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Tap Water Differences Between Aircraft  
User currently offlineN229NW From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1973 posts, RR: 31
Posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3104 times:

I did a search and didn't come up with anything quite about this...though some related threads...

Anyway, recently noticed that when I flew a NW A330 there were signs in the lavs with a picture of a person drinking the water and a lne through it (though despite this there were paper cups provided!) Meanwhile, on the AA 777 no such signs. I drank a cup of water on the 777 and am still alive to tell...

Is this a function of the different types of aircraft, different airline maintenance procedures? etc.

Just curious.


It's people like you what cause unrest!
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineHBJZA From Switzerland, joined Jan 2006, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3087 times:

If I can give you a piece of advice, never drink any tap water on board an aircraft, whatever it's boeing, airbus, ATR, Dash, etc.....

The water tanks are rarely properly washed. I know that from time to time the maintenance crew put some "cleaning" tabs into the water tanks..... And think that one day the aircraft water tank is filled in countries where water quality is more than doubtfull and the day after in another one with other water which is taken from a water supply truck which was loaded who knows when and where !!!! I know in Switzerland for example the water tanks are emptied when the aircraft is staying long on ground to avoid icing (winter only) but who knows the procedures in other countries where icing temperatures is not an issue ???

I tell you once more, DO NOT DRINK TAP WATER ON A/C !!


User currently offlineDoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3442 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3087 times:

^^^ yeah, that.

At the end of the day, MX knows whats inside. MX doesn't drink the water. All you need to know.



When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9820 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3078 times:

While they are supposed to have potable woater inside them, you can never really trust the water inside the tanks. It isn't a good idea to drink it, but it should be relatively sanitary. Those cups in there are often so you can brush your teeth. Most airlines serve bottled water on board.

However there are some exceptions. Air New Zealand for example does frequently wash out the tanks, and when they serve you tea or coffee on board, it is made with water from the on board tanks. So sometimes it is safe, but airlines have to make sure that it is kept clean.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineTallguy14 From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 228 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3070 times:
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When I worked at a line station, only Southwest flushed their water tanks overnight. Other airlines filled up the a/c tanks, but WN let them fill up and spill onto the ramp. Don't know if that helped clean the tanks out, but at least an effort was being made. Or the WN rampers liked wasting water!

Jeff


User currently offlineStudentFlyer From Australia, joined Sep 2004, 688 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3070 times:

Quoting Doug_Or (Reply 2):
^^^ yeah, that.

At the end of the day, MX knows whats inside. MX doesn't drink the water. All you need to know.

Hahaha, I'd drink it to clean my tanks then, knowing the presence of diluted tabs  dopey ...

But yeah, it's always good precaution not to drink aircraft water as mentioned by both HBJZA and Doug_Or. You'd be in a more profitable way to ask for bottled water in an aircraft than tap water, both economically, and health-wise.


User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4917 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3052 times:

Some moody bitch FA with AC on YUL-FRA told my mom to get her own water from the lavs when she asked for some to take some painkillers. Still can't believe the shit that goes on at AC.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineStudentFlyer From Australia, joined Sep 2004, 688 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3037 times:

Quoting YOWza (Reply 6):
Some moody bitch FA with AC on YUL-FRA told my mom to get her own water from the lavs when she asked for some to take some painkillers. Still can't believe the shit that goes on at AC.

Tell her to drink the water from the tap herself then.. Probably should've jot her name down and complain directly to AC.. That is one rude gesture from an F/A


User currently offlineWJ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 349 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2994 times:

Ok,

Never ever touch the potable water on board the aircraft. Not to drink, not to brush your teeth, nothing. These tanks are never cleaned per spec and it doen't matter what airline and what type aircraft. These tanks do not get touched until a "C" check at a minimum and the cleaning solutions do not get a %100 of the tank. Once a bit of fungus gets into the tanks nothing will get it out. Add to that the very real possibility that at one time during the life of the aircraft some lav juice was pumped into the water tank by mistake or at the very least, handled by someone who has just handled lav solution or refuse on the same aircraft. While I have never heard of anyone die as a direct relation to the water on board, I do know of numerous situations of passengers getting violently ill because of it. More than likely you will get seeral illnesses on the same aircraft traced back to improper handling procedures. Bottom line, you never can tell so stay away...



146,727,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739,742,743,744,752,753,762,763,764,772,300,310,319,320,321,330,343,DC9,D10,MD11,M80,E17
User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2955 times:

Also, remember that the beverage makers for tea and coffee use the potable water supply, not bottled water. Also, it's only heated to a high temperature, but not to boiling point. So the tea and coffee you drink onboard is always made with potable water.

User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 3008 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2937 times:

I used to drink the tap water on planes all the time--especially on 747s with the little "water fountain" next to the lavs. Sure, it didn't taste great, but it seemed easier than troubling the F/As for bottled water.

Then a few years ago I was on an AA flight and had an interesting conversation with the guy next to me, who worked in maintenance at the airline. Among other things, he told me to never, EVER drink the airplane water, and went on to describe the nasty things that grow in the tanks. That set me straight!  Big grin



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offline4xRuv From Israel, joined Dec 2003, 388 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2913 times:

What about the coffee? doesn't the water for coffee arrive from the same water tanks???

User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2897 times:

Quoting 4xRuv (Reply 11):
What about the coffee? doesn't the water for coffee arrive from the same water tanks???

See reply number 9 above.


User currently offlineTod From Denmark, joined Aug 2004, 1729 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2861 times:

Quoting WJ (Reply 8):
Add to that the very real possibility that at one time during the life of the aircraft some lav juice was pumped into the water tank by mistake

Modern airliners with vacuum waste systems no longer use blue juice.

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 9):
Also, remember that the beverage makers for tea and coffee use the potable water supply

Sometimes the galleys have filters to catch the big chunks.

That said, I design aircraft water systems and would never drink from them.


User currently offlineTod From Denmark, joined Aug 2004, 1729 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2861 times:

Quoting WJ (Reply 8):
Add to that the very real possibility that at one time during the life of the aircraft some lav juice was pumped into the water tank by mistake

Modern airliners with vacuum waste systems no longer use blue juice.

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 9):
Also, remember that the beverage makers for tea and coffee use the potable water supply

Sometimes the galleys have filters to catch the big chunks.

That said, I design aircraft water systems and would never drink from them.

Tod


User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2829 times:

Quoting WJ (Reply 8):
Add to that the very real possibility that at one time during the life of the aircraft some lav juice was pumped into the water tank by mistake or at the very least,

Two completely different systems. The lav servicing panels only services the lav tanks. Clear water is pumped in to the tank and the "blue disinfectant" is added through the toilet. The potable water service panel only services the potable water system. Both are self contained units.


User currently offlineWj From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 349 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2814 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 15):
Two completely different systems. The lav servicing panels only services the lav tanks. Clear water is pumped in to the tank and the "blue disinfectant" is added through the toilet. The potable water service panel only services the potable water system. Both are self contained units.

That is why I said it may happen over the life of the aircraft and not on a regular basis. You want to tell me that no new-hire ramper has ever made a mistake in what port he was filling? Happens more than you would like to know. Also, The procedure calls for always handling potable water before doing the lavs. How many times do you think that rule has been broken and how many times were the lavs service on one aircraft and the agent handling that went on to handle water on the next without cleaning up.

Quoting Tod (Reply 13):
Modern airliners with vacuum waste systems no longer use blue juice.

A. There are still hundreds of aircraft in service that do not have the vacuum system and still use the regular flush. B. The vacuum system still uses small amounts of solution and liquid to "rush" the waste through system. Otherwise things will get sticky real fast.



146,727,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739,742,743,744,752,753,762,763,764,772,300,310,319,320,321,330,343,DC9,D10,MD11,M80,E17
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13200 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2777 times:

Has there been provable situations where the tank water has cause significant numbers of people to become ill on a flight? What about the water in the lavatory when you wash your hands or does the soap disinfect enough?

User currently offlineTod From Denmark, joined Aug 2004, 1729 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2746 times:

Quoting Wj (Reply 16):
B. The vacuum system still uses small amounts of solution and liquid to "rush" the waste through system. Otherwise things will get sticky real fast.

Nope.

Vacuum waste systems utilize water from the potable water system to accomplish the flush function.

Tod


User currently offlineWJ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 349 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2730 times:

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 17):
Has there been provable situations where the tank water has cause significant numbers of people to become ill on a flight? What about the water in the lavatory when you wash your hands or does the soap disinfect enough?

Some pretty scary articles:

http://www.mindfully.org/Water/Airline-Water-Safety1nov02.htm

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0UBT/is_37_18/ai_n6282712

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138111,00.html

What's important to remember is that there is an alternative. It's just potable water and if you need to drink or brush your teeth, just use bottled.



146,727,732,733,734,735,73G,738,739,742,743,744,752,753,762,763,764,772,300,310,319,320,321,330,343,DC9,D10,MD11,M80,E17
User currently offlineL1329II From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2646 times:

I know from personal experience (trust me) that at least 90% of all corporate A/C water tanks are not cleaned or serviced at all on a regular basis. At least on those A/C that are large enough to have thier own lavatory. The only time they are touched is when there is MX inspections or if someone on board mentions the water has runout in the lav.  fever 

User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2609 times:

NEVER NEVER NEVER DRINK THE POTABLE WATER ON AN AIRCRAFT.

It's not safe. You could die.

No drama. No hype.

Fact.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
User currently offlineTallguy14 From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 228 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2559 times:
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So....is it safe to wash your hands in the lavatory? Is there a better alternative?

User currently offlineN229NW From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 1973 posts, RR: 31
Reply 23, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2559 times:

OK then. Thanks everyone. I learned something.

Quoting Tod (Reply 14):
, I design aircraft water systems and would never drink from them.

I guess that says something.

I'm still curious about the coffee and tea, since almost all passengers drink some and it never seems to be a problem. If the water really ISN'T boiled, as LHR777 says, then that seems odd to me.



It's people like you what cause unrest!
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 9 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2537 times:

Quoting N229NW (Reply 23):

I'm still curious about the coffee and tea, since almost all passengers drink some and it never seems to be a problem. If the water really ISN'T boiled, as LHR777 says, then that seems odd to me.

I'm being pedantic, but 'Boiling' is relative. The temperature that water boils at when at sea level is higher than the temperature that water boils at when in a pressurized cabin. Even if they did boil it onboard, it woudn't be hot enough to be sterile.


25 Wjcandee : Couple of thoughts. In most restaurants, the health department requires reheated food to be heated to at least 165 degrees for a certain period of tim
26 Post contains links Bobster2 : Here's the official statement from US EPA: "Passengers with suppressed immune systems or others concerned should request bottled or canned beverages w
27 Jetdeltamsy : I'm no biologist, but it seems to me if 180 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to kill bugs in cooked meat, it would do the same in water. so boiling would
28 DeltaMD88 : Yes, a bottle of instant hand santizer, I use it all the time in airports and on planes. Only once, on a 5 something in the AM flight from EWR to ATL
29 ASAFA : Oh my oh my. Drinking the potable water on a plane will not kill you. In fact, I challenge anyone to prove that it has made any significant number of
30 Post contains images Tod : It doesn't take a big number to be personally significant if it includes you. You are correct that it is reletively rare, but that is of little comfo
31 Dougloid : When I worked for Douglas one of my specialties was overseeing the sanitization and purging of new install potable water systems on the MD11. It was
32 L1329II : Nice try... like I quoted earlier I know from firsthand experience that someone got rather sick when drinking the water from the sink in the lav. I w
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