Storing drinking water in tanks

If you are installing a cold water storage tank to hold drinking water, you may have your own private water supply, particularly if you live in a rural area. The water storage tank could be a rainwater tank connected to your roof, or a tank connected to a nearby stream, bore or reticulated water supply.

This advice provides simple information to help you keep your drinking water supply safe and healthy.

Is my tank suitable?

New provisions in the Tasmanian Appendix of the Plumbing Code of Australia clarify what materials must meet Australian Standards in manufacturing cold water storage tanks for storing drinking water.

The manufacturer is to state in its warranty ‘This tank has been manufactured for the storage of drinking water and all materials used are suitable for contact with drinking water’.

Tanks to be used for storing drinking water must have a warning label displaying the words WARNING: DRINKING WATER ONLY. This label allows a plumber (when connecting the tank to a drinking water system) to identify the tank's purpose and also alerts water carters to only use drinking water when topping up your tank.

Large water tank with red warning label saying WARNING: DRINKING WATER ONLY

Example: water tank with warning label

Safe drinking water

Tanks connected to reticulated supply from a water authority

You must get a Certificate of Certifiable Work from the relevant water authority for the connection to your property.

You will most likely be required to:

  • provide a physical air gap between the top up to the tank from the water authority’s water supply, or
  • install a back-flow prevention device at the boundary.

Operating a business with a private drinking water supply

If you are using a private water source that supplies drinking water to be used for commercial purposes (such as food processing or commercial accommodation), you are considered to be a ‘private water supplier’ under the Department of Health and Human Services Tasmanian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.

These types of supply require a higher level of management than that required for individual dwellings. This is because you have a responsibility to reassure the public that the water is safe for drinking.

Private drinking water supplies in these situations should meet the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

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