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Old 07-14-12, 11:55 AM   #1
bennelson
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Default Ben's IBC Rainwater collection

Hey guys,

I'm just starting to experiment with rainwater collection.

I have a 275 gallon (1000 liter) intermediate bulk container water storage tank. It is not the fancy stackable ones with the aluminum frames, it's just sort of a giant 4' cube plastic water jug. (Got it for free from a bottling company. Had corn syrup in it - still sticky!)

My plan to to build a platform about three feet high, and put it on there, then divert my garage gutter to it for rainwater collection. The water will be used for the garden.

I'm just starting this, and I'll post some photos and more details as I progress.

-Ben

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Old 07-14-12, 12:14 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great idea Ben. I'm looking forward to hearing more.
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Old 07-14-12, 01:29 PM   #3
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I have a few of these from a friend, but little need for the water for the garden (native plants). I don't think drinking out of these particular ones would be a good idea. Still would like to hook up one or two. I'll be watching your progress and maybe get inspired.
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Old 07-14-12, 01:31 PM   #4
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I don't think drinking out of these particular ones would be a good idea.
The ones that I have are from the food industry. They are #2 plastic. I'm not planning on drinking out of them, but wouldn't have any problem using them on my garden.
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Old 07-14-12, 03:25 PM   #5
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Well, I did a little experimenting today...and took lots of photos!



The container that I got comes wrapped in cardboard (which unfortunately will not hold up to weather, so it has to be removed) and glued down to a pallet. I transported it home in the back of my pickup, the trailer was just a convenient place to set it down to work on it.

The container has a 2" ball valve, but that doesn't do me much good, as I need to connect it to a garden hose. I went to the hardware store and got the adapters, reducers, and pipe nipple needed to get it down to a brass garden hose spigot. It was about $7.50 for those components. Then I just needed to PVC cement them together and add teflon tape and thread the rest of the components.




Stripping off the cardboard isn't real easy - it's very thick stuff, and there's three layers. A little time with a razor knife was needed.

The empty box was good for containing small children. Er, um, I mean, it made a great playhouse for the little girl to play in. My wife was calling it the "Redneck Pack and Play".


With the pallet and cardboard removed, I was able to wash out the inside of the container. It was still SOOOO sticky from the corn-syrup residue.



The container does feature a 6" fill opening on the top and matching cap. There's also a 2" cap for the drain port. The large top opening makes it pretty easy to wash out inside and should be great for directing rain-water into the tank.



I wanted to get a sense of the water pressure I could get from a simple gravity-fed system. Although I don't yet have a good rack for the tank, I thought I'd try elevating it. I had several sturdy barrels, and set the pallet on top of those, and the tank on top of that. (Kids, don't try this at home!)



With the container on top, I installed the 2" to garden hose adapter I built.



I then filled the tank from the top with some water from my garden hose and well pump.

My garden is over 50' away (I have a long, narrow, property) and it's a little up-hill as well. With the ball valve and spigot open, the hose connected to water tank started putting out water. When I would lower the hose to ground height, the flow was a little less than what I would have gotten from my regular spigot. If I raised the hose any, the flow would drop off until, at waist-height, there was no flow.

That was sort of part of the idea. I liked the concept of having a gravity-fed water supply where I could just "turn the water on and off" by how I held the hose.

When I took the hose back the opposite direction, to water some plants near the house (and just a little down-hill) I had very good water flow - almost as much as I would have had from my spigot.

So, in terms of a first pass and experiment, here's what I noticed:

1) That tank holds a LOT of water! I did quite a bit of watering, and I could hardly see the water line go down at all.

2) Water pressure isn't what it would be from my household well pump and pressure tank, but it was still very usable, and didn't require any electricity.

3) With the tank 36" off the ground, the top of the tank is over 6' high - I can't see the cap to put the hose in there or screw the lid back on!

4) The rack to elevate the tank will need to be very sturdy. Water weighs somewhere around 8lbs/gallon. The full tank will weigh over a ton. I'll need to make sure the rack is well-build and level.

I think the next thing to do is build the rack. That will take a little time, and maybe a bit of cost for materials.

I also need to get a section of gutter, as my garage has NO gutters on it right now!

Lastly, I've heard from some folks that a translucent container like this should be covered or painted to prevent sunlight from causing algae to grow in it. I'm not planning on painting it right away. I think I'll just let it sit out and see if it's a problem or not. It's on the north side of the garage and may or may not need it. If I do paint it, I'll probably use a white spray paint designed for use on plastic, and mask off a vertical stripe so that I still have a "sight-tube" to easily see how full the tank is.
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Last edited by bennelson; 07-14-12 at 11:28 PM.. Reason: because I can't NOT edit! typos
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Old 07-14-12, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
That was sort of part of the idea. I liked the concept of having a gravity-few water supply where I could just "turn the water on and off" by how I held the hose.
I like this. Nice detail.
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Old 07-14-12, 11:48 PM   #7
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From my experience with rainwater I can tell you that a screen over the top opening is a must. There is always debris in gutters, anything from leaves and twigs to dust. In order to clean out the cube you'll have to almost empty it, and getting anything in through that 6" opening ain't gonna be easy, so the fewer times you do it the better.

Also, algea will start to form in there. I have 4 barrels behind the house, made out of thick blue plastic, and only the first doesn't have a lid on it, and the light coming in through the screen is enough for algea to show up, which then makes its way into the other barrels. So instead of painting it white, maybe you could cover the sides and top with something that doesn't allow light in.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:26 AM   #8
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We have rainwater harvesting here. Ibc's are good as they are cheap (typically 35 each). Ours gets used for flushing toilets, washing cars, watering plants. As we are on a water meter, this has nearly halved our metered water use. The money saved paid for the tank, the battery, solar panel and 12 volt boost pump in 6 months!
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Old 07-15-12, 08:50 AM   #9
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Oooh! Car washing. I didn't even think of that one. Great use for water from the sky instead of pumped from the ground!
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Old 07-15-12, 10:05 AM   #10
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When the rainwater runs out, then we use bathwater for flushing toilets. The trick is to only store as much grey water as can be used in 2 days, or it starts to smell. I found that adding 1ml per litre of bleach sorts this problem. Again can be used for washing cars as well.

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