21st Century Aircraft Potable Water Systems 1999-01-5556
Aircraft potable (drinking) water systems haven’t changed significantly in the last half-century. These systems consist of cylindrical water tanks pressurized by bleed air from the jet engines, with insulated stainless steel distribution lines.
What has changed recently is the increase in the possibility of aircraft picking up contaminated drinking water at foreign and domestic stops. Customer awareness of these problems has also changed - to the point where having reliable drinking water is now a competitive issue among airlines.
Old style potable water systems that are used on modern aircraft are high maintenance and exacerbate the growth of microbes because the water is static much of the time. The integrity of some pressurized water tanks are also a concern after years of use.
Cost-effective mechanical and biological solutions exist that can significantly reduce the amount of chemicals added and provide good potable water.