Water Storage, Use and Wastewater Disposal for Leisure Boats and Caravans

July 2016

This Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the safe storage and use of drinking water, and disposal of wastewater, for owners of leisure boats and caravans. With reference to the latest guidelines and regulations, this guide aims to bring all of the relevant information together in one easily accessible document.

There are a number of diseases which can be spread by water and whilst outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid no longer occur in the UK thanks to the quality of our treatment and distribution methods for drinking water, and our robust sewage treatment framework they remain an ever-present threat in other parts of the world. Instances of other diseases spread by drinking water still occur very occasionally in the UK when the barriers to their spread break down. Wherever water is stored or wastewater created there is a risk of infection that needs to be managed. Good hygiene is therefore essential when treating, distributing and using drinking water and in handling and disposing of wastewater. Since contaminated water can transmit infection not only when drunk but also when used for cleaning teeth or washing food such as salad which is eaten without cooking the term used in this report and more generally for water used for these purposes is potable water. Recreational use of water can also lead to infections although this is outside the scope of this Guide. (for further reading on this topic see FWR Guide FR/G0005.’Standards for Recreational Water Quality’).

Clean and safe water therefore remains a keystone for public health protection. Following the guidance in this report will help ensure that leisure boat and caravan users meet their obligations to preserve clean water for everyone. This Guide is not intended as a practical manual and does not address issues relating to the mechanics of water supply systems such as pumps, switches etc. except where this is relevant to water quality. The advice is based around the use of leisure boats and caravans in the United Kingdom for personal use and therefore does not cover the use of commercial vehicles. Much of the content may nevertheless be relevant further afield. When the term caravans is used it also includes motorhomes when appropriate. Section A of this report addresses the collection, storage and use of potable water while section B covers the collection, storage and disposal of wastewater.

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