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  • Emergency Blackout Preparation and Fuel Storage

    Blackout preparation and fuel storage.

    Many of us store gasoline on a regular basis. We store it for lawnmowers and chainsaws. We keep it for golf carts and recreational vehicles. We also maintain a supply of fuel for special outdoor events to power generators. Those same generators get a lot more usage during emergency situations. Whether it is hurricanes or earthquakes, massive thunderstorms or traffic accidents that take own power lines – many disasters cause blackouts of varying lengths.

    These blackouts require emergency power from generators, and those generators require gasoline. In fact, when the power is out, many gas pumps will not work, so not only is gasoline required… pre-purchased and stored gasoline is needed to power those generators until the gas pumps can be restored. If the road systems have been affected by the disaster, communities may be limited to the small supply of fuel they have stored in the gas pumps and may not receive additional fuel until the roads can be restored enough to send fuel trucks.

    The Cost of Not Storing Gasoline

    Gasoline fluctuates in price but rarely is it cheap enough for long enough to justify stockpiling fuel by price alone. Instead, it is better to consider the consequences of prolonged blackouts. For example, without a quick return to functioning power, refrigerators and freezers begin to rise in temperature and defrost. The food they hold must be eaten quickly, or it goes to waste.

    This can be a problem in a blackout because you are often limited in your ability to cook without using microwaves, ovens, toasters, or any other electric cooking equipment. That leaves many people stuck either eating raw, cold food or throwing everything perishable out if the blackout lasts more than a couple days. They then incur the cost of resupplying their food once power is restored. That is the cost that stored gasoline for generators can help reduce or eliminate altogether.

    Local Regulations

    If you decide to start storing gasoline, the first thing you should do is to find out what the local regulations are regarding gasoline storage. Those regulations were created for reasons. They help prevent fires, and they help prevent massive explosions, serious injury, and deaths in the case of fires. You don’t want to be the cause of damage to your neighbor’s property or the severe injury or death of a fireman who tries to put out a fire near the place you store your gasoline. Find those regulations by looking up the “fire code” for your area, it will clearly tell you how many gallons of gasoline you can store, where to store it, and how to keep it maintained.

    The other agency you need to check with is your insurance provider. They will likely have policies set up regarding the storage of hazardous material, which is what gasoline is rated as, and if you do not abide by these policies, it will give your insurance company grounds to deny any claims you make. Again, you won’t save any money if you are not storing fuel legally. If you are planning to transport fuel from one place to another, especially if you are going out of state, you need to look up the regulations for all states you pass through as well as specific instructions for transporting gasoline.

    Choosing the Right Container

    There may be fire code instructions about how to store gasoline, but if there are not, you should be aware of what will and will not work. Your two options are metal and plastic gas cans, and nothing bigger than five gallons at a time. Some places even limit you to two separate five-gallon containers total (more on this later). You can always get smaller plastic gas tanks.

    Plastic gas cans have taken over much of the market because they weigh less and are therefore easier to carry and transport. However, not all plastic gas tanks will work.

    Most plastic containers will slowly be dissolved by the gasoline you put in them, so make sure you are using a fuel-ready grade of plastic. This is easily remedied by purchasing plastic gas tanks for generators or that are specifically made for holding gasoline.

    Metal gas containers are usable, but they are not as prevalent nowadays unless they are older containers. They are stronger and will not dissolve by holding gasoline, but if they are not grounded properly, they can build up static electricity which can then ignite the gasoline fumes and cause an explosion. One common mistake people make in not properly grounding their gasoline containers is that they attempt to fill them up at the gas station while the tank is sitting on the back of their truck. Always fill gasoline containers on the ground. Plastic gas tanks for generators are safer and much easier to find anyway.

    DO NOT, under any circumstances, store gasoline in glass containers. Gasoline is naturally unstable, continuously releasing fumes around it, and if your container does not have the proper “give” to it, it will eventually burst the container, risking explosion and fire. Trying to create proper venting for harder containers is not an option because the fumes that are released are more flammable than the liquid is itself.

    Stabilize and Rotate Your Gasoline

    Since gasoline is naturally unstable, you need to add stabilizer to help it last longer in storage. If you do not, it will dissipate into a varnish-like material within a couple of months. If you try to use this gasoline, it will ruin your car, lawnmower, chainsaw, or generator motor.

    Gasoline stabilizer is easy to find, and it is not expensive, but even with the addition of a stabilizer to your gas, it is only meant to be stored for one season. At the very best it can be stored for two years, but most gas will dissipate by then. The best practice is to use a stabilizer and rotate the gas out every four months.

    Where to Store Your Gasoline

    Again, your local fire codes can help you determine this, but the first thing to keep in mind when choosing a place to store your gas is to keep it away from heat sources. (No heaters, stoves, furnaces, etc.) Ideally, you should not even keep it in the same building as anything with a pilot light. This means that you should not keep plastic gas tanks in your home. They should always be stored in an external building, and if you have a built-in garage, you should not store them there either.

    If you are thinking about burying the gasoline tanks underground, think again. In most places, this is illegal and also very dangerous. Plus, if you are frequently changing out the gas in the tanks, it is very inconvenient to have to dig it up every 3 or 4 months. Additionally, if the tanks were to spring a leak it would become an environmental hazard, so just don’t do it. Storing gasoline in basements external structures is ok, but do not bury your gas tanks underground.

    Also, make sure you do not mix gasoline with any other chemicals (other than gasoline stabilizer) it is even preferable to mix the oil and gas for chainsaws just before you put it into the chainsaw rather than storing it that way. It is a bad idea to mix gasoline with anything else.

    Finally, you may not think about this as a source of heat, but it is important that you keep your gasoline tanks away from windows and out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can build up enough heat over time to ignite the fumes and cause explosions and fires on your property.

    Don’t Forget Your Car

    If you need more storage for generators and are looking for additional ways to store more fuel, it is probably helpful to think in terms of multiple locations. I am sure there will be some kind of cap on how many gallons of gasoline you can have on your property in total, but I know you will be able to hold more if they are spread out between 3 or four different external buildings or places. Just make sure those places are not your house and are not anywhere near a heat source (or buried underground).

    While you are thinking about places to store extra gasoline, don’t forget about your personal vehicles. Cars and trucks hold multiple gallons of gasoline at a time, and some trucks even have an extra tank. It is certainly not the most convenient place to store gas to be used in a generator during an emergency, and you will probably want to keep enough gasoline in the vehicle itself. However, it is a possible option if you are in need of another place to store gasoline.

    If you choose to use your vehicle as a backup option, you will need to be sure you keep its plastic gas tanks full. There are some other benefits to doing this, even if you do not choose to use it as a backup source of gasoline. Most areas do not count vehicles toward the amount of gasoline you can store. The gasoline in it will get rotated regularly without much effort on your part. You do not have to worry about the type of plastic gas tanks or where to store it when it is housed in your vehicle. On top of all that, your vehicle will get better mileage if the tank is full.

    Be informed and be safe as you prepare your home for the possibility of blackouts and disasters.

  • DIY Plastic Tank Repair 101

    DIY Plastic Tank Repair

    Good doctors and plumbers always seem impossible to get ahold of when you need them the most. From the outside perspective, they seem to be able to work whenever they want and rake in lots of our own hard-earned money. I am sure that both doctors and plumbers know better. However, it stands to reason that repairs on your plastic tanks could be much less expensive and much more efficient if you were able to do those repairs yourself.

    With the following guidelines, you should be able to assess the possibility of repair for your plastic tank. You may be able to infer your own abilities to make the necessary repairs. You will also have a succinct list of equipment and items required to repair your cracked tank, as well as a step-by-step set of detailed instructions that will enable you to perform a plastic weld over the crack in your plastic tank.

    What type of tanks can you repair yourself?

    Plastic tanks have the benefit of outlasting many other types of tanks and also being much easier to repair. Depending on their function and what they hold, you may need to call a plumber or other expert after all. Plastic tanks can play an essential role in the daily life of your household or business, and it is essential that you know your abilities and limitations before attempting to repair them yourself. When in doubt, seek out a professional plumber or plastic tanks specialist for help.

    First of all, it is a misunderstanding held by many people, that you can fix a plastic tank simply by welding the seams of a crack back together again. Welding any crack back together, on virtually any material, creates a weak place that will bear the brunt of any tension the tank receives. It is at best a temporary fix and may end up causing greater harm the next time it ruptures.

    Secondly, you need to completely empty your plastic tank before you can attempt to fix it safely. If you are dealing with a small water-collection tank, this is not a challenge. However, large fuel tanks and septic tanks may require you to get professional assistance. In some areas, you may not be legally allowed to fix your plastic tank yourself – especially if it is a large one filled with hazardous materials. Be sure to check your local regulations before digging up a project and getting into legal messes as well as plumbing ones.

    That is not encouragement to sit back and do nothing about a crack or leak in your plastic tank, though. Once a crack develops, it will quickly grow to a point where it is no longer repairable. Early intervention is key, whether you are doing the repairs yourself, or calling in a professional plumber or plastic tank expert. It is also important to note the location of the crack. If the crack is near one of the pipes and seals of the tank, you may need to get new fixtures, and you will have to reseal those pipes.

    Signs of Plastic Tank Damage

    There are no “common” types of cracks, but cracks on the top or sides can be dealt with if you find them in time. For water tanks, the tell-tale signs will be a loss of water pressure, loss of water level in the tank itself without use, or, if housed indoors, you will be able to see the collection of water around and on the outside of the tank. Septic and fuel tank cracks and leaks will often be accompanied by a smell, and sometimes mushy ground around the outside of the tank if it is buried. Anytime you notice an unusual (and usually unpleasant) odor from a fuel or septic tank, you should investigate it immediately.

    If your tank forms a crack at the bottom of the tank, this is due to inability to withstand the pressure. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this kind of rupture and your tank will need to be drained and replaced. In these worse-case-scenarios, it is helpful to know that some plastic tank suppliers offer the option of renting tanks while you are in the process of replacing or repairing yours.

    Plastic Drinking Water Tanks

    One final note before you begin your DIY plastic tank repair: Be careful about trying to fix drinking water tanks yourself. Plastic drinking water tanks need to be made from special plastics that are U/V resistant and do not have the same kind of decay as other plastics. Many types of plastic leach chemicals into their contents over time (which is why plastic water bottles have expiration dates on them). If the plastic patch and plastic tank repair epoxy you use on your drinking water tank do not have the same properties, it may end up leaching chemicals itself, even if the majority of the tank does not. These chemicals are toxic and will end up making your drinking water toxic as well. This would also apply to reservoirs used for indoor gardens.

    Plastic Tank Repair Kits

    Once you have determined that you can make the repairs yourself, it is time to put together your plastic tank repair kit. In this kit you will need:

    1. Plastic welding gun
    2. Polyethylene welding rod (plastic tank repair epoxy)
    3. Utility knife
    4. Rag
    5. Drill
    6. 1/8th-inch drill bit
    7. Rotary tool
    8. Abrasive rotary tool tip

    Making Repairs With Your Plastic Tank Repair Kit

    To begin your repairs, you must be sure that both the inside and outside of the tank are clean. This means that any hazardous materials (septic or fuel in particular) need to be professionally removed. Once the inside is empty, you need to clean up the outside area as well as you can with your rag or another cleaning tool. Make sure the area around the crack is free from any dirt or extraneous material.

    Next, you need to drill two small holes, one at the top and one at the bottom of the crack. These holes will relieve some of the structural pressure and prevent the crack from growing any larger. Then take your rotary tool from your plastic tank repair kit and sand a groove with your abrasive rotary tool tip ½ inch parallel to the crack, above and beside it. The groove will allow your polyethylene welding rod a place to fit in and seal the crack.

    When applying the plastic tank repair epoxy, be certain to follow the directions that accompany it. Many of them are only made to cover small cracks. They also typically have a prescribed temperature for the tank to be at when they are applied. If you are attempting to repair a plastic fuel tank or plastic septic tank, check to ensure that your epoxy is suited for holding such contents.

    When you have met all the prescribed requirements of your plastic tank repair epoxy, take your polyethylene welding rod and cut it to a point, like a pencil, with your utility knife. Insert the welding rod into your plastic welding gun. Touch the plastic tank repair epoxy to the top of the crack. Apply pressure per the instructions that came with your plastic welding gun, and pull the gun down or across to the other end of the plastic tank crack. Make sure you allow the plastic tank repair epoxy to dry for at least 1 hour before you move ahead.

    Final Touches

    The plastic tank repair epoxy will usually dry an off-white color. Once it is completely dry, you may sand it down gently to remove the rough outer edges and paint it over with an appropriate plastic paint that matches the color of the rest of the tank. This may essentially make the damaged area of the tank invisible and perfectly functional again. Be careful to remember that, even if it appears good as new, your tank is no longer structurally the same as when you first bought it, and this may only be a temporary solution.

    If the crack you are attempting to repair is over 12 inches long, you should plan to replace the tank very soon. If the crack occurred because of pressure or heat problems (such as if the crack is on the bottom of the tank) you should plan to replace the unit. Any plastic welding you do will be a temporary fix at best, but it will hopefully give you time to save up enough money to have a new tank designed, created, and installed on your property. Don’t forget, you may be able to acquire a rental tank while repairing or waiting for a replacement tank to be made.

    With these guidelines, you can accurately assess the possibility of repair for your plastic tank. The information above gives you enough guidance to infer your own abilities to make the necessary repairs. Also, you now have a succinct list of equipment and items required to repair your cracked tank. By following the step-by-step set of detailed instructions, you can perform the plastic weld you need over the crack in your plastic tank.

    DIIY Plastic Tank Repair
  • The Harder They Are, The Bigger They Fail

    Concrete vs plastics septic tanks

    Septic tanks are not a new concept, especially for families and businesses located in areas outside the cities and the sewer options available to urban folk. They were invented by a man named John Mouras, a Frenchman, around the year 1860. His prototype was quite simple. He created a concrete tank and connected it to pipes made of clay. Although the plumbing system has changed so that we use far fewer clay pipes today, many septic tanks are still being manufactured out of concrete.

    Industrial Options

    Concrete is no longer the only option available. Septic tanks can now be made of steel, fiberglass, or hardened plastics, and each of these options has their own strengths and weaknesses. Fiberglass is a newer option and essentially functions as a harder plastic option. Steel septic tanks have been around for a while and are popular among industrial areas that need larger tanks. Both steel and fiberglass are often more expensive, and steel has the potential to rust and decay over time, and this can only really be fixed by replacing the entire tank. Fiberglass, on the other hand, does not rust, but it is vulnerable to fractures and cracks if it is mishandled.

    Plastic Septic Tanks vs. Concrete

    If you are a homeowner or you operate a small business operator, you are probably looking for a more affordable option than steel or fiberglass. These are easy to find in the form of plastic and concrete septic tanks. Both plastic and concrete tanks are significantly less expensive and perform the same as steel or fiberglass over time. Each material type has their own strengths and weaknesses, and potential buyers should weigh their options carefully before making a decision in purchasing a new septic tank.

    The Rise of Concrete Septic Tanks

    Concrete is the original material from which septic tanks were made. It was introduced from France to the United States in 1883, but it quickly became apparent that mishandled septic systems led to disease and environmental pollution. In response to this unfortunate discovery, Massachusetts put into place a set of regulations called “Title 5”, which was used to ensure the safety and uphold proper standards of septic systems.

    By 1950, concrete septic systems were the norm and the regulations, created by the Massachusetts Board of Health, had created sustainable, environmentally safe draining fields. With a few further innovations in the form of septic tank risers and special filters, the septic tank today is a safe and successful alternative to the sewer systems found in cities.

    The Benefits of Concrete Septic Tanks 

    Concrete septic tanks have stood the test of time. John Mouras went out and dug up the original concrete septic tank in 1880 – 20 years after he had installed it, to see what was inside. His system moved effluent into a cesspool in his backyard, and when he opened up the tank, he discovered it was mostly empty. It had lasted 20 years and still had plenty of use left in it. Of course, we need to remember that the septic tank that only has to work for one person or one small family will likely outlast a tank established for a business or a commercial center because they will easily have to do exponentially more work. Nevertheless, concrete septic tanks usually have a long life.

    Another great benefit to concrete septic tanks is that once they are installed, they settle quickly and do not move regardless of the activity of their contents. They are large and bulky; unless you attack them with a jackhammer, you are not likely to damage them very easily.

    With proper maintenance, a concrete septic tank should last you decades. Most of this maintenance involves having your tank pumped out regularly to remove the buildup of sludge (solid material) and the addition of special enzymes to the tank contents to keep up a level of healthy bacteria that break down waste.

    The Downsides of Concrete Septic Tanks

    Everything has a breaking point, and concrete septic tanks are no exclusion to that rule. When properly cared for, they can last decades, but eventually, they begin to wear down. Concrete is not carved stone, and over time, acids in the wastewater can begin to break down the bonds that hold the concrete together, forming weakened areas, corrosion, and eventually cracks in the tank itself. Lower quality concrete also utilizes steel struts for support, and these are susceptible to rust over the years.

    When these tanks crack, and waste begins to leak out, it causes a horrible smell and can poison the area and any nearby water supply. If a breakdown occurs, the tank must be dug up, and in some cases raised up and emptied. Since concrete septic tanks are so big and bulky and settle so quickly into the ground, this is often a very difficult task. While concrete can be easily patched (as we often do in sidewalks or other outdoor pavement), those patches do not match the same molecular level as the original concrete and will fluctuate their density in response to temperature changes differently than the original tank. This means, any kind of “patches” are often just a band-aid that can be worn off or refracted within a short amount of time. These are short-term fixes at best. Most often, any serious damage to a concrete tank requires the replacement of the entire tank.

    To be fair, significant cracks in tanks of any material type often require replacement. However, due to its size and weight, concrete replacements are often more expensive than lighter materials. Attempts to purchase less expensive concrete will decrease the amount of time it will last and increase the possibility of it suffering accidental breaks.

    When these concrete tanks work, they work well. When they break, though, it is a burdensome, expensive, complicated mess to clean up.

    The Benefits of Plastic Septic Tanks

    When some people think about plastic tanks, they think about milk jugs, plastic cups, or occasionally the plastic containers used to hold fuel for lawnmowers and chainsaws. Plastic as a material, however, is a technology that has enjoyed continual improvement throughout the 20th and 21st century. Plastics have been used to create armor to deflect bullets, withstand high heats, frozen temperatures, hold together large and small pieces of equipment at once, and protect property from harsh weather conditions. As a material, it can be made quickly and easily, which means it is far less expensive than materials like steel or fiberglass.

    While it comes closer in price to concrete, it is many times lighter, which means you incur less cost installing a plastic septic tank than a concrete septic tank. In most home installations, you do not require heavy machinery or special lifting equipment to get it into the ground. This light weight and ease of transport can be especially important for rural dwellers who may live in places that are not accessible to the heavy machinery required to install heavier types of septic tanks. Plastic is also impervious to rust and much more resistant to any form of decay that plagues concrete and steel tanks in particular.

    There are basically two ways that plastic septic tanks suffer damage. One is if they are hit or dropped during installation. If this happens, they are less likely to crack than fiberglass, and more likely to form a dent, which will not likely affect their function in your septic system. The other way they suffer damage is through temperature changes that can change the density of the plastic material compared to any metal pipes or fixtures. Plastics, however, are more flexible and perform significantly better than the harder materials such as fiberglass, steel, or concrete. Plastic bends where other materials break.

    The Downsides of Plastic Septic Tanks

    Plastic tanks are a much cheaper and more durable option for septic tanks, but there are a few challenges they face as well. The lighter weight of these tanks is the cause of many of these challenges. In areas with high water levels, the tanks can sometimes shift around underground. This causes them to tilt and sometimes disconnect from their intake and output pipes due to the strain. Because of this, certain areas require that plastic tanks be weighted down to help hold them in place. Other areas do not allow them to be installed at all. It is important to check with local ordinances to be sure plastic septic tanks are allowed on your property before you purchase and install one.

    The only other downside to plastic septic tanks is that they do not come in as large of sizes as steel and concrete septic tanks can be made. For this reason, plastic septic tanks are an excellent choice for homeowners and small businesses rather than major industrial or commercial areas. Maintenance is far simpler and more affordable for them, and even if a full replacement is necessary, it will be an easier, more affordable solution for you than dealing with a harder, heavier septic tank.

    The Conclusion?

    While there are pros and cons to both plastic and concrete septic tanks, the facts seem clear: if you value convenience, plastic is the way to go. To find the right plastic septic tank for your home or business, reach out to the experts at Go To Tanks.

  • 7 Steps to a New Plastic Septic System

    7 Steps to New Plastic Septic System

    Plastic septic tanks are just one significant piece of a wastewater management system in your home. It is essential to recognize and remember that when you are preparing for your plastic septic tank installation that there are several critical steps to take when installing a new septic system, and if you do not do each of them carefully, you may have some very expensive consequences to deal with later.

    Step 1: Design Your System

    The first step is to design your entire system carefully. There is some important information you will need to research and obtain for this. You will need a site survey to help you identify where the boundaries of your property are so that your septic system placement is in compliance with regulations about how close to your neighbor’s property the wastewater may flow underground.

    The important pieces of information to look for in the site survey are:

    • the amount of space available
    • the topography of the land
    • the purpose and estimated use of water based on the size of your home, so you know how much water the septic system will have to process on a regular basis
    • the location of any wells on your property or neighboring properties

    You will also need to do a percolation test on the soils in the area which your plastic septic tank installation will be located. This test is very important because it will determine whether the ground is suitable for a plastic tank and what type of structural precautions you will need to make to ensure that the plastic septic tank does not fracture or crack under the pressure of the ground around it.

    The soil test will measure:

    • The type of soil and its contents (sand, clay, and rock)
    • Layering (where these soil types are within various depths)
    • How well the soil can drain and filter wastewater

    Once you have these tests done, you will have the information you need to design an appropriate septic system for your home.

    Step 2: Seek Permits

    The second step for installation is to submit your designs and applications for the permits and approvals required by your local government. In order to receive approval of these plans, you need to comply with all the laws related to plumbing and building codes. Without these important approvals, you may be fined and forced to remove your system at great cost.

    Step 3: Gather Equipment

    Gather together the equipment required for you plastic septic tank installation.

    Here is a list of the equipment and parts you will need:

    • Backhoe – this is by far the most efficient way to dig the holes you will need to lay your septic system in the ground.
    • Shovel – to help do some more precise digging in the holes you dig with your backhoe.
    • Laser transit – surveying tool to help ensure precise measurements for digging
    • Grade pole – surveying tool to measure accurate depth while digging.
    • (1) - 4" Sch. 40 PVC pipe – input pipe from your home, which may require fittings as well.
    • (1) - 4" ASTM D2729 perforated pipe – output pipe to disperse effluence into draining field.
    • (1) - 4"ASTM D3034 pipe with appropriate fittings
    • (1) - 4" Sch. 40 vent caps and test caps – to disperse the buildup of gas from the decay of waste in the septic tank.
    • PVC primer and PVC glue – to seal and fasten PVC pipes together
    • Saw – a manual hand saw, or an electric hand saw to cut PVC pipe to necessary length.
    • Hammer drill with bits – this drill is needed if you have to drill through the wall of your house to install the septic system.
    • Hydraulic cement – this cement is used to seal between the PVC pipe and the wall of your house if you drill through it.
    • 1 ½ inch washed stone – to be placed below your septic system to ensure correct drainage.
    • Tape measures – you will need at least 100 feet of tape so it may be helpful to have a small and large tape measure on hand.
    • Septic fabric – You will need a roll cut about 3 feet long
    • Plastic Septic tank and risers – be sure that plastic septic tanks are allowed by your local regulations.
    • Silicone caulk – used to seal the risers
    • Septic filter – if it is required. See local plumbing regulations.
    • Plastic distribution box – used if you are operating a system with multiple laterals to the draining field.

    Step 4: Install Intake Pipe

    Locate the side of your home or building from which you want the septic tank to intake wastewater. At that place, you need to dig down at least 2 feet and either make a hole in the wall or dig deeper underneath the footing of the house or building. If you have a gravity fed system, plan the flow to go downhill since gravity fed systems do not use mechanical methods to move the waste from the tank to the drain field. It is important to realize the downhill slope needs to continue for a distance because the building or home plumbing can get the wastewater into the plastic septic tank, but it will not get it out of the tank and into the draining field.

    Next, put the 4 inch Sch. 40 vent caps about a foot through the wall or under the footing and at least five feet outside the building or home, going toward the tank. It needs to be level at the wall and slope down about 1/8th inch per foot toward the plastic septic tank. You can take it all the way to into the tank if it is required, or you can then switch to 4-inch 3034. If you switch pipes, make sure you use the correct adapter as you attach it to the plastic septic tank.

    Make sure you attach a test cap on the pipe end that comes out of the building. If you chose to drill through the wall, you need to seal around that hole with hydraulic cement, both on the inside of the building and the outside as well. It is important to keep the pitch of your input pipe right at a 1/8th inch per foot and no steeper and right around 5 feet out from the house. If the pitch is too steep, the wastewater will run too fast, and the solids will get stuck in the pipe. You may also have too little room left to sufficiently get the effluent into the draining field.

    Step 5: Install Plastic Septic Tank

    Dig a large hole that can fit your plastic septic tank below the ground. Use your laser transit to locate the top of the intake pipe and measure the distance from the top of the intake pipe to the bottom of the tank. Add that number plus 1 ½ inches to the measurement you got from your laser transit to your grade pole, and that should give you the depth that you need. Finish digging until you get to that depth.

    Next, you need to dig out your draining field (or leach field) according to the specifications of your survey results and local regulations. Be sure that you keep enough slope to maintain an outward flow from your plastic septic tank installation to your draining field.

    Step 6: Install Draining Field

    Most places will require a 1 ½ inch layer of washed drain rock around the pipe to keep it steady while it moves substance. Your local health requirements will determine the size of gravel and the depth of this layer. When installing the perforated pipe in a gravity septic system drain field, remember that it has no slope on either end and is capped on its ends.

    Step 7: Inspection and Filling In

    Once you get the approval of your local health inspector, it is time to cover it all with soil. The drainage area will likely require a special fabric that acts as a filter, untreated building paper, or four inches of straw to cover your washed drain rock before you cover it over with soil.

    Bonus for Pump Plastic Septic Tank Installations:

    If you have a pumped plastic septic tank installation, there will only be a few differences in your process. Before you connect your plastic septic tank to your draining field, you will need to install a pump chamber. The pump chamber is set it up very similarly to the septic tank itself, but the electrical aspect of the pump will require a licensed electrician to make sure you are up to code for state regulations. Regions that have high groundwater may have an empty pump chamber most of the time, and some may require extra weight added to the floatation device that turns the pump on and off.

    If you do the necessary research and tests on your property, submit your applications and designs for approval, and follow these steps, you should have no problem with your plastic septic tank installation. Do not start digging until you get your permits and ask for help from local septic experts at the first sign of trouble, not after you put everything together, fill it in, and find signs of leaking sewage when you first turn it on. If much of this tutorial sounded foreign to you, there’s no shame in asking for help! Reaching out to the experts early in the process will save you a lot of time, money, and the frustration of fixing an improperly installed septic system.

    7 Steps to a new plastic septic tank system infographic
  • Sizing Your Water Storage Tank

    Sizing Your Water Storage Tank - Go To Tanks

    There are over 5,000 water storage tanks sizes available for purchase today. That many options can provide quite a few opportunities to find the perfect fit for your water storage needs at home and in your business. However, it also offers just as many possibilities for you to find yourself mismatched with a water storage tank that does not adequately meet your needs. In worst-case scenarios, they may hinder you from living and working successfully. How can you work your way through the vast amount of options and find the water storage tanks sizes that are just right for you?

    3 Questions to Ask When Searching for the Right Size Water Tank

    Is water transportation crucial for you?

    If your answer is yes…

    There are many uses for transporting water from one place to another. One of the newer methods of saving up emergency drinking water is through small “blocks” of water that are not much bigger than milk jugs, but their plastic does not leak toxins into the water, and they are stackable. This is an inexpensive method of storing drinking water, and you can take the blocks out one at a time and use the water as needed. Another need for transporting water is to provide outdoor workers with water on a job site. Buying bottled water can become expensive compared to a large mobile tank. Many of these tanks can even be installed on trucks, making them easier to take from one job site to another. These larger portable water storage tanks sizes are also an excellent investment for those who own RVs because it allows them access to water when they are on the road and in between utility hookups.

    Additionally, portable water storage tanks are helpful for professionals who use water in their jobs. Pressure washers and other exterior cleaners, farmers, and others may need quick access to large amounts of water. Vehicle-based storage tanks are an essential asset to the workers in those fields and industries.

    If your answer is no…

     Most customers looking for water storage tanks prefer something that will be more or less permanent once it is installed. The limit to how big permanent water storage tanks sizes can be is based on your available space more than manufacturer ability. One of the most common types of the permanent water tanks is underground tanks. These are often used for septic removal but can also be used to store extra water. Some of the largest of these tanks hold 40,000 gallons of water when filled. Yet they can also be made small enough to fit behind a door in a bathroom.

    If you are seeking a permanent water storage tank, it is essential to know the primary purpose it will serve. How often will you need to access this water? When you do access the water, how much will you be taking out each time? In general, the more often you need to obtain water, and the more water you take from it, the bigger it will need to be. Emergency drinking water storage tanks are usually much smaller than water storage tanks used to provide water for cleaning, or water for septic uses… things which are used on a daily basis. Determine how much water you need to use from your water storage tank and then at least double that amount, so you do not run out of the water by having guests over to your home or business. That will give you a good starting place for selecting water storage tanks sizes.

    Are you planning to grow?

    If your answer is yes…

    Plan accordingly. If you are starting with small, portable water tanks, it is easy to add more as the need arises. However, if you install a permanent water storage tank and find that you need to double the amount of water stored by the end of the year, you may have wasted a lot of money installing a model too small for your needs. This can be detrimental to a business, because in most cases if a business does not plan to grow, it will not grow. In fact, if a company does not plan to grow, it usually dies. Plan ahead and plan accordingly. Set your goals for the next year and the next five years and make sure you purchase water storage tanks sizes that will help you achieve those goals, not hold you back from them.

    This growth plan does not only apply to businesses. Young families starting out will only need enough water for two or perhaps three people. If they grow and begin to raise multiple children though, the water needs can quickly double in just a few years. If you know the water need will be growing, be sure to look into water storage tanks sizes that will fit your need for that near future.

    If your answer is no…

    The same concept applies. Determine how much water you will need on a daily basis and double that amount to a minimum size. On average, a person uses a gallon of water every day for drinking as well as hygienic purposes. If you take longer showers than you need to factor that in as well. It is better to be overprepared than to run out of water when you need it the most.

    What are your long-term goals?

    Save money.

    If your goal in purchasing a water tank is to save money, you need to weigh out the cost-benefit ratio of installing and maintaining a larger tank versus a smaller tank that will save you less. There may be costs attached to filling these tanks as well, whether you are transporting water in or setting up a system to gather rainwater. Generally, the upfront cost is higher but the larger the tank, the more you save over time, so if you have the money to invest in it, a larger option will pay itself off in savings faster than a smaller tank.


    If your goal is self-sufficiency, you will need to take all of your home needs and how you will use the water. It is important to store drinking water separate from cleaning water. Drinking water needs to be purified and treated while cleaning water does not require that additional work and expense. Purifying all your water will not do you any harm, but it will be a waste of money. If your goal is self-sufficiency, you will probably need to look at getting at least two separate tanks.

    Again, the water storage tanks sizes should be determined by the frequency of access you will need and the amount of water you will be taking each time. Drinking water usually goes slower than cleaning water, but that could vary from household to household. Determine your needs, double that, and choose a size that allows for future growth and fits your budget.

    Agriculture/Gardening for Hobby and for Profit

    One of the largest groups of people that use water storage tanks on a regular basis is those in the agricultural industry. Today, we have megafarms that span across the Midwest and in the south near the coasts. These farms cannot always rely on rain to water their fields, so they store up vast amounts of water in both portable and underground water tanks. If you have a megafarm, you probably already have many water storage tanks sizes, and you probably use them all, all the time.

    There are a growing number of gardening hobbyists though, especially those in more urban areas that are doing indoor gardening. These gardeners also need water storage tanks, but they typically get smaller sizes that can fit inside the homes. Most outdoor gardeners who are only hobbyists will not use large water storage tanks sizes unless they live in an area with very little rainfall and need it for irrigation. Usually, that is more expensive than a gardening hobbyist is willing to pay.

    The benefit of using water storage tanks in all of these agricultural situations, both for-profit and as a hobby, is that the tanks allow you to add extra nutrients into the water. This means the water the plants receive from the tanks can actually be healthier for them than rainwater. If you are interested in growing plants and enjoying their fruits, vegetables, and flowers, you should look into water storage tanks sizes that will allow you to water enough of your plants without needing to be refilled but is small enough to fit in your home or on your property outdoors.

    The options are endless. It is easy to get lost as you dream about the possibilities of saving money, conserving resources, or perhaps having water set aside for your professional or personal hobby needs. Be sure to decide what your intentions are with water storage before you set about to make a purchase. Determining if you need to transport water, whether your need will grow, and what the goals of that water are will help you make a wise investment in the size of your water storage tank.

    Sizing Your Water Storage Tank - Infographic
  • Which Water Storage Tank Accessories Do You Need?

    Water Storage Tank Accessories

    Any salesperson worth their salt will try to upsell you with accessories to the products they are pushing. You might think, “What kind of accessories can you possibly get for a water tank?” However, many options can be added on to a simple container built to hold water, and sometimes they are not automatically added into the initial purchase. How can you be sure you have everything you need without coming home with a lot of extras that you will never use?

    The first thing you need to do is answer this question:

    What is the primary function of your storage tank?

    This answer may be different for everyone. Some people buy water tanks to keep emergency drinking water available. Others buy them to help save money on water for household chores. Some use smaller, portable tanks for pressure washing (personally and professionally). A growing number of people are using water storage tanks as reservoirs for watering indoor and outdoor gardens. Which of these purposes fits your need the closest?

    Emergency Drinking Water

    One of the most common uses of home water storage tanks is emergency drinking water tanks. While it is technically possible to refill water bottles or milk jugs, these soft plastics will leach toxic chemicals into the water over time. (If you ever wondered how bottled water could have an expiration date… now you know.) For these tanks, it is vital that they are made of non-leaching plastics and that they are U/V resistant, because light, especially sunlight, causes the leaching process to begin even faster than normal degradation.

    What other kinds of accessories should you look at when buying a water storage tank for emergency drinking water? The first accessory you will need is an emergency drinking water supply test kit. You can purchase these for under $20. One of these kits tests for bacteria ( including E,coli), pesticides, nitrates, nitrites, lead, chlorine, pH, and hardness. These tests are set all to EPA sensitivity standards, and they provide you with contact information if your water is outside those safety limits. These tests are not reusable, but you only need to test once per year unless there are exceptional circumstances that give you cause for concern.

    The second thing you will need is emergency drinking water tablets. Each tablet can 1 liter (quart) of water. They require up to four hours in an area away from sunlight to purify your water from any contaminants, making it suitable for drinking.  They are effective against many viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms when you use them by their simple directions. If you have a larger tank or have a continual supply of outside water filling your tank, you may want to purchase these purification tablets in bulk.

    If you have a standalone tank that you merely fill by hand as emergency water storage, then you will want to look at water storage tank lids. This will keep out any “uninvited guests” such as insects or small animals from going for a drink or swim. You may also want to invest in a water tank with a valve and nozzle at the bottom for easy access when you need the water.

    If your tank is opaque, you may want a water storage tank level indicator to help you know how full the tank is and when it needs to be refilled. These are especially helpful with larger tanks than you cannot directly look in the top and see the water level for yourself.

    Water for Household Chores

    Water storage tanks used to hold water for household chores share some similarities to emergency drinking water tanks. They are often more substantial, and they need to be refilled more often than emergency drinking water tanks unless you are only using them for emergencies. This means, they typically require a bit more plumbing accessories.

    If you are collecting rainwater for these tanks, you will need some plumbing that gets the water from your gutters (or wherever you are receiving it) to your tank. There are special gutter accessories built just for this purpose, and you can use any type of water pipe to transport the water from your roof to your tank, provided it is something that will not freeze and crack in the colder months. This is one of those situations where the initial setup cost will be expensive, but you will be able to rest assured that you will almost always have water available on hand without having to pay for public water for your household cleaning needs.

    For household, non-drinking water purposes, you may not need a lid for your tank (if your tank even has an open top) so much as you will require a water storage tank with a float valve. This float valve will prevent your tank from overfilling, in the case of a monsoon. Heavy rains may give you enough concern for flooding basements. You do not want to deal with a leaking water tank at the same time. Similarly, a float valve could be used to shut off the access to the water if the tank is getting too low to help keep your appliances like washing machines from running dry. A water storage tank level indicator would also be helpful for a water tank used for household chores.

    Additionally, you will need to look at water storage tanks with pumps so that this water can be transported out of the tank and into your sinks, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers as you desire.

    Pressure Washing

    Pressure washing may not sound like a job for a water storage tank, but if you have enough area that needs to be washed, an appropriately sized tank can make a big difference. These are especially useful for professional outdoor cleaners and those, like farmers, who have lots of dirt on large buildings. Some of the better tanks for these situations are large mobile tanks that can be fitted to trucks, allowing you to maneuver around to reach the places that need cleaning the most. These tanks are specially made and will probably come with all the necessary accessories either in the total package or as immediate suggestions by the retailer/manufacturer.

    Irrigation for Gardening

    A growing number of people are using water storage tanks to irrigate their gardens. From hobbyists to professionals, outdoor gardening is always a risk when you only rely on rain to water your plants. Some weeks the rain comes, and some weeks it does not. It is often predictable (although not always), but it is never controllable. To compensate for the days without rain, many gardeners invest in large water storage tanks that they use to water their gardens during dry spells.

    Two main types of gardens use water tanks for irrigation: Indoor and Outdoor Gardens.

    Indoor gardens require unique lamps to simulate sunlight and help plants grow. These lights often put out significant heat that can dry out your plants, so keeping them watered regularly is an absolute necessity. Indoor gardeners usually add nutrients to the water they give their plants, so water storage tank lids are helpful to provide them with access to adding and testing the levels of those nutrients in the water. The also often use water storage tank pumps and a water storage tank level indicator, connected to an electric timer, to water their plants automatically on a regular basis. Depending on the type of indoor garden, having these accessories may be an absolute necessity for the survival of the plants.

    Outdoor gardeners use water storage tanks for irrigation as well, and some professional gardeners may even have a similar setup with water storage tank pumps and a water storage tank level indicator, just like indoor gardeners. Most outdoor gardening hobbyists, however, will use a simpler system, much more like an emergency drinking water tank without purification tablets and with water storage tank pumps to let the water out when the plants have gone without rain.

    Supplying water for both water storage tanks for irrigation may require plumbing from the gutters, just like the water tanks used for household chores. This will ensure a consistent supply of water to be collected to water your garden. A water storage tank with float valve may be an excellent idea for this task as well.

    The world of water tank storage is growing with advances in technology as well as the economic, environmental, and recreational needs of all people. As people find they are less able to trust in public services, especially during times of emergency, there is a growing desire for self-sufficiency. Some people even take this to the extreme and become “survivalists.” The majority of people are just looking to create a smaller dent in the natural resources around them and their own personal financial resources. Whether you are preparing for emergencies, trying to conserve resources, pursuing a hobby, or just looking to save a little money on your water bill, there are a water storage tank and all the necessary accessories for you.

    Water Storage Tank Accessories Infographics





  • Top 7 Reasons to Have a Home Water Storage Tank

    7 Reasons Home Water Storage TankMany people live their lives assuming that if you pay your bills, water will flow out from the tap each and every time you turn it on. Everywhere you go, tap water is free, and you can find water fountains in many public areas. We fill swimming pools with it and send our kids to water parks that use gallons and gallons of water every hour. Whenever we start to think about how much water we are using, we are reminded that three-fourths of our entire planet is just water, so what’s the big deal?

    Then one day, a drought hits your region.

    Despite decades of financial success, some experts believe that many of our favorite desert cities, such as Las Vegas, may become ghost towns in the next 10 years. Why? They cannot bring in enough fresh water. Nevada must compete with the farms of California for water supply, and most of the time, the farms win, because they grow the vegetables that feed the rest of the nation.

    Then comes the flood.

    In many cases, it is actually too much water that can contaminate and ruin the water supply. Hurricanes, for example, back up sewers, contaminate drinking water, and leave the area’s people without the ability to clean or drink. The two most urgent needs when hurricanes hit are 1. Bottles of drinking water, and 2. Cleaning kits.

    Then one day, the water treatment system breaks down.

    The lives of people of Flint, Michigan were transformed forever when their water supply became contaminated, and they were no longer able to use the tap water anymore. Some of them volunteered with hurricane cleanup for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other storms. They wondered why people would live so close to the coast, where hurricanes were a common occurrence. They never dreamed they would be stuck in the same water shortage situation, way up in the northern Midwest. It happened anyway, showing us that no one is safe.

    All of us face the possibility of water shortage. How can water storage tanks for homes help us prepare, withstand, and thrive, even in water shortage situations?

    1. Save money on bills

    Whether rain or shine, we all use about a gallon of water each day. Half of that we drink and the other half we use for cleaning ourselves, our clothes, our dishes, and other needs. If you are on public water, you pay for every bit of that each day. If you have well water, you diminish your well supply by at least that much each day. What if you could cut that water bill amount in half?

    If you live in an area with average rainfall, you could set up rain collection containers to filter fresh, clean, rainwater into a storage tank to use for cleaning and hygiene purposes each day. That would account for each person’s half a gallon, leaving you with only half the amount you would need to purchase from the public water supply. Be sure to check your local water collection laws before implementing this practice.

    2. You can choose from different sizes

    In years past, the only sizes you could choose for water storage tanks residential were rain barrels and large bulky tanks. Today there are over 5,000 sizes of water storage tanks for homes. For those with limited property space, there are underground tank options that may work well. With 5,000 options for tank size, you can bet that several possibilities will fit your price range and still be able to service your household size.

    There are many options of sizes, types, and uses. Plastic water tanks alone come in above and underground varieties (although you need to check to be sure your underground tank can withstand the pressure of being buried in the specific soil conditions of your property). They come in cone-shaped, horizontal, horizontal with legs, vertical, indoor, outdoor, regular use, emergency use, individually purposed for things such as pressure-washing, mobile, truck-mounted, and many other kinds as well. If you have a unique need for a tank, there is probably a plastic model tank that is made for you.

    Metal tanks are a bit more limited in size and scope, but if you need something durable to hold water for long periods of time many metal tanks can be accommodated to fit your needs. Additionally, these metal tanks work much better as underground tanks, which save space on your property.

    3. No worries about restrictions and rationing

    Rather than being a victim of climate change that leads to water shortage, and dealing with government-imposed restrictions, water storage tanks for homes helps you to maintain your standard of living while using less water. Collecting water will give you plenty to use for daily hygiene use, and you may even have extra to work with or to give away to those in need who do not have their own water storage tanks for homes.

    4. Save water on household chores

    Most of your household chores do not require treated drinking water and actually flush the water very quickly out of your household. Washing clothes, dishes, and even ourselves takes up about half of the water we use each day. Conserving water for these tasks by using collected water in a water storage tank for homes would allow you to save money, save your own water resources, and help conserve water and protect the environment.

    5. Save the Environment

    Whether you have experienced water-shortage or not, clean water is one of our fast-depleting natural resources. Everyone must find ways to conserve water. We can help conserve water by checking for leaks, replacing our older appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, and of course, installing a water tank for your home. These are all ways that together allow us to create the minimum amount of impact on our environment.

    6. Emergency Drinking Water

    Most of these ideas involve non-potable water collected in water storage tanks for homes. However, that is not the only option -- many types of plastic tanks are perfectly safe for storing drinking water. A water bottle is a form of a plastic storage unit for water, and it is sold for the purpose of drinking. The key is knowing what kind of condition the water is in before it enters the tank, protecting the contents of the tank, and controlling the output state of the water in the tank.

    Some people, out of the desire to spend the least amount of money possible, choose to reuse water bottles and milk jugs (cleaned out) to store water for emergencies. While this is a valid short-term solution, it can cause problems if they are kept too long. Softer plastic bottles leach chemicals over time, even faster if they are exposed to heat or sunlight.

    A better solution is to use water storage tanks for your home. These specialty tanks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes so you can find one to fit your specific needs. The best ones are designed to hold water without any risk of chemical contamination.

    They are also easy to refill, and you can even rig these water storage tanks to collect and filter rainwater to automatically replenish your supply.

    In any widespread disaster, the first public resources shut down are water and grid power. We can survive without electricity, but we cannot survive for very long without water. That means it is a perfect idea to start storing water in your home. It is your most important survival resource. So make sure you are doing it, and make sure you are doing it right because it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. There are simple mistakes you need to avoid.

    You cannot collect rain off your roof in old milk jugs, cap them off, and put them away for long stretches of time. Those containers will not be safe to drink when you need them the most. As mentioned above, the plastic leaches chemicals over time, and those chemicals will make the water toxic.Special drinking water tanks are made so that they do not leach chemicals and have U/V protection. One of these tanks, coupled with the addition of a water filter, can create an easy solution to your emergency drinking water needs.

    7. Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Systems

    During times of emergency, along with water shortages, we also can face food shortages. One way many people choose to save money, alleviate food shortages, take up a new hobby, and often give back to their neighborhood is by growing gardens. In rural areas, these are usually large outdoor plots, and there is almost always more vegetables grown than the owner can eat. The extra produce is often sold or given away to those who need extra food but cannot afford it.

    If you live in an urban area, there are still gardening opportunities available to you as well. Many people have indoor gardens, fitted with special grow lights that simulate the sunlight for the plants. These indoor gardens can be harvested all year long, not just once a year.

    Both of these garden types require water, and when droughts hit, the rainfall is not enough for the plants to survive. Keeping a residential water storage tank is a great way to keep your plants healthy and growing. Furthermore, if you connect your tank to a pump and a timer, it can take care of watering your plants for you, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.

    As you can see above, there are many uses for water storage tanks for homes. Whether you want to save money on bills, help protect the environment, or just take up a new hobby, home water storage tanks are a great thing for every family to invest in.

    Top Reasons to Have a Home Water Storage Tank
  • Above Ground vs. Underground: Where Should Your Water Storage Tank Be Positioned?

    Above Ground or Below Ground Water Storage Tank

    People are moving in and out of the cities every day, and there is a growing need for storing even basic things like water. Whether you are looking for septic solutions, drinking water ideas, irrigation needs, or a large reservoir for some indoor gardening, a water storage tank is probably part of the system you will need.

    Once you’ve decided that you need a water storage tank, the next problem becomes where to put it. Should you place your water storage tank above ground, where it will be easy to access? Or should you put your water storage tank underground, where it may be less conspicuous?

    Keeping your water storage tank underground

    Underground storage tanks are categorized as a tank and its connecting underground piping which holds at least one-tenth of its total volume beneath the ground. Underground storage tanks are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to save space and maximize their property use. They save space because they are underground. You can even install these tanks under lawns and driveways, which frees up additional land for more productive uses.

    Underground storage tanks are also suitable for people who want to reduce the risk of damage from vandalism. This may not be a big concern in your neighborhood, but not all damage has to be on purpose -- an above-ground water tank could be damaged from something as random as a car crashing into it.

    Another important consideration is that they generally corrode and deteriorate much slower, particularly if you are using a metal tank. This is important especially if your water tank will be hooked up to an auto-fill system, as any leaks that develop could easily go undetected for weeks until your next water bill comes in, and by then you’re on the hook for hundreds of gallons that you didn’t use!

    Water storage tanks underground are also an excellent choice for those who want to store vast amounts of water, as a very large water tank can be difficult to find a good spot for above ground. They are protected from vandalism and theft and face a low risk of damage due to extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. The most significant benefit is that water storage tanks underground do all this without visually impacting your landscape.

    Keeping your water storage tanks above ground

    The popularity of water storage tanks above ground is on the rise. The increase in above ground demand is primarily due to their lower initial costs. They require significantly less digging, filling, and paving than storage tanks underground, so they are much easier and less expensive to install. You may need a truck to bring it in, but you will not need a backhoe to get it set in its place.

    Water storage tanks above ground can quickly be checked for leaks visually and are usually easier to access if repairs are required. Because of this, you are much less likely to end up paying for gallons upon gallons of water leaking out into the surrounding soil.

    However, you will need to check with your local regulations and fire codes because they will determine whether you are eligible for a water storage tank above ground. This decision is based on factors such as how much distance is required between tanks, between property lines, what the fire resistance level is on your property, and the water tank’s maximum capacity.

    To qualify for a water storage tank above ground, you need to answer yes to all of the following questions:

    • Is a water storage tank above ground allowed per zoning regulations? Some neighborhoods have particular visual restrictions to property modifications. A large tank in the middle of the property may stick out and cause concern for reduced property values in the neighborhood. If such an ordinance exists, you may need to see if a variance could be granted.
    • Do you own enough land to fit your tanks?
    • Are you be able to meet all regulations regarding the environmental protection and secondary containment of material your tank will be holding? When you will just be storing water, this is rarely a concern.
    • In case of the breakdown of your tank, will you be able to implement spill control or turn off the water source?
    • Do you have any thoughts about preventing vandalism and theft of your tank?
    • Is your design the most efficient method of storage and transfer for the water it holds?

    If you are unable to answer yes confidently to all of these questions, then an underground model of water storage tank may better suit your needs and requirements instead of a water storage tank above ground.

    Poly and Steel water tanks above and underground

    Another significant factor to consider when choosing the location of your water storage tank is its construction material. If you are storing water, your tank can safely be made of metal or plastic.

    Plastic (or Poly) tanks can be a little less expensive and lighter to install, but they are not built to be fully submerged underground. The pressure around buried poly water storage tanks underground causes them to crack, fracture, and leak. These fractures lead to the costs of digging them up and repairing, or more likely, replacing them.

    Metal tanks, by comparison, hold up much better as underground water storage tanks. They are built to manage the underground pressure. However, metal water storage tanks underground have two main weaknesses.

    The first is in their seals and connections with other pipes. As temperature fluctuates, different kinds of metals change size and shape at different rates. This variance in fluctuation means if you have a steel tank with copper pipes and brass fittings, these pieces will twist apart during times of changing temperatures. Fortunately, the temperature fluctuates less below ground, but it can still cause problems.

    The second weakness is their susceptibility to rust and corrosion. Plastic does not rust, but metal can and does. Water storage tanks underground typically suffer significantly less rust and corrosion since they are protected from wind and rain exposure, as well as other environmental effects, but they still may get wet from rainwater seeping down into the ground around them. Paving the field above and around your metal water storage tanks underground may be a good way around this weakness. However, it will also prevent you from being able to access your tank if an internal problem occurs.

    Somewhere in between?

    If you are interested in a poly water storage tank and prefer it to be underground, there may be a compromise for you. You cannot just bury your poly water storage tank underground, but these tanks can be buried partially.

    If you are interested in a partially buried poly tank, you will need to seek out an engineer who can evaluate your soil type, desired depth, and any other circumstances affecting the desired location of your tank. They can help you make sure that the foundation of your water storage tank is not eroded and is adequately supported. Without this help, the ground could erode unevenly and cause your tank to lean, fracture, and crack, spilling out all of its water.

    You can usually bury a poly water storage tank underground up to 1 meter. You will need to dig your hole at least 12 inches wider than the diameter of your tank and prepare the standard foundations for them. Be sure the ground is compacted well and is level, so you have a flat base for your tank. Once you place the tank in the center of the base, you can fill your tank with water and fill in the surrounding area with compacted crusher dust and cement (3 parts to 1 part). Do it slowly, no more than 10cm at a time. When completed, you may want to put a fence around the tank to help protect it from outside interference.

    Wherever you decide to place your water storage tank, you need to be sure to do some research, get some expert advice, and do it right the first time, so you don’t waste your time and money. These projects are not quick fixes and require proper maintenance, even if you have a water storage tank underground and out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind, only leads to complicated problems down the line.

    Don’t know where to find the information and help you need? Your local water tank retailer and manufacturer would be a great place to start. They will know the strengths of their products. They will also recognize the local regulations regarding water storage tank installation. Also, it is likely that they will have experience adapting their products to a variety of property settings, and they will give you an honest answer about what will and will not work; after all, the success of your water storage tank is one of their primary means of advertising to the rest of the community. Any information they do not have on hand, they will likely have access to through their business networks. Speak with the professionals at GoToTanks.com to get their expert opinion on what type of tank and whether you should have your water storage tank above ground or underground today.




  • How to Choose the Best Water Trough for Cattle


    Choosing a water trough may not be very high on the list of priorities for those raising cattle, but choosing the right water trough for cattle can make a big difference. Water from poorly built or poorly maintained troughs can cause illness in livestock, costing you money over time in vet bills and lost profits. Good water troughs not only give you peace of mind about the health of your livestock, but are also hardy and durable, so you do not needlessly waste your financial resources repairing or replacing your cattle's water trough.

    So, what criteria should you consider when purchasing a water trough for cattle?

    Find the Right Size

    First you should consider the size of trough you need. This is not necessarily an easy task. As you plan out the dimensions of the trough you should get, you should consider the number of animals you currently have, as well as any planned growth. Don't settle for the number you have at present, or you will not be able to grow your herd. Instead, plan out where you hope to be in the next ten years and go with that number.

    The smallest size you can get for a cattle trough is usually around 140 gallons. Many cattle farmers choose 500-gallon water troughs in order to provide their animals with constant access to clean water without the need for constant refilling.

    Which Shape Fits Your Needs?

    Shape is also an important consideration. Many troughs need a framework because they cannot hold up on their own. If your water trough for cattle has any straight sides or flat walls, such as rectangular or square tanks, it will bow outward. The answer to this is to build an external frame to prevent failure. Any straight-walled trough filled over 18'' needs an external frame to prevent failure. Once bowing has occurred it is difficult to remedy, so it is important to have your framework set up before you fill your tanks.

    However, Cylindrical or Round stock tanks will not bow. Their structure is self supporting. As long as you do not have your trough backed up near a wall and can get a size big enough to fit your herd, it may be advantageous to get a round or oval stock tank to save you the cost of building a framework.

    Materials Matter

    Invest in a trough that’s durable and fit for the intended purpose. Cattle are not fast moving creatures in general, but they can pack quite a push, especially when congregating together for a much needed hydration break. You don't want one accidental shove to crack your tank, ruining the water for all. Choosing the material for your water trough for cattle is essential in determining how tough your trough will be. Here are some highlights of different materials:


    Metal water troughs for cattle are fairly durable in that they are unlikely to crack their frames. However, joints can be bent, and pipes can be misaligned, causing plumbing issues and water leakage. Probably the most common failure in a metal water trough would be the cracking of the inside plastic liner, which protects the water from leaching unhealthy minerals from the tank.


    Concrete tanks are probably the most durable. Once they are poured, it is unlikely that they will be moved by anything or anyone. That strength is their downside as well though, because they require on-site maintenance rather than having any ability to be moved for cleaning, and because they must be formed and poured, their installation is quite expensive.


    Fiberglass tanks are light and easy to install, but they are perhaps the most prone to crack from to any abuse by livestock or handlers. They also require a special coating to be considered food grade, to ensure the safety of your cattle.


    Plastic water troughs for cattle are the most versatile. They suffer some vulnerability to cracks under abuse, but they can be made with UV resistant material which will prevent them from becoming brittle after spending many days in the open sunlight. They are also the most likely to "bounce back" after a hit rather than crack or dent like the other materials.


    Safety First

    When it comes to water troughs for cattle, there are two kinds of safety you should consider.

    The first is the physical safety of the trough. For fiberglass troughs, this is perhaps the one area they are the weakest in performing. They are susceptible to cracking if cattle hit them hard enough, which is sure to happen, as cows aren't always the most graceful creatures. Those cracks can cause sharp edges that can injure your cattle if not dealt with quickly. They also can develop cracks if there is a sudden drop below freezing temperatures. For this purpose, concrete or plastic troughs are superior.

    However, there is a second kind of safety to consider as well: water purity. Metal troughs will leach zinc into the water, because rainwater is slightly acidic by nature. Any copper piping can leach copper into the water as well, which can have even more harmful effects on your cattle than zinc. Concrete water troughs for cattle will leach lime into the water supply, which will take away the acidity of the water. Only plastic water troughs for cattle can be engineered to be food-grade material and eliminate the concern for leaching unhealthy minerals into the water.

    If you have copper pipes that fill your trough, there is no need to panic. There are two ways you can help prevent copper from leaching into your troughs from pipes. The first is to get a filter and attach it to the tap. This will catch those unhealthy minerals before they reach your drinking water. Another, simpler method is to flush the water out of the pipes that you use it to fill the trough for the first few seconds. Even if your tap goes directly into the trough, you can easily remedy this by attaching a small hose to the tap and redirecting the first few seconds of water before using it in the trough.

    Supply Systems & Regulations

    Now it is time to think about how you will get water into your trough. What kind of weather situations will you face? Are there certain seasons you will need to make accommodations for freezing temperatures? Just because you have a trough that may be resistant to freezing and cracking itself does not mean your water and your water pipes may not freeze, thus preventing your cattle from getting the water they need.

    You may also need to do some research on what type of regulations your farm needs to adhere to. This helps you in two ways. First, it keeps you from being fined for not following local regulations. Another reason to look into regulations is to have more opportunities to receive grants. There is money to out there and people who are willing to invest in you, but you will need to be sure you are operating according to their standards and regulations. You will only be able to do that if you find out what those regulations are.

    For example, some professional trough installers work to create air gaps to comply with regulations for backflow. Some of these same tanks are also approved for farm development grant schemes. If you would like to find out more about this, check with your local professional trough installers. They can be a great source of information on grant possibilities as well as general recommendations for purchasing and installing your water trough for cattle.

    Green solutions

    Along with regional regulations, most of which are used to help protect your cattle and the surrounding environment, you may be looking for eco-friendly possibilities in water troughs. Plastic water troughs are by far the most eco-friendly solution because they can be completely recycled and/or reused. Concrete troughs are not meant to be moved, let alone recycled. Metal and fiberglass troughs are more difficult to either re-use or recycle because they have special coatings and inner linings that need to be replaced over time.

    However, plastic water troughs for cattle can simply be melted down and re-engineered into any shape, size, or color, and they will already be made of food grade material. In fact, when you purchase a new plastic water trough, chances are good that it is made of recycled materials. If being environmentally friendly is important to you or your farm, plastic water troughs are the way to go.

    As you can see, you have many options available to you when purchasing and installing a water trough for cattle. Following these guidelines will ensure that you're able to find a trough that will meet your needs for the size of your herd as well as your specific circumstances regarding climate, budget, and supply systems. If you have more questions, reach out to the experts at GoToTanks for more information about how plastic water troughs can be a great fit for your livestock's watering needs.

  • How to Use Your Water Trough for Gardening

    Everyone loves Disney World. Whether it is the classic rides like Space Mountain or the newer Star Wars attractions at Hollywood Studios, there is something for everyone. One of the greatest attractions is actually one of the lesser known rides at Epcot called Living with the Land. It because it takes you behind the scenes of the whole park and shows you how they grow the food they serve across all four parks.

    Good land is at a premium price in Orlando, Florida and much of it is very swampy. In order to save money on importing food, the operators of Disney World decided to build tanks and irrigation systems to grow their own food in greenhouses. They have elaborate setups, some which include fish farm aquariums that irrigate and fertilize fruit and vegetable crops above them, all within the same large tank. It is a stroke of brilliance that allows the natural cycles of nature to help promote growth in their man-made agriculture economy.

    The great news is that with the right tools, you can do this too! You don't need a gigantic tank or miles of PVC pipes. All you need a water trough to get started with some really creative gardening.

    Creative Containers

    How can you use a water trough for gardening? The concept is really the same as what Disney has been doing for years. Instead of thinking of the water trough as a big bowl or pan of water, think of it as a miniature ecosystem. In this ecosystem you will need soil, water, access to sunlight (or an electronic equivalent), and seeds or small plants.

    What kind of plants can you grow in a water trough for gardening? One of the easiest things would be to create a raised flower bed. Any small flower (other than bushes or vines) will probably work in any size trough. You can plant as many as you want, in any design you choose, supply them with nutrient-enriched soil, and watch them grow. If your trough has a hole to attach a hose you can hook it up to your water supply and have an easy way of watering your flower bed. Even if it is a solid trough, if it is plastic, you could probably drill out a hole to attach a hose for irrigation. You may also want to consider adding additional holes for drainage.

    Another easy water trough idea is growing potatoes. It may not be as attractive as a raised flower bed, but it can provide you and your family some extra food for little cost and far less work than planting potatoes in a traditional garden. Many companies today sell special bags to fill with dirt and grow potatoes in. They are hardier plants and do not require as much constant care as many others. A water trough is easily comparable and probably will provide a larger amount of produce for the work and money you put into it.

    Down at Disney World, they grew all kinds of fruit and vegetables in trough-like environments. You might consider growing tomatoes, peppers, and even watermelons. These vine-like fruits/vegetables require a little bit of extra work in directing their growth and making sure their bigger fruits are adequately supported. Watermelons, for example, could grow outside the trough, fall out, and break upon the ground. However, since watermelons have to be rotated regularly so that they grow into the proper shape and don’t rot on the bottom, growing them in a trough means you can easily make those rotations without having to bend over to the ground.

    The typical garden setup is that the soil is the lowest level, followed by the branches/vines of the plant, and the fruit grows out of the top. If you invert this image though, putting the soil on a raised platform, letting the vines grown down around it, and the fruit to grow down below the trough, you will have something that looks a bit unusual (Looking more like a melon tree!), but you will have easy access to that fruit and not have to worry about it sitting on the ground. This may not work for heavy produce, but for things that grow on vines, like peas, or on large, meandering plants, like tomatoes, it can be a great solution.

    A Water Trough Idea for Weeding

    One of the best reasons to try a water trough for gardening is for simplified weeding. Large community plantations often use rubber tubing or strong plastic to line rows in order to prevent weeds from growing. As the crops begin to sprout, they poke small holes in the covering and pull the leaves through. This way the crops get sunlight, but nothing else trying to grow in the soil does. You can do the same thing even easier with a water trough for gardening. Once your plants start sprouting, simply cover the trough with a dark cloth or perhaps even a plastic garbage bag. You can poke small holes through it and pull the leaves of your plant through. This way it will get all the sunlight it needs.

    If you have an irrigation hole in the side for water, you won't have to worry about watering it from the top. It may look like it could suffocate your plant, but remember plants breathe through their leaves, not their roots. The only things that will be suffocating will be the weeds.

    The other upside to this method of gardening is that you can actually fit more plants in a smaller trough than in the same area of garden because they won't have to compete with weeds for nutrients. Just think, no more pulling weeds and three or four times the harvest as well!

    Supporting your Water Trough for Gardening

    Many troughs will need a framework. They will not hold up on their own. This applies to water troughs for watering animals, and especially water troughs for gardening. Any straight-sided or flat-walled rectangular or square tank will bow outward and will need an external frame for support to prevent failure. Anything that's being filled over 18'' needs an external frame to prevent failure. However, cylindrical or round tanks will not bow - they are self-supporting.

    Luckily, if you’re making a raised garden bed, there’s some great ways to make this work for your yard. Using stones, bricks, or decorative timber as an external frame can support the trough while also creating a lovely look for your yard.

    Good Soil with Regulated Water

    With good soil and regulated water, you can grow anything that will fit in your trough. That is great news for people that live in areas where the the topsoil is little or non-existent. Whether you live in a flat, dry dustbowl or in a rocky, mountainous area, you are more likely to see livestock agriculture than vast fields of crops. It is these same areas where you are likely to see watering troughs being used for livestock. Why not use a few more water troughs for gardening or other water trough ideas?

    You could save your family money on groceries by growing some vegetable produce. If you are ambitious enough, you might be able to start a business growing produce that is foreign to your region. In a temperature-controlled basement with grow lights, you may be able to grow small tropical plants in the dead of winter, which you could sell at a premium in your community while the larger markets may have to import from overseas or simply not have anything available.

    What was that about fish?

    Yes, another water trough idea is growing fish - or at least, giving them a place to live while you enjoy the ambience a water feature adds to your landscaping. In fact, if you build a decorative support around it, no one will know that the basis of your new family attraction is a water trough.

    Like any aquarium, it will require cleaning and maintenance. You will need to ensure that the water is properly oxygenated and clean of too much algae. Some kinds of fish will help eat up algae for you, but there is always more than they can do themselves. You will need to feed your fish regularly and remove any dead fish to prevent their bodies from releasing toxins into the water.

    Most importantly though, you need to choose your fish carefully. If it is an outdoor fish pond, you will need to restock it seasonally and probably empty it during the months that the temperature drops to freezing. You will need to choose fish that can withstand colder temperatures. On the other hand, if your fish pond is in a temperature controlled environment, you have a lot of options to choose from when stocking your fish pond. Decide whether you want to use freshwater or saltwater fish. Do some research to find out which kinds of fish get along well. Don't overstock your pond, but give them the freedom to move about the tank.

    There is no limit to what you can do for water trough ideas. Put your imagination to work and create something wonderful today!

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