Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 2000


Published in Nebraska Beef Cattle Report 2000, published by Agricultural Research Division, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Three methods of physically or chemically cleaning feedlot water tanks were tested for their ability to reduce amounts of coliform bacteria in the water and biofilm during the summer months. Draining and refilling or draining, scrubbing and refilling water tanks did not reduce coliform bacteria in water or biofilm. Coliform bacteria in water and biofilm were reduced 99% and 99.9%, respectively, after draining, scrubbing and 15 minutes of chemical disinfection with chlorine bleach and refilling. However, coliforms returned to pretreatment levels 24 to 48 hours after treatment if cattle continued to drink from the tanks.