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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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November 5, 2014 11:18 am  

Can anyone advise where you get the water quality tested? Really appreciate the help.

Ocean Systems Laboratory
St. Croix: 718-3246
St. Thomas: 714-1911

Their website http://oceansystemslab.com/ is outdated for St. Croix (wrong phone # and address)


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vicanuck
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November 5, 2014 11:23 am  

I mean. . .totally unfiltered, it's brown and totally yucky after a big rain.

Wow...whats living on your roof? After a big rain, my cistern water is crystal clear!


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Alana33
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November 5, 2014 11:43 am  

It probably helps if you keep your roof and gutters clean as well as trimming any overhanging branches near your roof line.

Buying bottled water for every day use just adds to the plastic invasion that creates huge environmental impacts to our landfills and oceans, especially here, where we have no recycling programs for those hundreds of thousands of empty bottles.


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OldTart
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November 5, 2014 12:05 pm  

I mean. . .totally unfiltered, it's brown and totally yucky after a big rain.

Wow...whats living on your roof? After a big rain, my cistern water is crystal clear!

Likely the cistern is very small, the location doesn't see much rain, the cistern level gets low and the bottom sediment gets churned up by the sudden inflow. The sediment quickly settles back down. The "brown and totally yucky" water doesn't mean the water isn't potable at all.


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Cheeseheads
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November 5, 2014 7:57 pm  

Landlords have to deal with liability issues these days. If you drink the cistern water after they tell you "no", then they are not liable if you should become ill. With all the attorneys around, lots of things become liability issues, with potential for litigation, and the significant expense of defending a lawsuit, whether based on fact or not.
We even refused to rent to some folks who asked about yard space for their little trampoline...I can just picture some guest of theirs getting hurt and suing the landlord for letting them have the thing in the yard!

Very well may be the situation. With the prevalent sue happy mentality stateside, what landlord in their right mind would tell a newbie to drink up regardless of cistern maintenance?


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OldTart
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November 5, 2014 8:04 pm  

Very well may be the situation. With the prevalent sue happy mentality stateside, what landlord in their right mind would tell a newbie to drink up regardless of cistern maintenance?

I've never heard of anything remotely similar - but then (and I seem to repeat myself endlessly on this score) neither have I ever heard of or known anyone who's become ill from drinking cistern water ...


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Cheeseheads
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November 5, 2014 8:13 pm  

BTW - thanks all for input on this, we are getting by fine for now and will figure it out as we go.

We have never had a bad experience using cistern for everything else while spending time about the islands so not a major concern.

For now we have refillable 5 gallons to cut down on waste, not going to stress the rest as it will fall into place as we go but the shared insight helps guide us with options.

Cheers!
J and L


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ms411
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November 5, 2014 8:28 pm  

I know someone who drank only bottled water when he moved here from Nevis after drinking only cistern water in Nevis.

Well, when he went back to Nevis after only drinking bottled water on STT, he got sick when he drank Nevis cistern water so he quit drinking STT bottled water and has been healthy ever since with water. He maintained the cistern where I worked so if I ever had a concern I let him know. There were times when I thought the water smelled funny so he would change the filter. We are both very healthy!


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Cheeseheads
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November 5, 2014 8:47 pm  

Very well may be the situation. With the prevalent sue happy mentality stateside, what landlord in their right mind would tell a newbie to drink up regardless of cistern maintenance?

I've never heard of anything remotely similar - but then (and I seem to repeat myself endlessly on this score) neither have I ever heard of or known anyone who's become ill from drinking cistern water ...

This....this is what I like to see. 🙂

This would not at all surprise anyone I know stateside and I am pleased to see the perspective of never hearing a similar situation (big plus 1 for relocation).


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Alana33
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November 5, 2014 9:01 pm  

Why don't you just have the water tested and find out what the problem is, once and for all, if you are all that concerned about it that you feel you must purchase drinking water and so concerned about brushing your teeth, etc., with your cistern water?

You asked for advice and comments. You got them, but seems your mind was already made up on purchasing bottled water and creating more plastic waste.

Maybe you should have the bottled water tested as well?
Good luck to you.


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aussie
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November 5, 2014 9:18 pm  

Drink the water....after you run it through one of these. Hauling water is a pain.

http://aquarain.com/index.html


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IslandBoomer
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November 5, 2014 9:44 pm  

I've got a question regarding cisterns.

I'm looking at purchasing a home that I would visit about 4x/yr for now. I'm not sure if I will rent it out or not. Let's say I don't, and it has a cistern.

Would I be able to maintain the water quality of the cistern with long periods of non-use and just my quarterly visits?

Any recommendations on how to keep the water quality decent between visits?


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vicanuck
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November 5, 2014 9:57 pm  

I only splash some bleach in my cistern about 4 times a year so I'd say you'd be fine that way too. Another method would be to get a pool chlorine puck floater and put 3 or 4 pucks in and let it go (put a sting on it though to retrieve it later). Thats what i would do.


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Cheeseheads
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November 6, 2014 1:01 am  

Why don't you just have the water tested and find out what the problem is, once and for all, if you are all that concerned about it that you feel you must purchase drinking water and so concerned about brushing your teeth, etc., with your cistern water?

You asked for advice and comments. You got them, but seems your mind was already made up on purchasing bottled water and creating more plastic waste.
.

Hi Alana,

Problem with message boards is you cannot read the tone of the poster. 🙂

I was looking for general input from those who know and I got it. Not very concerned using cistern, just did not want to learn anything the hard way if I could avoid it. Really, very relaxed and chill about the water, will figure it out as we go and continue doing everything with the current cistern that we have always done on any island....calm, relaxed and rolling with it.

I do take offense at your accusing me of already deciding to create more waste...you know nothing about us and we are not at all that way. We were composting before it was cool, even had a goatee at one time. 😉

Five gallon re usable jugs...used again and again for now. Once another way is found these jugs will be re-purposed. It has always miffed us as to the lack of recycling, plastic bags in every store.


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IslandBoomer
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November 8, 2014 5:54 am  

Thank you vicanuck. :). Glad it's workable.


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Alana33
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November 8, 2014 10:02 am  

Hi cheeseheads - I lost track of this thread and am glad you're reusing your water containers but was just wondering why you just don't test the water if you were concerned about it.
It's really the only way to be sure of what's going on with your cistern water and be able to address the problem. Didn't mean to offend you but there is so much plastic waste strewn all over the island's roadsides and in our waters that it is really upsetting to imagine even more going into our waste stream. Good luck with your cistern water issue.


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speee1dy
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November 8, 2014 10:06 am  

i have always wondered what the difference was between plastic grocery store bags and plastic garbage bags


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ms411
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November 8, 2014 11:24 am  

i have always wondered what the difference was between plastic grocery store bags and plastic garbage bags

I have wondered the same thing myself! I use the plastic store bags as garbage bags.


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Alana33
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November 8, 2014 12:06 pm  

Denser plastic, longer to degrade.


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OldTart
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November 8, 2014 1:46 pm  

I have wondered the same thing myself! I use the plastic store bags as garbage bags.

Ah, the emergence of sunshine changed your mind after you posted yesterday, "You people just don't get it and I will no longer post or answer questions on this forum because I can't tolerate stupid."

What a difference a (sunny) day makes!


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ms411
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November 8, 2014 2:05 pm  

Lol! Yes, you're right. I've calmed down for now. 🙂


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AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
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November 14, 2014 5:41 pm  

Where do you recycle all those plastic bottles your pure water comes in?

I just burn them in our weekly fire with our used tires and old paint. The colors are spectacular.

I find the notion that we "have not embraced island live" because I'd like to kill the bacteria and microbes in our cistern to be frankly quite silly. Does one need to use palm leaves in lieu of toilet paper and bathe in ponds to to have 'embraced island life'? C'mon people. Sheesh.

I literally LOLed as I've done both on a couple occasions! HAHHAHA! I totally think id rock it out on Survivor. I believe then I have effectively embraced island life.


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JE
 JE
(@JE)
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November 14, 2014 8:54 pm  

When we bought our house in 2002 we were both committed to drinking our cistern water "like a local", since people born on island had been drinking unfiltered/treated cistern water for centuries - good enough for them then good enough for us! After a couple of days I decided to take a look in the cisterns. The living room cistern had about 2 feet of water in it and a couple of dead bloated rats floating on top, as well as a number of rat skeletons laying on the bottom. Fortunately, the bedroom cistern just happened to be the one in service at the time and that had no evidence of rodents in it. The cistern overflow pipes were routed to banana plants and the living room overflow pipe screen had disappeared somehow, providing a nice tunnel for rats to explore and once they fell in the cistern they could not get out.

Since then I have avoided drinking cistern water at any house other than my own. I now have a UV system that I maintain, so I know the status of my cistern water. (In the interest of full disclosure, I started a whole house water filtration company several years ago, and consequently I have seen a lot of other cisterns and UV/filtration systems). I have found dead rats and bloated cane toads as big as a soccer ball in other cisterns and in house gutters that water flowing into the cistern washed over on its way to the cistern. I have talked to people that said they had not had to change their water filters in years only to discover that their UV system had been bypassed for years and they just did not realize it.

I always recommend periodic batch sterilization of your cisterns regardless of whether you have a UV system or not. This can be accomplished by adding 5 or 6 ounces of regular unscented household bleach like Clorox per thousand gallons of water currently in your cistern. The goal is to obtain a chlorine concentration of at least 2 ppm. Adding a cup of bleach now and then might make you feel better about your water but unless you have a tiny or nearly empty cistern it does not accomplish the goal of sterilizing the water. The chlorine in the cistern will dissipate within a week or two, and since new water is constantly being added to the cistern, the process should be repeated regularly. Charcoal filters will improve the taste and odor of your water but are useless from a bacteria removal standpoint. In fact, they will simply concentrate the bacteria and provide a good breeding medium for them. Most charcoal filters will have a warning on them stating "not for use with water of unknown quality", which is pretty much what cistern water is. And regarding using swimming pool chlorine tablets, they contain a stabilizing chemical that is considered by most sources to be a known carcinogen, so they are never recommended for use in drinking water.

Obviously, people throughout the Caribbean drink untreated cistern water daily with no ill effects. And most bacteria is harmless anyway, with E. coli being the primary concern in cistern water. Just offering my two cents...


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