To ensure rainwater tanks are kept hygienic and your rainwater is of the cleanest possible standard, councils recommend removing sludge and sanitising rainwater tanks at least once every 2 years.

You will be the first to know when your tank water needs cleaning. Water discolouration, foul odour or taste is all indications that your tank water is not healthy and requires attention. Preventative maintenance and cleaning of your rainwater system can avoid reaching this unpleasant situation.

These simple tips will help to ensure the health of your water and tank. Keep your gutters and roof catchment clear of organic matter such as leaves.

Ensure your tank is cleaned annually or biannually, before summer. Rapid bacterial growth and the leaching of tannins from leaves and organic debris are promoted by warmer water, with high sludge levels.

Filtering the water after it leaves the tank, post-tank filtration, is no substitute for clean gutters, pre-tank filtration (leaf filters and water diverters) and bi- annual tank cleaning.

If possible, position the tank in the coolest possible location. In cooler water, debris and sediment settle more rapidly and tannins are less easily extracted from bark, leaves etc.

By disconnecting down pipes from your tank before the first rain, after a long dry spell, you will prevent dust, debris and other pollutants collected on your roof from entering your tank. Alternatively a first-flush diverter can be installed.

Paraffin oil or kerosene added to your tank water will not prevent mosquitoes breeding. The oil will turn to wax in cold water, and the kerosene can pose a health risk. A properly sealed tank will prevent insect entry. Sealing also ensures the tank remains as dark as possible, keeping algal growth to a minimum.

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