M149-Series Trailers: Water Tank Cleaning Tips

 WARNING: If contents of water tank was other than potable water, the water tank must be flushed out with clean potable water and drained.  Do not allow trailer to sit for extended periods of time with any amount of liquid in it.  Standing water will result in contamination and food poisoning.  KEEP WATER TANK CLEAN AT ALL TIMES.  Failure to follow this warning may result in serious injury or death to personnel.

    If you’ve eyeballed TM 9-2320-267-14&P (Jul 91), you’ve probably seen this warning.  It lets you know it’s not a good idea to wait ‘til the last minute to clean your water trailer’s tank.  And it’s not a good idea to leave water in the tank for months at a time!

    Cleaning the tank improves the taste of the water and keeps the tank safe to use.  The TM says to clean the tank annually or when the medics tell you the tank is contaminated.  But why wait?  You have to drink the water, too!

    Here are some PM tips to keep you from ending up with slimy, rusty, or metallic-tasting water.

  •      When you’re done using the water trailer, empty the tank completely.  Water left in the tank causes rust, mineral deposits and algae buildup.  Put the trailer on an incline with the rear slightly lower than the front so that all water will drain through the drain plug.  Then open the faucets to let out any water still in the pipes.
  •      Close the manhole cover tightly when the water trailer is in storage.  That keeps out dirt, sand and rain.
  •      To stop deposit buildup, every three months, pour in eight gallons of vinegar, NSN 8950-01-079-3978, and leave it for 5-6 hours.  Then empty the tank and flush it with clean water.
  •      Clean the tank more often during the summer since you’ll be drinking  more water then.  Make sure you drain the tank completely between uses.

          Rusty Stainless Steel

    If the water from a stainless steel tank has a rusty, metallic taste, check the weld joints in the tank for rust.

    Scrub away rust with a solution of water and scouring powder, NSN 7930-01-294-1116.  Always use a nonmetallic, nylon brush.  You can get one with NSN 7920-00-061-0038. 

Flush the tank thoroughly with clean water.  Scrub it again if you still see rust.  You’re done when the rust is gone.    

    Eyeball TB MED 577, Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Field Water Supplies, for more on cleaning.

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