Lets talk water storage here

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Quigley_Sharps, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Ok driving down the road I looked up and saw one of those water bottle trucks that supplies offices with those bottled water you know the ones right? They go on upside down on the cooler?
    Anyway I was thinking I wonder how much those are?
    I could buy a bunch of them and stock pile water stack em what ever you want.
    Then I got to thinking it might get to be stale being in plastic bottles for a period of time.
    I think Sniper 66 had some for a very long time that tasted like the plastic it was stored in.
    So I was kicking around the idea and how I could get clean water for the longest period of time before I needed it.
    The idea hit me at the 6000 ft level on my mnt pas daily travel.
    If I take the incoming supply line from the water source say city water and cut the pipe the attache it to a tank of sorts say, 1000 gal then pipe it out the other side on to the rest of the house in the basement I would have a fresh water supply that would renew it self until the day needed.
    So with this thought I need a plumber to back me up here but a pop off for air release that manually opens when first filling it, then pressurize it and leave it. Until needed with a spigot for gravity flow on near the bottom.?
    Maybe a filter too?
    What do you all think about this? Colt chime in here for sure……
  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'll play devils advocate on this one. What about the problem of say that the water source, especialy being on city water, becomes contaminated? Then by hte time you know its a problem your emergency water is already compromised.

    As far as making it work you would basicly just have to put a vualve on the top, even like a spigot, that you could open while it filled the close it untill the water was needed then have a spigot on the bottom for water to come out through and open the one on the top to allow air in to vent it.

    What I would suggest if you have the room for a 1000 gallon tank, we have a 550 gallon tank under the end of the house and its about 6' across and 4' tall, would be to get several food grade plastic barrels and a barrel stand. We keep at least a couple of these filled and on hand all the time and use them if the pipes freeze or if the power that runs our pump goes out. We have a stand they lay sideways on about 18 inches off the floor and have a spigot in one of the caps so you can just put a pan or pitcher under it and turn it on.

    Im not sure how one would best make new barrels do the same but ours came from the Pepsi plant and had been used for the syrup they use for fountian drinks so they have a slight residue of that in them and after several months the water just gets a little sweeter in them.

    If your concerned about keeping the same water in them to long then you can have several barrels and rotate them to use for things like watering the garden and or pets and so on then when its empty you refill it and rotate it to the back of the line and take the oldest one to use for this next.

    One important thing to keep in mind though when dealing with storeing large amounts of water, as in hundreds of gallons especialy, is that water is about 9 pounds per gallon, so if you have say a 1000 gallon tank you need to be sure it is in a basement or that the floor in the area is heavily reinforced and if you have several barrels of water in the same area the same thing holds true. You could get by with a couple barrels in a room but say a dozen 60 gallon barrels of water all ligned up in one room on the main floor just may wind up in the basement or crawl space anyway. I know the 400 gallon tank we haul our water in is the absolute limit that our 3/4 ton truck will handwhen full especialy since it bulges even heavy duty pickup tires when full.

    tulianr likes this.
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It sounds like a really good idea Quig. I don't see where adding a safety with a low psi would be a problem. As for as potential water contamination, why not just add a bypass around the tank. As long as you are going to plumb it, I don't see it being much more trouble. Every so often you could just open it up and let it run through the resivour tank and supply the house to keep the tank water fresh. One thing to keep in mind would be adding a check valve at the entrance to your resevoir tank, in the event of a reduction in water pressure you wouldn't want the vacuum to suck the water out of your tank and your lines.

  4. B540glenn

    B540glenn Should Be Working Founding Member

    I can't add anything about the tank idea but if you want to store 5 or 6 gallons at a time without the plastic taste you could always invest in some glass carboys used in the brewing process. 1000 gallons stored in these would take more space than 1000 gallons stored in a plastic tank though.
  5. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    OK, so if you get some "plastic" water storage containers. If you use a carbon filter, will that remove the "plastic" taste/smell from the stored water?

    Right now my water consistes of a couple of cases of 1/2 liter bottles (32 bottles in each case), but I'm wanting to step up just a bit and get 2 or 3 5 gal containers (the ones at wal*mart) to store some "tap" water.

  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    One problem not addressed here is the pressure.

    You can't simply take a 500 or 1000 gallon holding tank and pressurize it....or you will have a flooded basement about the time you hit 10-15psi....it will split wide open.......and your normal city water will run in the 30-60psi range.

    I can testify to the above first hand.... :D You will have to have a pressure rated tank.....and in that size, you're talking mucho bucks......after I split open a 500 gallon steel tank on my water based heating system, I went to a old 500 gallon propane tank with 3/8" steel wall and a 450psi pressure rating......but you DEFINITELY wouldn't wanna drink anything that came out of it....yuck.......

    What you COULD do is use a holding tank with a float valve to allow it to fill and shut off automatically ( like a toliet float does ), then use a small pump and pressure tank to feed the house.....similar to having a well or spring.

    But the concept you have is sound I think.....and a good idea !
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well. on the idea of useing the tank some of the other coments did make me think of a couple of things. As far as the pressure problem I dont realy have any idea what they would run but you could look into the water holding tanks like they use for RVs. I know most of those are made to fill part or most of the way with water then hook an air compressor to to presurise the water, so those should work with the water pressure. Then instead of haveing the 1 tank thats 1000 gallons have say 2 500 gallon tanks plumbed so you have a check vualve on the line comeing in the house then a Y with a vualve in it to select which way the water goes. Run line from each side of the Y to one tank then on the out side of each tank have a spigot then a check vualve to keep any water from back flowing into the tank from the lines or the other tank and bring the lines back together through a T into the line that would feed the house.

    This way if the city water goes down the water cant backflow out of the tanks. If the city water is contaminated then you it can only compromise the tank the water is running into at the time. You can then draw water from the tank that was isolated for drinking and cooking and such and have the other tank, assumeing it is only a mild contamination like from a broken line as opposed to intentional poisoning, for things like hygene and so on.

    You just go down say once a week and turn the vualve to switch wich tank the water is flowing through so they are never over about 1 week old but you still have a significant supply of potable water isolated from the city water supply and thus far safer from contamination and the second tank that may be able to be potable as well and if not would most likely still work for non potable purposes.

    You would also still have to have a way of burping the system. In other words some way to let the air out of the tanks as they fill but then closed when they fill in order to allow them to fill but then be pressurized and also to allow for avoiding a vacume if you need to use out of the tanks when water is out of service.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Back to Quig's idea of using gravity to feed the house. A good one, but filling might be problematic if it's to be from a public supply. The public main will have to have enough pressure to boost the water up to your tank. You need also to be a bit careful about how much higher than the house the tank is to be. About 100 feet of elevation difference is about all you really want, most household systems don't like more than about 40 psi and are a lot happier at 25 psi. In crude terms, 2 feet of elevation difference is one psi. That said, it is easy to install a pressure reducing valve to control pressure if the tank elevation is very much higher than the house. Worth noting (again if the supply is public) you MUST have a vaccum breaker on the tank fill pipe, it's part of the plumbing code, and prevents sucking the tank back into the public supply piping in the event of supply system pressure outages. A check valve works (usually) but does NOT meet code.

    So far as pressure tanks go, they are the same as well tanks, and have the same cosiderations. If you can get gravity to work, you don't need to sweat air charging or waterlogging the tank. But you DO need to vent the gravity tanks some way that will keep the bugs and other inconvenient wild things (and vandals) out. One advantage of gravity tanks is that they don't have to hold much pressure, thus lighter and cheaper.

    The two tank scheme is very good from several standpoints. You have a built in backup in the event the supply goes out, AND perhaps more critically, if one is on line and for some reason it gets contaminated by whatever, you can isolate and drain the baddys out.

    Public systems are typically designed for 150 gallons a day per person hooked up. At least on large systems that serve commercial and industrial as well as residential customers. You need to use your water bills to establish your own household use rate, an size your tanks(s) according to what you use, or what you think you would need in a difficult time. Think drinking, cooking, dish kid pet washing, laundry and dishwashers and what you can do without like lawn watering and car washing for some period of time. You pick the duration based on your assessment of the most probable mess that could occur.

    Bear in mind that keeping water fresh mitigates against too much storage, too. Typically, once water is in a distribution system, it doesn't take a lot of flow for freshness, but there is a minimum. Most supply systems go around every now and then and flush the systems from hydrants. Part of that is to maintain fresh supplies and bring the recently chlorinated water to the end of the mains. Chlorine does degrade with time alone (so to say) and if you are at the end of the main, your supply will degrade (but not to unhealthy levels, supposedly) just getting to your house. Flushing also picks up settled corrosion products and blows them out of the system.

    More than you wanted to know ---
  9. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Good thoughts.

    I agree with Andy, Your water pressure would make the plastic tank fail. My well pump's pressure tank shuts off at 70PSI. A non pressurized system (like the idea with the float switch), is good but most then recommend a chlorinator as it is unpressurized.

    Then again, That's on a well system.

    You could always run a seperate storage tank that was Y'd off at the water supply and then filled and drained at Quarterly intervals to keep it fresh. Just hook it back into the Feed line with a valve at each end of this extra circuit. This would be for Gravity feed of course... Maybe in the attic?

    On that plastic taste, I suppose that if it did happen it would still be better than having none at all
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If you go with haveing a large tank in an atic be sure the area where it sits is strong enouph to hold it. I keep going back to that because I know I have a front pourch with 2x12 frameing and 2x6 decking and it did fine with the first 3 60 gallon barrels I sat beside each other on it but when I took a 4th one up on a dolly and sat it down the 2x12 at the front broke and had to be jacked up and reinforced and the barrels removed.
  11. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Tag for later [gone]
  12. prepareordie

    prepareordie Monkey+++

    Quigley - If I am not mistaken I believe you live in Oregon? If so - call a plumber in the Coos Bay/North Bend area. My wife's family lives there. I have seen lots of systems like you are describing at houses on their own well. Seems well pressure is low in that area (5-10 gpm is average) so everyone feeds off the well pump into a holding tank then on to the house. Most of these tanks are 2000 -5000 gals. I don't know the details of how they are set up but I bet a quick call or email to one of the plumbers in the area would get you the details you need to build one. Also most setups I saw had whole house filters set up where the water pipe entered the house near the hot water heater.
  13. Infidel

    Infidel Guest

    while not the most efficient it is probably a pretty cheap solution

    Go to the big orange box store. Buy many large diameter pvc pipe. 4 feet long. cap both ends with caps. I think they are J caps. with sealant. buy 2 manifolds for each pipe. one close to the top cap and one close to the second cap. you can compact the pvc pipes pretty well. stack em on their side or upright. put the line in and line out. cheap water tank
  14. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    As mentioned, the design you are speaking of would require an ASME pressure rated tank that is approved for potable water use. As far as I know, plastic ASME pressure rated tanks do not exist but are available as a reservoir type tank. A 1000 gal. ASME pressure rated tank for potable water use will not be cheap. How much? I’m unsure but I could check with Ferguson if your curious.

    The most economical way would be to use a reservoir type tank with either a manual or float valve. You could use a galvanized steel tank to avoid the water tasting like plastic. I’m unsure if there are any plastic tanks that don’t leach plastic into the water or not. Plastic tanks should also be green in color to help prevent the growth of algae. Whatever type of tank you use make sure it’s approved for potable water use.

    You can get pressurized water out of a reservoir tank by utilizing gravity (head pressure), elevating the tank above point of use. Like ghrit said, ya gotta get the water there first. Not a big problem, just got to figure it into the equation you might need the usage of a pump, unless there is a water source at the higher elevation. Gravity is the way to go, you don’t need any electricity to get water pressure, physics does all the work for you.

    Another option would be to install a submersible pump in the bottom of the tank that has a max. lift of at least 20 ft. Why 20 ft.? Booster pumps have a min. operating inlet pressure to operate, the ones I’ve installed needed 10 PSI min. to operate and had a low pressure cut-off switch. Install 20 feet of vertical piping to acquire 10 PSI at the inlet of booster pump, there’s that darn gravity thing again. The outlet is then piped to a 50 gal. ASME pressure rated tank with pressure switches and the outlet of the pressure tank is connected to the water piping.

    You need a reservior tank, submersible pump, booster pump, pressure tank, lots of piping, check valve, valves, tees, 90's etc. There's a little more to it than this as far as material goes but this covers the basic design and big ticket items.

    Pressurized water for an emergency provided you have a generator, in case you lose power.

    ETA: What do you think ghrit, will it work?
  15. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Forgot to add that unless you have a very large door into your basement getting a 1000 gal. tank down there might be a problem. A typical size is about 5'-6" in diameter by 5'-6" in height, IIRC.
  16. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    In a rural situation, how high would you need to elevate a "Water tower" tank to get decent pressure in the house? I'm thinking a Solar Jack on the well feeding a tank higher up....
  17. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Every foot of elevation about the point of use will increase pressure by 1/2 PSI. So if the bottom of your tank is 20 ft. above let's say a hose bibb, you' ll have 10 PSI of water pressure at the house bibb. 50 ft.=25 PSI, 100 ft.=50 PSI. If your tank was 100 ft. higher in elevation than your house, you would have 50 PSI of water pressure in your water piping inside the home.
  18. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I didn't answer your question [doh]

    15-20 PSI would be considered low pressure but everything in the house should work just fine, which would mean you need the tank 40 ft. higher than the home.

    Max. pressure should be no higher than 80 PSI, 160 ft. will create this pressure.
  19. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    How much water does your family need stored to survive for 2 weeks, if you were to maintain the same lifestyle you currently have?

    Hint: Check your water bill and divide by 2. Your bill is probably calculated in cubic feet, so to convert to gallons multiply the amount by 7.5.
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Most residential systems are made to run at a max of 40 psi (much above that and you get rattling, if not broken pipes) and will run quite well enough at 25 (or less) if the system will produce a flow rate to suit. Anyone on a well with less than adequate flow will tell you that less can be lived with, but has it's limits to patience with showers and flushing simultaneously BTW, there are some easy fixes for the rattling, cheap, too.

    For you guys with well pumps that operate at 75 psi or so, that is the shut off pressure on the pump controllers, it is NOT the system operating pressure. As soon as someone turns on the water, pressure drops until the pump starts and (you hope) operates at a sufficient pressure and flow to operate the dishwasher. When the demand drops, the pressure rises until the pump shuts off again. That is why you get the initial high flow spurt, and then the flow slows. As if it isn't obvioius, the well tank is not storage, it is for pressure control.

    Colt, sorry for the delay. If I follow your description right, it should function well enough, and behave very much like the usual well tank system. Setting the air pressure is the tricky part. Bear in mind that if the well or city system fails to hold the pressure up (like on a common well tank with too low delivery and too small pipes) flow will drop off essentially right away to zero. Quig's idea of a gravity tank is probably the best from both a pressure and flow standpoint, unless there is a standby gennie to run a pump (and compressor, if needed.)

    I should mention that from a "keep fresh" standpoint, a long, skinny tank (or series of fat spots in the pipe as infidel suggests) is better if you are simply looking to develop an on site storage that will stay fresh as it is used. Again, if you park the nest of pipes in the basement, you'll need a way to get it upstairs. If you have a gennie, it gets easy, you can set it up like a well system with a pressure tank and controls. Just remember to vent the pipe nest (or tank, if that is the way you go) so the pump won't suck the walls in.

    For what it is worth: PVC pipe sucks for a lot of these thinking sessions. Get CPVC, it is tougher, and won't age like PVC. Also is more resistant to UV and ozone. Costs a bit more, but I think it's worth it for you younger guys. PVC will do for me.

    More than you wanted to know, continued. For pressure tanks, galvanized can also be a taste treat (and maybe toxic) until very well flushed When the zinc is applied, it is best dipped in molten metal, and the flux used clings rather well. Electrolytic zinc is MUCH thinner, and probably won't last as long. If you can afford it, go stainless, T304 is about as cheap as you can get, and a higher grade than that is a waste.

    Plastic will do quite well for a gravity tank (as would galvanized steel or stainless) but as suggested above, you need it to be opaque to control/prevent algae, or at the very least in a dark hole of a basement. Cool will also help with algae control, there are some that do rather well in warm water and no light.

    One more consideration worth mentioning: Distance is pressure loss when flowing. Use a larger pipe than you think you need. For one of these gravity tanks located above the house at any significant distance from the house, don't go less than 1 inch, and 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 is better. Use smaller at the certain loss of pressure in the shower, and especially if the shower and someone flushes while you are in it. If you go with a gravity tank in the attic, three quarter inch will do, there won't be enough pressure loss to affect the flow significantly. (Won't get a needle jet shower, either.)

    Lastly (for now) to meet codes (meaning if the plumbing inspector drops around) Colt is right, you will pay for an ASME tank if it's to be a pressurized system. Next time you are in Home Depot, look at the well tanks and see what the code stamp looks like. Pay attention to the 4 lobed cloverleaf looking symbol and the letter inside the cloverleaf, that will tell you what section of the code it meets. Let me know what the letter is, and I'll look it up, but they should all be the same.
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