If you’re considering purchasing a water tank, whether for domestic or commercial use, there are various factors that need to be taken into account before making your final decision. What size tank do you need? Where will it be installed? And what is the reason for needing one? The last is particularly important, and it will depend upon the intended purpose of the water. Do you want it to store water that will be drunk, or will the contents be used for other purposes? This will dictate whether the tank you purchase is classed as potable or non-potable.
Potable comes from the Latin word ‘potare’, which means ‘to drink’. Water tanks described as potable are suitable for storing water that’s fit for human consumption. Where a water tank isn’t certified as potable, the water it contains should never be drunk, as it could be a hazard to health.
When looking at tanks, you’ll find that they’re listed by manufacturers or retailers as potable or non-potable. The difference in classification comes from the materials used to construct them, specifically the type of plastic used to line the inside of the tank. While many plastics are safe for use for storing food and water, some plastics can contaminate their contents. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you purchase the right tank for its intended purpose.
A potable tank is obviously one that drinking water can be stored in, so that it remains fit for human consumption. The suitability of tanks for drinking water storage is monitored by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS), and must be approved in line with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.
Even where the plastics used to construct the tank are certified as safe for use for drinking water, this isn’t enough. Each individual tank model must be submitted to the WRAS for testing, approval and accreditation. If approval is received, then a certificate of conformity is issued, giving you peace of mind that your water is safe to drink.
Non-potable tanks have many uses, but often form part of rainwater harvesting systems. With the increased focus on environmental issues and sustainability, such systems are ideal for those who want to save water. Also known as grey water, harvested rainwater is often utilised for tasks such as washing cars and clothes, flushing toilets, and watering gardens and crops. In fact, they’re suitable for any application where the water won’t be drunk.