The most common way to clean drinking water tanks in India today is to hire a local sweeper or plumber, and this is often done only after people residing in a particular building complain of water-borne health problems. The plumber or sweeper in turn usually employs a casual laborer to get the tank cleaned. This laborer enters into the tank with a brush or a broom, often the same brush or broom which is used for cleaning the gutters and toilets, and manually scrubs the walls and floors, and sometimes only the ceiling of the drinking water tank.
After this, the plumber physically removes water and sludge from the tank using a bucket, and mops the tank only to show the residents that the tank is clean. They sometimes use bleaching powder or detergent, which proves to be harmful in some cases, for cleaning the tank. There are many issues with this traditional method. First, this process is very laborious and the cleaning is ineffective, as the person scrubbing the tank may not be using their adequate strength. Second, even after a so-called thorough cleaning, the bacteria causing disease still remains in the tank, making the drinking water risky for human consumption. Third, the people who normally do these cleaning jobs are untrained casual workers who are not educated about personal hygiene and they themselves could be the source of contamination of the drinking water tank.