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Cistern options: tadelakt, concrete, galvanized, or plastic

 
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I am in a cold climate (Wisconsin) and want to do a cistern that’s cheap, potable, and non-carcinogenic.

I don’t know where to get a stainless steel, large (500-1000 gal) tanks, and i’ll need to retain the dirt for this or galvanized.

How unhealthy is a cement cistern vs a plastic bpa free underground one?

The plastic makes it so easy and cheap, but we aren’t perfectly trusting of the plastic to not leach something creepy into our drinking water.

It’s all very experimental, so i just want to hear if anyone has any experience with these.

I may just go for a plastic underground storage tank, as it’s quick and dependable.
 
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Warning;
- Anything that goes underground has to be much stronger than something sitting on a bed of sand.
- Nothing will be cheap and quick.
- I believe the evidence that plastic water tanks are safe.
- But galvanised steel surface tanks are available.
- Stainless steel would be the most expensive tank material know to mankind.

What is your intended use?
If you have a basement, that would be a good place to install a tank that will not freeze up.
 
pollinator
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We have two cisterns, one is cement and one is some kind of metal. Our water testing didn't show any harmful contaminants. I didn't install them so I don't know the cost. I prefer the cement one, it's larger, about 3500 gallons.

We also have rainwater catchment in above ground plastic. They are not holding up well. I would definitely not get anymore of those.

Our contractor recommends the in-ground plastic but I'm worried that will make gravity feed more difficult.
 
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I was originally concerned about the plastics due to leaching issues, as well. However, I realized they put a plastic liner inside the metal tanks so my thinking was, what's the difference? You're getting plastic regardless.

We're planning on doing above ground plastic tanks even if they aren't the most permanent solution. We're building our whole house right now so we don't have extra money to do the most swanky system. I'm expecting them to last us 20 years at least.
 
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Concrete can also leach 'stuff'.  We have a below-ground concrete cistern in a cold climate (Canada).  We haul treated city water to use.  After it's sat in the tank for a while, it leaches 'stuff', that it deposits wherever the water sits for any length of time, like toilet tanks and such.  It dissolves easily enough with vinegar, but it's a nuisance to clean, and hard on the plumbing, I suspect.  
 
Stacy Witscher
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Rebecca Blake - we have an above ground plastic water tank for rain water. It sprung a leak after at most 6 years. My understanding is that the sun is very hard on them, if you want them to last, they need to be shaded.
 
Rebecca Blake
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Rebecca Blake - we have an above ground plastic water tank for rain water. It sprung a leak after at most 6 years. My understanding is that the sun is very hard on them, if you want them to last, they need to be shaded.



Perhaps my estimate was a bit long! Lol

6 years is still fine by me. It will be nice to save toward a nicer tank when we aren’t spending a ton of money all at once.
 
John C Daley
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I have had plastic tanks in the sun in Australia for 25 years without trouble.

It may depend on the manufacturer.
Underground storage plastic tanks are virtually the same as a plastic septic tank.
They will cost maybe twice as much as an above ground thank and require excavation etc.
But if you have freezing, tanks in the basement or a heated barn may be better.
 
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One word, Ferrocement. Used in Central and South America for just this purpose. Google it. Lots of sources of
experience.
 
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