While co-existing with rodents is here to stay, we don’t have to put up with our native pest species polluting our already scarce potable water supplies. However vermin doesn’t stop at mice and rat varieties, with birds, worms, roaches, lizards and insects earning their place on the list too.
Unfortunately, drinking water is only as crisp and clean as the tank it’s contained in. And with vermin breeding on the increase nationwide, upping the ante on our inspection and maintenance responsibilities only seems appropriate.
Let’s look at how these noxious nuisances access and contaminate commercial and industrial drinking water tanks and what you can do to deter them in the first place.
What Should My Drinking Water Look Like?
In addition to discovering corrosion around the interior of your tank, there are many other causes for concern to watch out for that are associated with tank ownership responsibilities.
Although not caused by vermin, Legionella (the cause of Legionnaire’s disease), is also oftentimes found in water supplies that have sat stagnant for extended periods.
Potable drinking water stored in a cold water tank system should appear:
- – Clear and free from any odours or debris
- – Low in microbial growth
- – Free of sediment or surface ‘muck’ or film
- – Completely mould-free
- – To remain at approximately 20 degrees Celsius for optimum drinking temperature and to avoid the abovementioned.
Common Ways Vermin Gain Access To Your Tanks
Drinking water tanks come in all sizes, shapes, materials and are erected among many different climates and environments. Depending on its application, some potable water tanks may attract worse pest and vermin problems than others such as those situated near food production or waste sites.
Vermin including mice, rats and other marsupial pests are prevalent Australia-wide oftentimes multiplying in certain localities faster than we can eradicate them. Being actively vigilant is your first line of defence when it comes to detecting and exterminating a range of unwanted visitors on your sites.
So, how are they getting into what’s presumably a secure, reliably protected water tank? Here’s how they’re likely achieving it:
- – Through insufficiently sealed areas such as ventilation holes
- – Through poor-quality components like low-grade wire mesh screening that deteriorates due to prolonged sun and heat exposure.
- – Through unsealed or improperly sealed tank roof structures
- – By taking advantage of an ill-maintained or neglected tank system – For example, branches or leaf build-up attracts birds to the tops and gutters of tanks. Other debris build-up may include grime with indoor applications inviting insects to clog your drainage systems.
Vermin-proofing Your Tanks – Preventative Measures
Australia’s hot and dry climate calls for year-round nationwide adequate clean water supplies. Having to waste thousands of litres of precious H2O due to a contamination event can be detrimental among a number of commercial sites and industry sectors.
You’ll need to seek both cost-effective and high quality solutions in order to maintain a long-term fresh, contaminant-free water supply. Ensuring you check and conduct the following will help keep vermin at bay and prevent even larger scale contamination or infestation issues from worsening:
- – Arrange regular inspections – As well as water being contaminated by vermin, older tank units may also intermittently deposit ‘rust flakes’ into your supply. Regular inspections and maintenance services can assist in decreasing the risks of deterioration.
- – Install a properly fitting/matching lid to stop birds and their droppings from entering the water supply.
- – Check, repair and replace all outdated and damaged overflow and vent screens.
- – Ensure your tanks are equipped with an industrial grade filtration system.
- – Inspect your tank’s insulation quality and assess and record the water’s temperature regularly. Tanks retaining excessive heat are breeding havens for additional bacteria.
- – When seeking a new tank, ensure it’s made of high-quality, industry approved materials and is installed by licensed professionals.
How To Spot Vermin Activity or Signs of Contamination
Although distinguishing between different types of local vermin can prove difficult, what’s more important is to know if you have a contamination issue regardless of the particular species causing it – at least in the beginning stages.
You may have an existing or developing vermin contamination probably if you’ve discovered:
- – Scale build-up that’s only recently formed
- – Excessive animal or rodent droppings around potential entryways or on access platforms
- – Animal waste near or in the water
- – Your freshwater turnover appears lower than usual – Dead animals might be causing internal or hidden blockages somewhere amongst the system’s plumbing.
What Happens If I Drink Contaminated Water Unknowingly?
While the general risk of falling seriously ill from water contamination in Australia is relatively low, a sudden or developing vermin infestation can be more than enough to make humans considerably sick.
As an owner or manager of a commercial potable water tank, keeping water safe for consumption while frequently assessing its quality and container for contaminants or vulnerabilities should be a continuing priority.
Contaminated water most commonly causes relentless diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches and fever, however in rare cases more serious outcomes can include kidney failure and other chronic health problems.
If you believe you’ve consumed or have been consuming contaminated water, you should:
- – Never attempt to continue drinking from the water source, even after attempting to boil or ‘treat’ it yourself.
- – Never try to remove vermin remains or waste from a tank in attempt to avoid wasting the supply etc.
- – Assess your symptoms over the days immediately following the suspected consumption.
- – Contact your local healthcare professional for an examination and advice on what to do next.
Baiting on Rural Lands – What You Should Know
Rodent plagues among regional, coastal and rural communities are a considerable threat to farmlands, crops and human health in generally. This usually requires implementing baiting strategies around sheds, homes and water supplies in attempt to combat mice and rat infestations.
While baits are obviously designed to attract and poison rodents in large quantities, choosing where to position them can help you avoid possible contamination as well.
Placing rodent baits too close to hatches, open-top tanks or filtration systems could actually be counter-productive as it both entices rodents to visit your tank, simultaneously risking a case of bait-water contact.
Odours and discolouration are usually the light-bulb moments for vermin contamination, however pest baits may not showcase an obvious issue with the water until it’s too late.
Can Raven Tanks Inspect My Commercial Potable Water Tank?
Need a quality, fully-licensed and certified inspection carried out on your water tank? You’ve come to the right place!
Raven Tanks provide assessments, reporting and solutions-based tank management services to a range of commercial and industrial business communities.
We’ll inspect your tank for surface damage, leaks and possible signs of vermin or other forms of contamination, conducting a range of services in accordance with Australian industry safety standards.
Raven Tanks are fully equipped, accredited and insured to perform potable drinking water tank:
- – Inspections
- – Cleaning
- – Routine Maintenance
- – Repairs and Component Replacements
- – Liner Installations, and
- – Full Constructive Services
We utilise both specialised dive teams and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicles), to inspect and perform routine cleaning works.
Why Routine Maintenance Is Important?
Having your commercial or industrial drinking water tanks routinely inspected and repaired ensures vermin have the most challenging time possible to access, nest in or contaminate your potable water supply.
Organising professional services helps to reinforce pest screens or barriers where vermin are most likely and most commonly found to have entered tanks. Here are a few reasons why Raven Tanks are your local leaders in tank cleaning and maintenance:
- – We’re fully-licensed technicians – Our team are qualified to competently and safely conduct Working at Heights and Confined Space works.
- – We offer cost-effective tank repair solutions to accommodate all budgets.
- – All works are Australian Industry and Standard-compliant.
- – Emergency Response Support – Found a deceased animal or other type of blockage impacting the effectiveness of supply storage, plumbing or drainage systems? We’ll be out to inspect it as soon as possible!
The Bottom Line
By now you’ll have realised the importance of vermin-proofing your drinking water tanks, as pouring a tall glass of what’s essentially, pollution, is never going to sit well with anybody!
Ensuring your water storage tanks are adequately sealed to stop pesky critters from contaminating your supplies is absolutely vital.
Professionals deal with vermin issues in tanks on a daily basis, so it’s important to consult an expert if you think you’ve seen signs of unwanted intruders.
Apart from the horrendous experience of discovering you’ve actually consumed contaminated water, you’ll also have health and safety compliance issues to worry about in such an incident.
Never neglect maintenance issues regardless of your commercial tank’s age or perceived condition as consequences can be detrimental to businesses, industries and livelihoods.
Contact the Raven Tanks team for an inspection and find out if decontamination procedures are necessary for your commercial or industrial potable drinking water tanks.