10 Steps 0f Best Practices For Cleaning Water Storage Tanks

Have you ever considered the cleanliness of your home’s water storage tank? Most people don’t give it a second thought, but without proper maintenance, your tank could be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Cleaning your water storage tank should be a top priority for every homeowner, especially those who rely on well water.

Not only is cleaning your water storage tank important for your health, but it can also help extend the lifespan of your tank. Proper cleaning and maintenance can prevent corrosion and rust that could lead to leaks or other damage. In this article, I’ll share best practices for cleaning your water storage tank, so you can ensure the safety and longevity of your water supply.

When Do I Need to Clean a Water Storage Tank?

Water storage tanks should be cleaned periodically to maintain water quality and prevent the buildup of contaminants. The frequency of cleaning depends on various factors, including the type of tank, its intended use, and local regulations. Here are some general guidelines for determining when to clean a water storage tank:

  1. Regular maintenance schedule: Establish a routine maintenance schedule for cleaning the tank. This schedule may vary based on the tank’s usage and water quality standards. Cleaning is typically recommended for potable water storage tanks every 6 months to 1 year.
  2. Water quality testing: Conduct regular water quality testing to monitor the presence of bacteria, algae, or other contaminants. If the test results indicate a decline in water quality, it may be necessary to clean the tank.
  3. Visual inspection: Perform visual inspections of the tank regularly. If you notice signs of contamination, such as sediment buildup, discoloration, or odors, it is likely time for cleaning.
  4. Regulatory requirements: Check local regulations and guidelines that apply to your specific water storage tank. Some regions may have specific requirements regarding cleaning frequency and procedures.
  5. Changes in tank usage: If there is a change in the tank’s usage, such as switching from non-potable to potable water or vice versa, it is important to clean the tank before the transition to ensure water safety.
  6. Significant water events: Following significant water events, such as heavy storms, floods, or prolonged water system disruptions, it is advisable to clean and disinfect the tank as a precautionary measure.

It is important to note that the above guidelines are general recommendations. Tank size, location, and water source characteristics can influence the cleaning frequency.

Therefore, it is always best to consult with local water authorities, tank manufacturers, or professionals in the field to determine the specific cleaning requirements for your water storage tank.

Here are The 10 Steps Of Best Practices For Cleaning Water Storage Tanks

  1. Disable any floats in the tank or use other means to control the water supply to the tank manually.
  2. If the tank is full, drain it to at least 3/4 full to create space for the cleaning process.
  3. Shut off all valves leading to the distribution system lines to isolate the tank from the rest of the system.
  4. Add fresh, unscented chlorine bleach to the tank to achieve and maintain a chlorine dose of at least 50 parts per million (ppm). Refer to Table 1 for recommended chlorine concentrations based on the tank’s full volume.
  5. Fill the tank to its full volume using a potable water source. This allows the chlorine to mix thoroughly with the water inside the tank.
  6. Allow the chlorine solution to remain in the tank for 24 hours. During this period, ensure that no one comes into contact with the chlorinated water.
  7. Periodically check the chlorine residual using chlorine test strips. Maintain a measurable chlorine residual throughout the 24 hours. If a chlorine residual cannot be detected during this period, repeat steps 2-7.
  8. After the 24-hour contact period, drain the tank completely. Use a hose to direct the flow away from vegetation, lakes, and other areas the chlorine solution may damage. Do not drain the tank into your distribution system or septic system.
  9. Restore any disabled floats and fill the tank with a potable water source to prepare it for regular use.

It’s important to note that these steps provide a general outline for cleaning a water storage tank using chlorine bleach.

The procedures may vary based on tank type, size, and local regulations. Always consult with water authorities, tank manufacturers, or professionals for detailed guidance on your water storage system.

Approximate Amount of Bleach Needed For Water Storage

Size of Tank (gallons)Household Bleach (5%)Ultra Bleach (6%)Commercial Bleach (10%)
2504 cups3 cups2 cups
5001/2 gallon6 cups4 cups
7503/4 gallon9 cups6 cups
10001 gallon12 cups1/2 gallon

Please note that these amounts are approximate and based on typical bleach concentrations. Always refer to the product’s instructions for accurate measurements and follow recommended safety precautions when handling chlorine bleach.

Also Learn About: 8 Ways to Store Water for Freshness in a Storage Tank

How Do You Disinfection Water Storage?

Chlorine is the preferred method of disinfecting water storage tanks. It is fast, effective, and relatively inexpensive. Chlorine can be introduced into a tank in either liquid or gaseous form, with the latter being more effective but slightly more expensive.

When using chlorine, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions regarding proper handling and use of the chemical.

Inspect the tank: Regularly inspect the interior and exterior of the tank for any signs of corrosion, leaks, or other damage. If any issues are discovered, repair them immediately to avoid further damage.

Check valves and fittings: Ensure all valves and fittings are in good condition and functioning properly to prevent leaks. Inspect for potential blockages or debris that may interfere with proper flow.

Test the water: Test the tank’s water regularly to ensure it meets quality standards and remains safe for drinking.

Why do Tanks Need to be Cleaned?

Industrial tank cleaning is essential for the safety and longevity of machinery. Without routine cleaning, tanks can become subject to wear and tear caused by debris or tank sludge accumulating over time. This accumulation of debris can contain corrosive particles, weakening the tank’s structure and leading to leakage.

Oxidation is another hazard posed by unclean tanks, as it can significantly reduce the volume capacity of a tank in extreme cases. Furthermore, any accumulation of matter in a tank can potentially cause safety hazards for equipment workers.

Industrial tanks are constantly exposed to various substances, such as water, chemicals, or lubricants, which require regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure continued storage capacity and structural integrity.

Regularly scheduled cleanings should include monitoring systems to detect unseen buildup on tank bottoms and walls to avoid future corrosion or contamination from liquid sources.

Tasks such as de-sludging, descaling, pressure washing, internal inspection, and chemical cleaning should be undertaken with caution by experienced professionals, and all results should be documented for future reference.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Why Is It Necessary To Clean A Water Storage Tank? 

Cleaning a water storage tank is necessary to maintain water quality and ensure the safety of stored water. Over time, sediment, debris, and microbial growth can accumulate in the tank, leading to potential contamination.

2. How Often Should A Water Storage Tank Be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning a water storage tank depends on various factors, such as the tank’s usage, water quality standards, and local regulations. Potable water storage tanks should be cleaned at least once every 6 months to 1 year.

3. What Are The Steps Involved In Cleaning A Water Storage Tank?

Cleaning a water storage tank typically involves several steps. Firstly, the tank should be emptied of all water and inspected for damage or leaks. Next, any sediment, debris, or biofilms should be removed from the interior surfaces using appropriate tools or equipment.

4. What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken When Cleaning A Water Storage Tank?

Taking proper safety precautions during tank cleaning is crucial to protect yourself and others involved. It is essential to wear suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, and masks to prevent contact with contaminants or cleaning chemicals.

5. Can I Clean A Water Storage Tank Or Hire Professionals?

Choosing to clean a water storage tank or hire professionals depends on various factors. DIY cleaning may be suitable for smaller tanks with simple designs, provided you have the necessary knowledge, experience, and equipment.


Cleaning a water storage tank is necessary to maintain water quality and ensure the safety of stored water. The frequency of cleaning depends on various factors, such as the tank’s usage, water quality standards, and local regulations. Cleaning typically involves several steps, such as emptying the tank, removing debris/sediment, rinsing, disinfecting, flushing, and refilling.


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