Australian Government’s Department of Health has developed recommendations for monitoring and maintaining rainwater tanks. Rainwater from your roof is a high-quality source of water and safe to drink when stored in a properly installed and maintained water tank.
Once a rainwater tank is installed, it is recommended that the following components of the roof catchment and tank be inspected at least every six months:
- Roof – check for accumulated debris, leaves and other organic material. Accumulated matter should be cleaned out. If tree growth has led to overhanging branches, then you should prune them back.
- Gutters – generally should be cleaned in addition to being inspected. If you discover large amounts of leaf material or other debris, then the frequency of your inspection and cleaning should be increased.
- Tank inlets, insect-proofing and leaf filters – all screens on your tank entry points should be cleaned out and repaired as necessary. Often overlooked in the tank overflow, which if clogged can result in rainwater overflowing during downpours.
- Tank and tank roof – check structural integrity of the tank including the roof and access cover. Some poly tanks also have internal poles, which really is a design flaw since they can pierce through the roof. Any holes or gaps should be repaired.
- Internal inspection – check for evidence of access by animals, birds or insects including the presence of mosquito larvae. If present, identify and seal access points. You should also check for algae growth and if found disinfect your tank water and close all points of light entry.
- Pipework – check for structural integrity. Sections of pipework that are not self-draining should be drained. Pipework that is buried underground, like with ‘wet systems’, can be difficult to drain or flush, so drainage points should be fitted.
In addition to six-monthly inspections, tanks should be inspected every 2-3 years for the presence of accumulated sediments (read Is Water Tank Sludge Unsafe or Harmful to Rainwater Quality?). If the bottom of your tank is covered with sediment, then it should be cleaned out. This task is made easier if you install TankVac’s self-cleaning tank system.
When your rainwater tank is no longer required, it is important to drain and dismantle them as they can become a significant mosquito breeding site. Failure to properly mosquito proof your rainwater tank, even if not in use, can result in fines.