.
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Old 04-06-2024, 12:03 AM   #3
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Why do North Americans (OK, only Canadians and Americans) think you can only shower with potable water? That makes no sense. Why waste precious potable water in a bus on washing / flushing loos / laundry / etc.? Most of this planet's human population uses whatever water is available for their non-consumption needs; when traveling in less-developed countries I've showered in sometimes very questionable water, but it hasn't given me the shits, let alone anything worse! It's OK: try it, trust me on this!

I plan on using some 2.5 gallon jugs of potable water under the kitchen sink, with a small pump to supply it through its own dedicated faucet. I could instead use a Berkey or a Katadyn, but that seems like a faff to me. This way I needn't worry about the other 220 gallons on board that will be only for showers, the washing machine and the loo.

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Old 04-06-2024, 06:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
Why do North Americans (OK, only Canadians and Americans) think you can only shower with potable water? That makes no sense. Why waste precious potable water in a bus on washing / flushing loos / laundry / etc.? Most of this planet's human population uses whatever water is available for their non-consumption needs; when traveling in less-developed countries I've showered in sometimes very questionable water, but it hasn't given me the shits, let alone anything worse! It's OK: try it, trust me on this!

I plan on using some 2.5 gallon jugs of potable water under the kitchen sink, with a small pump to supply it through its own dedicated faucet. I could instead use a Berkey or a Katadyn, but that seems like a faff to me. This way I needn't worry about the other 220 gallons on board that will be only for showers, the washing machine and the loo.

John

re-used water smells bad.. I hate going out in pubic smelling rank.. and ive taken showers in water where I smelled rank after the shower... I suppose if you are a mountain man never seeing another human then showering in whatever works..



I have showered in rain water that was collected and filtered and I believe it was even better than the tap water thats in my own house... if away from cities id think you could probably filter and drink it too..
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Old 04-06-2024, 08:26 AM   #5
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I have filled my water bottle at public parks and things where the water is well water and smells rank. I'm not going to Reverse Osmosis my shower water as that's wasteful, but I did install a 3 stage filter after my water pump. I bought 3 10x2.5in filter housing and have sediment filters, carbon and PAC filters. This system uses all of the same filter types as my 6 stage house RO system without the RO membrane.


This system cost me about $100 verses the Van Life popular clearsource filter of $500.
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Old 04-06-2024, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
re-used water smells bad.. I hate going out in pubic smelling rank.. and ive taken showers in water where I smelled rank after the shower... I suppose if you are a mountain man never seeing another human then showering in whatever works..

I have showered in rain water that was collected and filtered and I believe it was even better than the tap water thats in my own house... if away from cities id think you could probably filter and drink it too..
I never said anything about 'reused' water: I said 'questionable'. Showering with (for example) untreated river and lake water is perfectly acceptable, such as I'd done while in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Even that didn't make me 'smell rank'! And me a mountain man? Hardly! (Hint: Orange County is not exactly remote.) I just don't get hung up on all the phobias and neuroses of modern americans who are world-renowned for their sheltered 'sensitivity' to things that barely faze most other people.

Back to bus-related matters. I see no reason to use more resources or energy than is necessary for the task, e.g. why heat or cool the entire bus if you only need one part of it heated or cooled, why have all the lights on if you only need one area lit, and likewise why treat all the water to potable standards if most of it will only be used for showers/laundry/flushing loos/etc? Wasteful extravagance and inefficiency have no place in a bus conversion. Do only what is needed. Le Corbusier famously said that a house is just a machine for living in, so why should a bus conversion/motorhome/RV be considered differently? There's no room for sentimentality or lack of clarity when living simply.

John
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Old 04-06-2024, 06:30 PM   #7
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I'm least concerned about the shower, but I can imagine my three year old grandson opening his mouth when he is in the shower. My concern is to keep the little ones safe.
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Old 04-09-2024, 11:02 PM   #8
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We recently had as houseguests two biology professors. They live on an island and drink both well water and rain water collected from the roof. (They have a suitable filtration system for that, including a UV light.)

I gave them a tour of my skoolie and put to them the question I put here about filtering. They said that should not need any filters if I did these two things:

- Fill the fresh water tank only from treated water labeled safe to drink; and

- Keep the tank covered so that zero sunlight hits it. (Potential pathogens need sunlight to grow in the water..)
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Old 04-09-2024, 11:43 PM   #9
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Drifting a bit away from skoolie life for reasons that apply to this question... I was on a submarine for a few years, and what we drank was distillate from seawater that was evaporated using extra heat from the 'hot rock' we had under the hood. We also had several other backup systems, but that was the main one that filled our potable tanks.



Every month and every six months Doc would pull up some floorboards to open up a hatch that let him access the tank directly and take some samples to test for any contaminants as well as other things like algal or bacterial growth. He used a concentrated sodium hypochlorite (essentially household bleach) solution to add to our water supply to keep algae from growing. Granted, you typically only find it in 6% or 8.25% solutions, but he used something like a 20% solution b/c government availability and submarines are noticeably lacking in storage space.


Honestly, it was the best water I think I've ever tasted, but I also grew up on well-water, and I've lived in places where I washed and drank in sulfur-water with a distinct rotten-egg smell. I've never understood the paranoia about water purity in the more developed places... we evolved drinking it straight from streams and rivers, and I've done so myself on multiple occasions.


Keep your tanks out of the sunlight, and try to keep them from extreme temperature changes, and you should be fine. Buy a brita pitcher if you're concerned about a particular source, and drink from that.



But I will repeat, 45 gallons seems a bit low to me, especially if you're bringing company or going away for more than a weekend.
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Old 04-10-2024, 09:02 AM   #10
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Water on the aircraft carrier I was on smelled like diesel fuel. So did we after taking a shower.
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Old 04-10-2024, 10:15 AM   #11
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I think we should clarify that there is a difference between what is drinkable, and what is pleasant to drink.

Like Ross said, most water out of your city taps is drinkable. You can put that right into a clean and sterilized water tank, and suffer no issues from consuming it. Then periodic re-sterilization ensures that it stays safe.

I wouldn't drink it though, as most tap water and well water is god awful imo. That's where a filtration/RO system comes into play. fo4imtippin has outlined a decent system that I like(I unfortunately can't thank him). Most house systems are well above 3 gpm capacity, and there are a number of them that are on the shelf at your local hardware store. Another option for that are your RV units. Camco is a big name with a variety of units that are tailored to the rv and boat crowd.

If I were to do this, I'd likely have a household 3 stage filter for all the water, and then have a separate drinking water faucet that would be supplied by an RO filter, with the drain for that going right back into the fresh water tank. This way you receive the purified water that you want at all locations, and you'll also have RO water for drinking, yet you won't be "wasting" the numerous gallons of water that an RO system will during normal operation. You also won't have to worry about that "waste" water accumulation, as it will still be consumed(and filtered) by the other faucets, toilets, and showers during normal operation.

As others have said, 45 gallons seems like a small amount. You might get by if it's just yourself, or the family is camping for a day or two. But if you're full time, I'd really consider increasing that capacity.
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Old 04-10-2024, 08:33 PM   #12
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...yeah...a fellow submariner...

...after a 6-month deployment, clothes had a distinct odor of amine with a slight hint of diesel fuel...wives all said we stunk...showers?...not when you have the evaporator shutdown because you're "on patrol"...more like a bird bath...
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Old 04-10-2024, 11:29 PM   #13
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...yeah...a fellow submariner...

...after a 6-month deployment, clothes had a distinct odor of amine with a slight hint of diesel fuel...wives all said we stunk...showers?...not when you have the evaporator shutdown because you're "on patrol"...more like a bird bath...

Fast-attack boats here. Averaged 9 mo/year at sea... I got out in 2008, and some of my uniforms still smell like rotten cat-piss.


A guy on my first boat had a wife that would make him strip down in the garage after picking him up and made him take a good long shower before they could 'relate' after being gone for so long.



And we had plenty of bird baths on our boys, too.
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