Having a rainwater tank can be a very positive environmental initiative to take for your home.
Rainwater tanks are a great source of alternative water supply for your home and can be an invaluable asset during an emergency such as a bushfire or natural disaster.
Keeping your water storage tank healthy and free from sludge, mosquitoes etc is very important and to successfully do this a regular maintenance program should be adhered to.
Mosquito’s Can Cause Serious Problems
Mosquitoes can cause some serious health problems such as Dengue Fever and also the Ross River Virus.
It is therefore very important to prevent mosquitoes from entering your tank environment. The first step in prevention is to ensure you purchase a rainwater tank with a mosquito proof inlet screen on the tank inlet.
This is a very well sealed and fine mesh which is fine enough to not allow the mosquitoes through.
Most tanks sold today in Australia do come fitted with a mosquito proof inlet screen. These inlet screens also prevent leaves and fine particles from the roof entering the tank, and therefore need to be cleaned on a regular basis, as the screen will tend to fill up over time.
Most inlet screens are removable, and once removed a quick flush with a good hose should ensure removal of all junk. Once cleaned always be sure to fit the screen tight and well sealed to the tank again ready for use.
Mosquitoes can also breed around the tank and under fittings which may have small leaks which leave puddles. It is always best to regularly check that no small water puddles are present under the overflow, outlet pipes of your tank.
If a small puddle is present, further inspection will most probably show a leak somewhere on the adjacent fittings or pipework. These must be rectified immediately to prevent mosquitoes breeding.
If you do find mosquito larvae or wrigglers in your tank, then mosquitoes have found a way in. One other possible way of entry to the rainwater tank may be through debris & leaves building up in your gutters, which in turn assists in creating small puddles of water where the mosquitoes can breed. The eggs from the mosquitoes can then be washed from the gutter down the down pipe into the tank.
This is why as part of your tank maintenance program you must always check and clear your gutters from debris. This will also assist in keeping sludge from building up in the bottom of the water tank.
A good quality gutter guard can be very effective in keeping your gutters clean, although this does not remove the need of regular maintenance.
Why You Should Install A First Flush Filter
Another must for ensuring a mosquito and sludge free water tank is fitting a First Flush Filter to all downpipes. The first flush filter is designed to take the first 4-8 litres of dirty water from the roof and divert it to a separate pipe which has a orifice at the bottom of it so as it is self clearing, ready for new rainfall. There is a removable cap at the bottom of this pipe which is required to be opened and cleared on a regular basis.
Making the above steps part of a regular maintenance program should ensure mosquito and sludge free water in your storage tank.