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Contaminants that may affect your tank

Maintaining a tank

Maintaining a tank

A variety of contaminants can find their way into your rainwater tank. These can cause bacteria, odour or discolouration of the water and can include –

  • Dust
  • Animal or bird droppings
  • Dead animals
  • Vegetation debris
  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Pollutants
  • Insects

Keep a lookout for things that could create a problem for your tank.  Being vigilant will ensure good water quality, extend the life of the tank and limit added expense in the future.

Things to watch out for include:

  • The use of lead or bitumen based paints, lead flashings, hazardous sealants, treated timber surrounds or uncoated asbestos surfaces where rain runs before entering your tank.  Some of these are particularly used in homes built prior to 1970
  • Sheltered roof sections or guttering which has been damaged or in poor condition.  These areas may not dry sufficiently resulting in the harbouring of disease and mosquitoes.  Mosquito eggs can be washed into your tank quickly during a downpour if they have found suitable areas to breed
  • Nearby wood heaters which may emit toxic chemicals into the air that settle on your roof or in guttering
  • Overhanging tree branches that can cause debris to fall into guttering causing overflows during a downpour.  Certain trees such as the yellow oleander can cause contamination of water.  Check with your local nursery for other varieties that can be best planted near a tank
  • Avoid water exposure to sunlight to prevent algae growth
  • Television aerials where birds gather may cause droppings to enter your rain tank
  • Sludge build-up in the bottom of your tank.  Pumps draw up the sludge resulting in the use of contaminated water and causing blockages in the tank system.

To assist you further with your tank, read our articles on –



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