WEB Q&As

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: - TONY REPLIES:

QWHAT’S IN THE WA­TER? We re­cently moved onto a nar­row­boat and the do­mes­tic wa­ter has be­come cloudy / grey­ish. Any ideas why? Is it safe to use? ROBYN1234, via the CB web­site

AThis could be some­thing dis­solved in the wa­ter, fine air bub­bles, or par­ti­cles sus­pended in the wa­ter. Fill a tum­bler and let it stand. If the cloudi­ness stays the same, it’s some­thing dis­solved in the wa­ter or of bi­o­log­i­cal ori­gin. If it clears from the bot­tom up, it’s air. If it tends to clear from the top down and leaves a de­posit in the glass, it’s sus­pended par­ti­cles.

In the first case (some­thing dis­solved), it prob­a­bly came in when you filled the tank. Un­less you want to get into steam clean­ing the tank, drain the tank via the taps (en­gine run­ning to keep the bat­tery charged) and re­fill a few times from a source you have tested with a tum­bler. Then ster­ilise the tank and pipes with a pro­pri­etary prod­uct, Mil­ton, or cheap thin bleach and flush the sys­tem again.

In the sec­ond case (air), the pump is suck­ing air into the sys­tem. Make sure the tank is full, check that the main stop valve be­tween tank and pump is fully turned on, check that any strainer on the tank side of the pump is clear, and that there are no damp patches around the pump. If the pump is not con­nected to flex­i­ble pipes the pump to pipe joints can leak. You might have a pin­hole in the pump di­aphragm, but this of­ten shows as a small leak and the pump run­ning more than usual.

In the fi­nal case (sus­pended par­ti­cles) then un­less you have a mild steel wa­ter tank or one that uses the hull as part of the tank, the most likely ex­pla­na­tion is that it is the re­sult of fill­ing the tank (so pro­ceed as per the first case). Some mild steel tanks are ce­ment-washed to pre­vent rust, and a hard im­pact may have dis­lodged some ce­ment wash. I doubt that would make the wa­ter harm­ful, but I would drain and re­fill the tank, and plan to get the tank in­spec­tion cover open soon so you can in­spect the tank, deal with any rust, and re­coat with a prod­uct suit­able for use with potable wa­ter.

Where are you fill­ing your tank from?

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