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to_dave007

IBC Totes for water storage in the mountain

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to_dave007

Considering use of 300 gallon white IBC tote for water storage for wife's family in the mountain area.  They are mountain farmers..  not lazy but dirt poor.  We tried drilling a well in 2015, but that failed, so this is my follow-on plan to help them with water. For now the water would NOT be considered potable. Water would be sourced from a 4000 square foot roof.

Right now I'm debating 1000 gallon concrete tank vs 3 or 4 IBC totes.  Concrete would be much more expensive, but once in place would be simpler and longer lasting.

Two aspects of the IBC totes bother me:

1) How long do they last?  I'm expecting to have the tanks covered somehow to prevent light (especially UV) getting to the plastic tank.  This would also help prevent algae growth inside the tanks.  But IF I do this, how long will these IBC totes last.  For sure if they MUST last 5 years minimum before failure and I would prefer 10+ would be a better target.  What lifetime experience do any of you have with these?

2) How to clean them in a mountain setting without pressurized water to use for cleaning?  and how often do they need to be cleaned?  The water will pass through a mosquito screen filter before entering the tanks.

I've got no experience with these totes.  Any guidance from you guys who have used them more?  

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Paul
2 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

1) How long do they last?  I'm expecting to have the tanks covered somehow to prevent light (especially UV) getting to the plastic tank.  This would also help prevent algae growth inside the tanks.  But IF I do this, how long will these IBC totes last.  For sure if they MUST last 5 years minimum before failure and I would prefer 10+ would be a better target.  What lifetime experience do any of you have with these?

We've been using 1000 liters / 270 gallons IBC Totes for a year. One has been under 60% shade cloth, while the other has been in direct sunlight the entire time. Both were cleaned and painted prior to initial use. Both look pretty much the same as they did when we first got them. Can't say how well they will look after 10 years.

Do note, they all do not have the same threads on the drain valves at the bottom of the tanks. Some are 2" male pipe threads. Others have 2" male Buttress fittings / threads. (If you are familiar with 208 liters plastic drums, they have one each of those fittings - female though, on the tops of them.) If this matters to you for piping them in, definitely check the valves, prior to making a purchase.

2 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

2) How to clean them in a mountain setting without pressurized water to use for cleaning?  and how often do they need to be cleaned?  The water will pass through a mosquito screen filter before entering the tanks.

A long handled scrub brush and soap? Make certain they only stored food grade products. We clean ours monthly. 

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to_dave007

Thanks Paul.. 

I did several Google search to see if I could find any definitive statements on how long the IBC totes should last, and it does seem that UV exposure is one of the factors, though I couldn't find any "life" predictions.  I did find some standard requiring leak test every 2-1/2 years (to see if cracking occur), so that would suggest to me a life of 5+ years should be easily accomplished (and also the eventual failure would be a crack developing).

I suppose painting the plastic, or wrapping the tanks (as in several on line examples), or enclosing them, are all common sense ways of keeping the UV from the plastic...  which would seem to extend the life of ANY plastic object.

My brother in Canada has a cistern that gets cleaned only about once every year or two.  Cleaning means getting inside to shovel the sediments into a bucket before washing it down.  I can't remember what you have inside your totes (fish?) but if you use them JUST for water storage, then  monthly cleaning seems quite a lot..  are you cleaning out sedimentation or scum, or debris (leaves etc)?

Thanks for the notes about the couplings..  I was reading about that this morning trying to see what the standard couplings are.

Any way you know of to check what was in the IBC containers before?  Also did your IBC totes have any "date" on them.. wondering if I'll be able to see how old they are.

   

Edited by to_dave007

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Paul
6 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

I suppose painting the plastic, or wrapping the tanks (as in several on line examples), or enclosing them, are all common sense ways of keeping the UV from the plastic...  which would seem to extend the life of ANY plastic object.

Yes, definitely paint them or cover them. You can get tons of ideas off Youtube, if you have the time to look around a bit. 

We have three concrete jars at the farm that were linked by 1/2" PVC, for rain water collection at the farm. These were the first storage units we put together, back in 2013. Earlier this year, the entire network of pipes broke, causing us to lose the water in all three jars. The sun WILL destroy the LBC liners, similarly, if not protected or covered. The next PVC that I run, will be painted, or protected otherwise. 

water_jar_pvc.jpg

 

6 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

My brother in Canada has a cistern that gets cleaned only about once every year or two.  Cleaning means getting inside to shovel the sediments into a bucket before washing it down.  I can't remember what you have inside your totes (fish?) but if you use them JUST for water storage, then  monthly cleaning seems quite a lot..  are you cleaning out sedimentation or scum, or debris (leaves etc)?

Sorry. Yes, I was referring to my fish tank (IBC). If containing nothing but water, I would drop a bit of bleach into it, once in a while. I forget the actual amount per 1,000 liters. But, it was something like 250ml, or so, if I recall correctly? You should smell a slight chlorine odor after pouring it in and mixing it a bit, or letting it sit. The bleach will evaporate from the tank, over the next couple of days. Leave it to vent well, after applying the bleach.

6 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

Thanks for the notes about the couplings..  I was reading about that this morning trying to see what the standard couplings are.

I found out about this the hard way, after the totes had been delivered to us. I'm glad I can help save you from the same irritation.

6 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

Any way you know of to check what was in the IBC containers before?  Also did your IBC totes have any "date" on them.. wondering if I'll be able to see how old they are.

They should have a label on the front of them, showing what they contained during shipping. If they had anything that was considered hazardous materials, do NOT use them for personal consumption. If you do not know, or are unable to find out, better to err on the side of safety. Mine had labels on them, showing me they carried a water based polymer. Non-hazardous material.

I don't recall looking for, or locating any date on my totes. If they are being sold at a distributor of any kind, I imagine they won't be very old. Typically, they are one time use containers, for those who are purchasing the contents of the totes. 

Edited by Paul
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SkyMan
2 hours ago, Paul said:

They should have a label on the front of them, showing what they contained during shipping.

But that doesn't guaranty they weren't used for something else before you got them.

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Paul
Just now, SkyMan said:

But that doesn't guaranty they weren't used for something else before you got them.

The ones I have went straight from the consignee, to the IBC tote wholesaler, to me. But, I agree. Others could be used for just about anything.

Mine didn't, for sure. We had to clean the polymer out of them

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to_dave007
14 hours ago, Paul said:

I would drop a bit of bleach into it, once in a while. I forget the actual amount per 1,000 liters. But, it was something like 250ml, or so, if I recall correctly? You should smell a slight chlorine odor after pouring it in and mixing it a bit, or letting it sit. The bleach will evaporate from the tank, over the next couple of days. Leave it to vent well, after applying the bleach.

I have been expecting to eliminate sunlight from entering the IBC totes, to eliminate algae growth.  If I do that it's my understanding I should not need chlorine.

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Paul
1 hour ago, to_dave007 said:

If I do that it's my understanding I should not need chlorine.

If YOU plan to drink it, you probably should. You can put a charcoal filter inline to remove it later.

Just my thoughts.

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Paul

Incidentally, I am considering adding a filtering system that includes an ultraviolet light. I found some locally, during a recent visit to the plumbing shop.

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to_dave007

At present there is no plan to drink the water from these IBC.  just for washing and animals and garden.

Also..  remember that this is going to my mountain family members.  I need to stay away from anything that will cost them money (like electricity or new charcoal filters).  trying to keep it as simple as possible.

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Paul
48 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

Also..  remember that this is going to my mountain family members.

I forgot about that.

Well,hopefully, my other advice will help.

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SkyMan

I think I would do the cement tank.  You can build a much bigger tank for the same money.

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to_dave007
13 hours ago, SkyMan said:

I think I would do the cement tank.  You can build a much bigger tank for the same money.

The "build it for life" engineer in me likes concrete for other reasons as well..  but I had expected concrete to be more expensive than the totes.

For (nominally) 3000 liters of storage (3 IBC tote, 792 gallon, 106 cubic feet, 5' x 5' x 4.2') and without a lot of research I am expecting IBC costs to be:

 - 3 IBC totes @ 3,000 or less = 9000 maximum (delivered to Tuburan)(I suspect I can buy them for 1/2 this)

 - cover them with tarp or paint <1000 p

 - PVC pipe and fittings to join them together < 3000 p

 - rebar and cement to make a good solid base for mounting < 2500

 - Total WRT IBC totes 16,000

Didn't including any filtering or piping to bring the water from the roof because that would be the same for concrete tank.

What would you estimate for a concrete tank (3000 liters, 792 gallon, 106 cubic feet, 5' x 5' x 4.2')?  can't imagine it would be less than totes..  and I'd expect likely double the costs with totes.  However.. don't get me wrong..  If we build it out of concrete I would expect it to last well more than 10 years, with minimal maintenance.

When I built the rainwater tank here I likely over designed it.  The walls are 6" with a double row of 16mm rebar..  I never kept track of the costs of the tank.  I know I know.. I should have. I was busy at same time with some stuff for back home.

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SkyMan
3 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

5' x 5' x 4.2'

I would set the interior length or width to 4'.  You'll need plywood to pour the slab on top so 5'X5' means you have to cut some 1' piece and brace for it.  (Design for the available materials.)  4'X8'X3.5" (inside) would give you 112f^3.  You mentioned pouring a slab for the tanks but whether using IBC tanks or cement, you may want to consider elevating them to give some water pressure.  If the roof runoff is at 8', you can collect it there by raising the tanks 4'.  Then you have four feet at the spigot.  

I'll guesstimate on materials here:

About 120 block for the walls (assuming inside dimensions).  p1500-2000 for decent machine made block.

I'll say 5 cement for the bottom slab and 4 for the top, 10? for mortar, fill, and rendering.  So 20 sacks?  I get cement for p150 in Mandaue, maybe p200 in Tuburan?  p4000

Sahara waterproofing additive for cement.  I get it for p27, local price is p35, Tuburan?  p40?  for 20 - p800

Graba - 1.5cubic, bas - 1 cubic, fine bas 1 cubic      p3K?

Rebar 10mm - I'm going to guess 24 which would give you a3D 8 inch grid.  My latest price is p103.49 so maybe p160 Tuburan?  p3840

Then 1 sheet of plywood and assorted 2X2 cocos.  p1500?

p15,140?  That's trying to err on the high side but others may see omissions or errors in my guesstimates. For added waterproofing insurance you could paint the inside with an concrete sealer or maybe acrylic paint.  You might want to pour the walls so no block or rendering or fine sand but you'd need more cement, graba, bas, plywood and coco.  With some crafty forming you could pour the walls and floor in one shot but this would most likely require an in ground build.

Pros/Cons.  With a cement tank you have the ability to get inside to clean it.  You could maybe put some kind of hatch on an IBC tank.

For not much more money the cement tank could be much larger, for IBC, buy another tank.

The cement tank would be ok for drinking water or lined with fiberglass easily enough.  The IBC would be ok after a good cleaning and bleaching.

The concrete tank would be in no way portable like the IBC tanks which would also be easier to elevate.  You could actually put them up on a couple rows of steel drums.  I think the IBC tanks come in cage so the drums wouldn't cut into the tanks or you can put coco planking on the drums.

5 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

- 3 IBC totes @ 3,000 or less = 9000 maximum (delivered to Tuburan)(I suspect I can buy them for 1/2 this)

Maybe you can but I seem to remember p7K per tank here in Liloan.  I think my blue plastic 1cubic tank Bestank? was p13K 5 years ago.  I would think if IBC tanks were that cheap you'd see a lot more of them in use than the plastic or stainless tanks.

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SkyMan
5 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

The walls are 6" with a double row of 16mm rebar..

I just noticed this.  I saw 'double row' but the '16mm' didn't register.  Wow!  That's a lot of steel, like not quite Hoover Dam but holy smokes.

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