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3 tank IBC tote water harvesting design

Posts: 6
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I am not sure if anyone else is building IBC tote water harvesting systems this year, but I made a video of my recently built setup if anyone might be interested. I tried to keep to a very simple parts list that was available at either home depot or menard. The design also had to accommodate the need for high flow since it is dumping into a multi level swale system. I also wanted to build a water can filling faucet by the tanks. If anyone have any interest in building something like this I would be happy to write up the parts list and build plans and post them for all in order to save time on staring into pvc tube boxes.

3 Tank IBC tote water harvesting system

Cold Springs Creek

Posts: 37
Location: USA, West central Florida
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Hi Seth,

Nice setup. It looks like you put considerable time and thought into the design. And thanks for taking the time to film it; I always enjoy being able to see what other people have done, even if they are a world away. I like the use of the rubber connectors, so that everything can be disconnected easily, for maintenance or even re-location, if the need arises.

I have just a couple observations/suggestions...

That screen trap thing would definitely not work for me, in my location. That screen would clog in a heartbeat. All it would take is just one, large leaf sticking to that screen, and then all your water is diverted elsewhere. Not to mention all the small stuff that gets carried along with water and gets stuck in a screen with such small holes, making drainage through the screen much too slow. Not something you want in a heavy storm. I would have to look at some type (take your pick) of automatic first-flush diverter system, with or without, the very simple design of a floating ball valve, and then I wouldn't need to be making sure the screen trap was clean all the time.

Also, I couldn't tell for sure, but it looks like that is the only downspout on this gutter system? You must not get much rain? Or maybe not heavy rains? Only one downspout on such a long gutter (40'?) would be a problem here, I think, with our heavy summer rains. Having your gutter back-up and flood your building because it couldn't drain through the one downspout fast enough (and that's assuming the downspout is not clogged) wouldn't be good. I would be looking at some type of overflow system, probably just another downspout that was at the end of the gutter, and slightly higher than the middle downspout to the tanks. So, then, if the gutters began to fill because they cannot drain out the middle downspout fast enough, they would overflow out the second downspout.

Oh, I just re-watched your clip, and thought of something else I did on my setup, because I also used the rubber connectors. I was afraid the rubber would degrade too quickly in our hot, sunny environment. So, what I came up with was to use a large vegetable/fruit can. I removed the top and the bottom of the can, and then slit the can lengthwise. I was then able to wrap the can around the rubber connector and put the hose clamps on over the can. My thinking was the the can would help protect the rubber from degrading so quickly in the elements.

USA, Florida, Tampa

Posts: 52
Location: north Georgia
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I agree, you have a nice setup.

I am also using totes and they generally have separate inflows from the roof and separate outflows. My overflows are through pipes plumbed into the highest point of the side wall of the tote. I haven't had any leaks but I sacrifice storage capacity. A potential disadvantage of having them all plumbed together is if you have a leak you will lose the contents of all 3 totes.

In one situation, where I have just one downspout, I have the one tote higher up than the other and when it is full, the excess water flows into the lower tote. I need the added height for extra psi for plants watered by that tote. Actually, I have made the setup fairly complicated to satisfy different requirements. If you go to my website ( www.nutrac.info ) and look at the rainwater harvesting tab you can see some of the configurations.
Posts: 37
Location: New Hampshire; USDA Z5
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Thanks for taking the time to share your setup.

I'm wondering about how your overflow works. I'm working on a pair of single-tote designs, and I too do not want to cut holes in the sides. In the video you mentioned that you hadn't yet seen how well the overflow design worked.

Does the rain simply fill that vertical overflow pipe and run out, or did you end up needing to modify the design in some way?
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