Did you know that over time, all rainwater tanks gather contaminants which can cause serious health problems for you and your family. This includes contaminants gathered from the collection areas on roofs, gutters or inside pipes. These contaminants include faecal matter from birds and small animals such as possums and cats, lead from roof pant or flashing, metal deposits from corrosion, chemicals from treated materials, and toxins from overhanging dangerous plants.
Many of these contaminants can cause illness over time from accumulated exposure (e.g. lead poisoning). Other contaminants can lead to the growth of various bacteria which cause disease such as Legionnaires' disease and various influenzas (through inhalation of infected water vapour e.g. hot water or steam), and gastrointestinal illnesses including Campylobacter and Salmonella through ingestion (drinking).
Recent studies have shown that Australian summers and unclean rainwater tanks are a haven for Legionella, Salmonella and Campylobacter in the sludge and slime formed by the build-up of contaminants and the heat in the tanks. Legionella acquired its name after a July 1976 outbreak of a then-unknown "mystery disease" sickened 221 persons, causing 34 deaths. Furthermore, this bacteria causes disease through inhalation, which means that it can be harmful through almost any close exposure to the water carrying the bacteria.