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Skanky Water

I posted this over on the MyOldRV Forum back on 4/12/2012


Let me set the stage here….

With one exception which was our first month of gate guarding way back when, we have always drank and cooked with water we had on hand. Before gate guarding we were on remote construction sites and used one of those 300 gal translucent totes in a wire cage. Over the years, I got pretty good at ‘managing’ the water in the tote. A little bleach now and then would clear up algae before it really got started.

Before you go ‘Blech! You drink that water?!?!?’, we have a water filter on the Old Girl made by a company in Utah that supplies the same system to the military so it is several levels removed from the Wal-Mart filters. It also has a nifty UV light to blast the buggies.

We replaced a couple here outside of Carizzo and they left in a huff so I got no chance to compare notes. I briefly glanced in the water tank and verified we had about 450 gals. We do not draw off the black water tank via the city water inlet. I always fill the onboard tank. That is what Tuco the Dog and I were doing yesterday when I decided to check the water out. I always take a flashlight to get a good look inside the tank. Well, it did not look good. Smelled OK and there was a little sediment on the bottom which is normal and allowable. The water was murky or cloudy and there was a thin translucent but not continuous floating film on top.

I grabbed a sample in a cup and then threw a cup of liquid bleach in the tank which now contained about 375 gallons. I have not been outside yet to see if the bleach cleared the water. The sample cup I got yesterday is STILL murky with no settling of any type on the bottom.

Time to update this water situation. I have dealt with some bad water over the years but nothing as bad as what we have here in Dimmitt County, South Texas USofA. Under the auspices of the oil company, Stallion delivers our water here in a big ol’ tank mounted on a 6 wheel truck. They swear and be damned they are getting it out of the city water tower over in town. I believe ’em because they water has been consistent. Consistently bad. They deliver the same water to the Company Man’s trailer. He stopped by a few weeks ago and I asked him about his water.

‘Bad, ain’t it?’ is what he said. He has been working these parts for the better part of 2 years and he said it  just keeps getting worse. ‘Frackin’ is the culprit. They just keep drawing the water table lower and the water in the aquifer just gets worse.’   I asked my service guy about the water since he delivers water to several of the gate guards in the area.  He verified that this mirky, cloudy, slightly stinky mess with a thin film on top  was about as good as it gets in these parts.   Said he had to go all the way up towards Dilley to get clear water.

Well, alrighty then.  You know,  I didn’t expect to be ridin’  a gravy train with biscuit wheels down here.  This is the South Texas Brush Country after all.  I will tell you right now that I needed some relief on this bad water situation.  The Aqua Sun filter under the kitchen sink did its’ military grade number on this skank water and made it potable.  At the same time, it was making those expensive water filters scream for mercy.  Being as how those rascals are about $25 a pop, we resorted back to totin’ the water in from town for drinkin’ and coffee and such.   I don’t like problems I can’t figure out and this one rankled me pretty bad.

The GOOD one - Watts RV exterior water filter

So I sent Miss K on a mission to Carrizo Springs to find us a water filter.   I just figured with all the recreational vehicles  around here and this bad water that somebody in town had some filters that would fill the bill.  She came home with a Culligan inline RV water filter God bless her.   Only thing in town as far as water filters is what she told me.  I woulda been better off running that water through a pair of boot socks I wore last week not to mention still having the $25 in my pocket that she spent on that useless piece of crap.  Not her fault in any way;  just another example of living out in the rural boonies. That is what they made UPS for I reckon.

I figured there had to be a solution and after I did some Googling I came up with this Watts RV Exterior Water Filter with Garden Hose Fittingsand in short order UPS was dropping it off at the gate along with a pair of replacement filters which set me back less than $100 total. The filters are $19 for the pair and I get a sediment filter and a bug filter.  I liked the fact it had garden hose fittings on each end but I was not expecting them to be cheap plastic.  They coulda put brass fittings on there and really beefed up the whole assembly.

Watts exterior RV filter in place

It didn’t take me long to get that rascal installed.  Not the best looking install I have ever done but I had no intention of permanently mounting it in a bay where space is already at a premium.  So don’t say anything about hanging it off the rear steps with a piece of baling wire, OK?

The good news is it did the trick.  I drained the onboard tanks to get rid of as much as that skanky water as I could and refilled with some filtered water.   I drew off a clear glass full and brought it back inside the Old Girl for inspection.  After sitting over night it looked pretty danged good.  Not hardly as clear as the sample drawn from the military filter but pretty danged close.  No film floating on top and no offensive odor.  I think we got a winner folks!

I am not going to be drinking this water for sure!  I think it will be OK for showers and flushing and dish washing.

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3 comments to Skanky Water

  • Joel

    Thanks for the heads-up. I think I’ll buy some stock in water purification companies, now that fracking has become so popular.

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  • Coal

    I guess another resource gone to supplying us with energy. I know there is trouble down the road for water supply issues in the states. Good post Andy, good info, only thing wrong with my water supply is hard water, nothing a water softener won’t take care of

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    • Andrew

      The limiting resource across most of the Southwest will be water. The nightly San Antone news always reports the aquifer level and whether it is up or down.

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