How to Prevent Algae Growth Stored in Water Tanks

algae under microscope

Have you ever looked at water tanks with spots of algae on the inside and wondered if the water inside is still drinkable or even usable?

And how do the owners even clean up something like that?

Algae growth in water tanks is very common and can affect water quality, and even become a potential health risk. In this article, we’ll explore the factors leading to algae growth, the safety concerns associated with algae-contaminated water, the effective methods for algae removal, and how UV IBC containers can play a pivotal role in algae prevention.

Why Is Algae Growing in My Water Tank?

Algae growth in stored water tanks is a persistent issue driven by three main factors. Understanding these factors and the reasons behind them is essential for effective prevention.

Sunlight exposure: When water tanks are exposed to direct sunlight, especially in warmer climates, it creates ideal conditions for algae to flourish. As algae require light for photosynthesis, areas of the tank exposed to direct sunlight are particularly susceptible to infestations.

Stagnant water conditions: When water remains still for extended periods whether due to insufficient water usage, irregular maintenance, or even poor tank design, it becomes more vulnerable to algae colonisation. Without natural circulation that helps prevent algae growth, stagnant water becomes prime space for algae to bloom.

Nutrient availability: Algae thrive when they have access to nutrients like phosphates and nitrates. These nutrients can enter the tank through various sources, such as rainwater, which may carry organic materials from rooftops into the tank, providing a nutrient-rich environment for algae to feed on.

What about water tanks that already have algae in them? Can you still use them safely without jeopardising your health or should all the water in your tank be discarded, cleaned and refilled again?

Is It Safe to Drink Water from a Tank with Algae?

The presence of algae in water storage tanks raises legitimate health concerns because consuming water contaminated by algae can pose serious health risks.

It’s crucial to comprehend these risks to appreciate the significance of keeping your water tanks clean and algae-free. Some of the possible problems that can come from drinking contaminated water are:

Gastrointestinal problems: Algae-contaminated water can lead to gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach cramps. This is because certain types of algae such as cyanobacteria release toxins into the water that result in these acute symptoms.

Allergic reactions: Algae can produce allergens that trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Symptoms of this reaction may include skin rashes, hives, itchy eyes, and respiratory problems.

Long-term health effects: Chronic exposure to algal toxins have even been linked to long-term health problems in the liver and even neurological problems. While severe cases are rare, it depicts the importance of preventing algae growth in water storage tanks to safeguard public health.

The potential health risks associated with algae-contaminated water emphasise the need for proactive measures to maintain clean and safe water storage for consumption and daily use.

How Do I Get Rid of Algae in My Water Storage Tank?

For tanks that already have algae in them, there are several methods you can use to remove the existing algae infestations and restore the quality of your stored water.

Physical scrubbing. Our first method involves manually scrubbing the tank’s interior surfaces to dislodge algae growth. While effective, this approach can be labour-intensive depending on the size of your tank and you might not be able to reach all the areas inside it.

Chemical treatments. Chemical treatments using algaecides or chlorine-based solutions are commonly used to kill and control algae. These chemicals disrupt the algae’s ability to photosynthesise and reproduce but can be dangerous to people. Proper dosing and safety precautions are essential when using chemicals in potable water systems.

Mechanical filtration. Mechanical filters attached to your tank’s water inlet or outlet can help trap drifting algae and prevent their entry into your plumbing system. Using these filters together with other treatment methods give you a great option at removing existing algae.

Preventive solutions. While the methods above can help destroy existing algae, prevention is always better. Water tanks equipped with UV light such as the UV IBC containers can easily stop algae growth. These tanks are equipped with ultraviolet (UV) sterilisation systems, highly effective in preventing algae growth. They use UV light to destroy algae and other microorganisms in the water, ensuring that the stored water remains clean and safe to use.

Safeguarding your water storage against algae growth is paramount for water quality and safety. By understanding the causes of algae growth, recognising the health risks, and implementing effective removal methods, you can maintain clean and uncontaminated water storage.

We’re here to help

Interested in fortifying your water storage against algae? Explore our UV IBC containers. Click here to learn how you can have a clean source of water anytime and every time. Talk to one of our professionals.

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