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Platform/framework for water tank

 
Posts: 219
Location: Iron River MI
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Hello!

I have a 275 gallon storage tank that I want to use for rainwater catchment. A website I found said the tanks full of room temperature water should be around 2,290 lbs. I’d like to elevate the tank 2-3’ off the ground. I’d also like to do it as cheaply and safely as possible. I already have pallets, powerline poles and crossarms (basically creosote treated 8’ long 4”x4”) to work with. Also, I’m working with flat ground and have gravel I could lay first if that helps. Attached is a picture of the bottom of the tank for reference. Any advice on how I should construct this?
D221AB2A-1463-44CE-A239-778CDF62E4CE.jpeg
[Thumbnail for D221AB2A-1463-44CE-A239-778CDF62E4CE.jpeg]
 
gardener
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In my opinion the best/easiest/safest way to elevate a tank like this would be with another tank, or even just metal cage.
This is because they are intended to be stacked 3 units high when full, so you know that they have the strength.

That being said, working with what you have is different.
Because of way the bottom of the tote is built, I think you need a platform with a bigger footprint than the tote itself.
If you stacked 6 pallets ,three pallets high , you could have a strong platform that was roughly 48"x80" and a little more than 12" off the ground.


I would not encourage any use of the other materials. Creosote treated wood is a known carcinogen, so any cutting or drilling would put you in danger.

Good luck!
 
pollinator
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Also you need to have a solid base under either the extra tank or the pallets.
If the ground underneath gets damp the tank may lean over and maybe fall over.
 
Brody Ekberg
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John C Daley wrote:Also you need to have a solid base under either the extra tank or the pallets.
If the ground underneath gets damp the tank may lean over and maybe fall over.



So, the spot is a little wet and soggy now being on the NW corner of our house (no sun) and a spot with a valley on the roof and no gutter yet. But I could install the gutter and direct water away for a while, lay a little gravel, and then hope that the ground dries a bit before building this contraption. I do intend on monitoring it after its filled to make sure it doesn’t sink or get uneven.
 
Brody Ekberg
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William Bronson wrote:In my opinion the best/easiest/safest way to elevate a tank like this would be with another tank, or even just metal cage.
This is because they are intended to be stacked 3 units high when full, so you know that they have the strength.

That being said, working with what you have is different.
Because of way the bottom of the tote is built, I think you need a platform with a bigger footprint than the tote itself.
If you stacked 6 pallets ,three pallets high , you could have a strong platform that was roughly 48"x80" and a little more than 12" off the ground.


I would not encourage any use of the other materials. Creosote treated wood is a known carcinogen, so any cutting or drilling would put you in danger.




I do have another tank, but it is in use somewhere else right now so stacking isn’t an option. I forgot to mention, I also have concrete block, if that changes anything. Someone on Facebook recommended a shed footer style build with concrete block and crossarms. The pallet idea may be good enough though, so long as I can get enough pallets that are the same size and in good condition.

As far as the creosote goes... I have a hard time not using it. I work for a utility company, and all the old poles and crossarms will go into a dumpster and get chipped (no idea what is done with the chips) unless someone takes them. I know creosote is an issue, but so is wasting all those resources! I’ve considered using the crossarms as fence posts and just not planting anything next to them. But they’re strong, rot resistant and never ending, so I’ve got to do something with them! I certainly will cut them as little as possible, stay downwind and probably wear a mask as well.

All that being said, do you still think pallets would be better than poles, crossarms or concrete block?
Good luck!
 
John C Daley
pollinator
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Concrete stepping stones at least 12 inches square would be a good start.
As suggested, cross arms from free wood will spread the load and lift the tank.

I would ask you to rethink the use of Creosote, it is bad stuff, no matter what cash you save with timber.

Can I suggest you find a marketable solution to the dumpster for the timber?
If your companies agrees you may be able to sell the timber and buy good poles, or you can use the timber in different ways that do not involve being poked into the ground?
Stirrups can be used with shedding,  concrete collars for posts in the ground.
 
Brody Ekberg
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John C Daley wrote:Concrete stepping stones at least 12 inches square would be a good start.
As suggested, cross arms from free wood will spread the load and lift the tank.

I would ask you to rethink the use of Creosote, it is bad stuff, no matter what cash you save with timber.

Can I suggest you find a marketable solution to the dumpster for the timber?
If your companies agrees you may be able to sell the timber and buy good poles, or you can use the timber in different ways that do not involve being poked into the ground?
Stirrups can be used with shedding,  concrete collars for posts in the ground.



Honestly, saving cash isn’t the main reason I take the crossarms. The main reason is if I dont take on the “problem” of the creosote treated wood, the problem just goes to someone else. Likely someone with less cares about sustainability, the environment or their own health than myself. So, if I can utilize the stuff carefully in order to divert a larger problem, I’m willing. There’s so many things in our daily life that can cause cancer that I’m not super concerned about creosote. Just another downside to our society. I’m more concerned about the class 2 carcinogens my FR work clothes are treated with, or eating sugar, driving gas vehicles or carrying 2 cell phones on me while driving a truck with tracking devices, cell boosters and Bluetooth on... and unfortunately, the company I work for is too worried about “liabilities” to let us sell anything. We can sign waivers and take stuff home, but cannot sell anything or give it to others (technically...).
 
pollinator
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Depends on how high you are going.     My solution was to buy a shipping container, then buy rail road ties that would extend out over the main metal supports   ( the thin metal in center would not support this )  then put the IBC on the rail road ties.        I was considering doing this to increase the pressure I had on my water lines.
 
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As to the creosote problem, there's only one thing I can think of that will eliminate it. I would incinerate it at temperatures exceeding 1100 degrees fahrenheit, preferably in a retort that directs offgassed volatiles back into the burn tunnel.

Creosote is one of the main components of the chemical cocktail that renders rail lands the equivalent of superfund sites.

If your concern is eliminating the problem, I would figure out how to build an incinerator hot enough to crack the creosote into its constituents, leaving only charred wood. I would then figure out how to monetize the heat, probably with another heat-based industrial process, and/or a heat engine-based power generator.

My concern with using the creosoted wood as I have seen it used in the past is that water infrastructure invariably leaks, which is why you'd want the waterproofing. Some creosote is likely to leach out with each drop of water that contacts the treated wood, and that water is going into the ground below your tank.

It isn't worth giving yourself and everyone you want to feed off this land cancer to take a small piece of a large environmental issue and make it your own in that manner. Even making a platform out of solid creosoted 4x4s stacked twice as high as you need wouldn't make a dent in the larger issue.

I would put a gravel trench around the base of the water platform for proper drainage. I think that I would then make a form around the perimeter of where the platform will be. I would then either use traditional cement (not my first choice), or better yet, a portland-stabilised earth mixture, if your property has the right mix of sand and clay. An appropriately high rammed-earth platform won't fall apart, and it won't toxify the land you're seeking to steward.

-CK
 
Brody Ekberg
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Chris Kott wrote:As to the creosote problem, there's only one thing I can think of that will eliminate it. I would incinerate it at temperatures exceeding 1100 degrees fahrenheit, preferably in a retort that directs offgassed volatiles back into the burn tunnel.

Creosote is one of the main components of the chemical cocktail that renders rail lands the equivalent of superfund sites.

If your concern is eliminating the problem, I would figure out how to build an incinerator hot enough to crack the creosote into its constituents, leaving only charred wood. I would then figure out how to monetize the heat, probably with another heat-based industrial process, and/or a heat engine-based power generator.

My concern with using the creosoted wood as I have seen it used in the past is that water infrastructure invariably leaks, which is why you'd want the waterproofing. Some creosote is likely to leach out with each drop of water that contacts the treated wood, and that water is going into the ground below your tank.

It isn't worth giving yourself and everyone you want to feed off this land cancer to take a small piece of a large environmental issue and make it your own in that manner. Even making a platform out of solid creosoted 4x4s stacked twice as high as you need wouldn't make a dent in the larger issue.

I would put a gravel trench around the base of the water platform for proper drainage. I think that I would then make a form around the perimeter of where the platform will be. I would then either use traditional cement (not my first choice), or better yet, a portland-stabilised earth mixture, if your property has the right mix of sand and clay. An appropriately high rammed-earth platform won't fall apart, and it won't toxify the land you're seeking to steward.

-CK



I think you may have a good idea about how to render creosote non-harmful. And I think that someone or someone organization should definitely do that, because between railroad ties, powerline poles and crossarms, there is a ton of creosote treated wood out and about, and utility companies top concern is definitely NOT how to safely deal with the situation. But I’m not that person and I’m not going to be starting up a creosote burning plant.

I’m not too worried about creosote leaking into specific areas, because the areas that are in question are not going to be used for any foraging or edible food gardening. We dont/“cant” have a well, so I’m not worried about drinking it in.

And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not disagreeing with the fact that creosote is nasty stuff and that whatever I do personally will have minimal impact on the problem as a whole. I just dont believe most of this matters all that much. Everything has positive and negative aspects... everything. Sure, creosote shouldn’t exist, we shouldn’t have manufactured it and used it so extensively. We should have planned and prepared more. But that’s all 100% irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. The fact is, here we are right now, in the midst of it all, the positive and the negative, and what we do and our attitude towards the situation at hand is most important. I think there are innumerable horrors associated with “normal” modern western society and creosote doesn’t stand out in my mind. What about the car I drive, the carpet we’re getting installed today, the asphalt roof we put on last summer, the plastic used in food packaging, the chemicals in my clothes... the list goes on and on. And sure, we could eliminate all of those things, and in some idealistic world, we would. But in this very real world, we dont. We tip toe around making tiny changes at our convenience so as not to upset people and processes. If I ever get cancer, I certainly wont blame creosote treated wood in a few areas of our yard. I’d happily point the finger at a zillion other things, or the combination of them all. Hell, if I want to blame creosote, I should blame the dozens and dozens of brook trout I used to eat from a pond near an old railroad grade that is literally stained dark from the ties. Or all the fish I’ve eaten from the river mouth and Lake Superior downstream of that spring fed, creosote tainted pond.

Not trying to argue or invalidate your concerns, I just think that it’s all just focusing on an inevitable negative aspect of something that also has positive aspects. Like being free, readily available, rot resistant, strong and in need of a new life that isn’t buried in a landfill or edging someones garden bed.
 
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this is how i raised my tote. mine is on part of a large concrete pad. but you should be able to place your stand on some pavers or something similar.
20210323_183051-Copy.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210323_183051-Copy.jpg]
 
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