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Water Hose Pipe

After fifteen years we need to replace our hose pipe for filling up the water tank on our narrowboat. We have been advised that certain hosepipes can taint the water and some hose pipes say not suitable for "potable water". Can WW recommend a hose pipe which is safe to use for drinking water?

Asked by: AnnePointer  | 3.53pm, Monday 23 May

WW says:

Ordinary garden hosepipes are not, in theory, passed for potable water. Many chandlerys sell water piping suitable for drinking- often layflat cassette ones. However, most ordinary hosepipes will be OK, as the water is not kept in for a long time- however, for peace of mind, it might be worth buying one certified for food use. Caravan shops are also quite useful and might well be cheaper.
However, whichever you choose, keeping it clean is the most important. Before use, allow water to flush through for at least a minute, before filling the tank, and, preferably, drain the hose before storing it away.
If you feel inside your old hose, you might well find it slimey- this is a biofilm, consisting of bacteria, fungi and other microbial species. The moist environment, combined with heat (often the hose left in a warm gas locker!) is a great breeding ground for microbes.
To combat this, at least ever 6 months (possibly every 3) fill the hosepipe with a chlorine solution. Cheap, thin bleach (not thick bleach, which has sodium hydroxide in as well as the codium hypochlorite), diluted 1:20 with water, to fill the hose. Leave for 30 minutes, then drain ashore (not into the canal!).
It is also worth capping (or covering with plastic bags) both ends of the hose when not in use, to reduce contamination. Wiping the ends of the pipework with a cloth soaked in dilute bleach before use is very helpful, and, of course, avoid dragging it along the groun!
This will help keep the tank clean, in between disinfection cycles, and hopefully reduce any chance of contamination.

Mark Langley  | 12.25PM, Tuesday 24 May

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