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Food info - Carriers

Receiving drinking water from a water carrier


This information is designed as a guidance tool only to provide residents, who are purchasing deliveries of water from a water carrier, with relevant health information regarding the service.


Before ordering a load

Check that the water carrier business is licensed with Council prior to ordering. When ordering a load, ask where the water will come from. All water carriers are required to obtain water from an approved source, such as a Council standpipe which supplies water from a treated water supply.


Before a load of water arrives

Clean out any sediment in your tank with any remaining water as this will be stirred up upon filling and may give the water an unpleasant taste or odour. Be aware that scrubbing the sides of your tank may add an unpleasant taste or odour to the water.


Upon arrival of the load

Check the tanker has the permit number and a “Drinking Water Only” sign clearly marked on the tank. If you have any doubts about the water, ask for a sample before accepting the load. The water should be clear, however, it may taste of chlorine if it has come from a treated supply. If the water is not clear and has a taste other than chlorine, do not accept the load.


After receiving the load

If the water has developed an undesirable taste, this may be due to the mixing of sediment, sludge and algae from within your tank. If possible, allow the water to settle for 24-48 hours before using for drinking. Any taste of chlorine should go after a couple of days in a well-ventilated tank.

However, from time to time due to the organic load in your tank, the reaction with this organic matter (including anaerobic bacteria from the bottom of the tank) and chlorine can produce by-products, such as iodine, chloramines, trihalomethanes, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide which cause a very unpleasant taste and odour. You may have received a number of loads from a water carrier in the past and this problem did not occur. This is because it is dependent on the organic content and algae in your tank. You may even notice this odour while you are showering. To reduce this highly-unpleasant taste and odour, you can try the following:

  • Clean roof, gutters and tank - some tank cleaning companies can vacuum out the sludge with minimum water loss, then filter and disinfect your water with silver.
  • Aeration of the tank water - ensure gauze is free from debris to allow aeration or use a bubbler.
  • Installing a filtration system - dual filter systems are more successful than single filters in reducing odour and improving taste. Changing filters regularly helps reduce the filters being a source of bacterial contamination.
  • Boiling drinking water - boil drinking water to reduce pathogenic organisms that may be present from organic matter in the tank.