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multi-function rainwater tower  RSS feed

 
Kacy Wallace
Posts: 5
Location: Toronto, Ontario and Westport, Ontario
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I recently procured a 275-gallon food grade plastic tank. It's 40” W x 48” L x 48” Tall. http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/used-275-gallon-totes-ibc.php

The tank is going inside of our greenhouse for watering purposes. In order to be able to move the water around the greenhouse, I'd like to elevate the tank 6-10ft off of the ground. The tank will be fed from a downspout inside the greenhouse. The gutters are approximately 14 ft off the ground.

I'm trying to figure out a way to do this safely and without creating a giant single-use tower in the greenhouse. My idea so far is to use concrete masonry units (CMUs) to create a frame. I'd like to mount two rabbit cages directly under the water tank with worm bins below the rabbits to catch the poop (both of which we currently have). The greenhouse is hot as he** (obviously) and the rabbits and worms could use the shade. I was thinking I could further shade the rabbits and worms by putting trellises on 3 sides of the tower.

I'm nervous about the integrity of the tower as the rain tank will weigh over 2,500 pounds when full. Are CMUs my best bet? Any other ideas, suggestions or cautions?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I think I responded to a similar post elsewhere, but another time I had six such tanks stuck up on stacks of concrete blocks....one stack at each corner of the tanks. I drove a metal stake or pipe into the ground through the cavities of the stack of blocks to make sure the stacks stood up straight. Even so, some of the stacks leaned enough that I ended up wedging a stout timber against them to keep them up. The tanks were elevated about six feet up. Here I have four tanks up on the roof of a shed, reinforced with some extra timbers. So I'm sure that a simple frame made of four 4X4's with diagonal braces and a stout platform should hold up your tank just fine.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Kacy, I am wondering if you could get two more totes and stack them up?
Water on top, make center one a rabbit hutch and the bottom one for worms !
You would just have to be sure they were sitting very level so that the force of the water goes straight down to the ground.
Might even get some sort of a clip to tie them together where they meet.

Now that I think about it, you would have to cut the cages for bunny and worm access and that would make them weak.
Unless you know a welder that could reinforce them?
 
Kacy Wallace
Posts: 5
Location: Toronto, Ontario and Westport, Ontario
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Thanks for the suggestions! I spoke with a stone mason and I would need a concrete pad in order to safely build a CMU tower. He also suggested something similar to your "metal stake" idea Alder. The only difference was that he suggested filling in with concrete around the metal stake. From what I gather, once the tower starts leaning, the metal stake won't do much against that force. So your best bet is to fill in the cavities around the metal stakes with concrete so it never gets momentum.

Regardless, I'm thinking the 4x4 frame idea seems like a better bet. I like your idea too Miles, however, the tanks are not super cheap and it's hard to justify re-purposing one for a rabbit hutch. I was thinking I could potentially remove the galvanized steel frame and then set the tank on top of that? I'm not sure of it's strength, but I have an engineering buddy I can get some advice from. I don't think I would compromise the steel frame too much by removing a few cross bars to create an access point to the rabbits/worms.

I'm not completely giving up on the CMUs for another application though. I may get another tank for outside the greenhouse to sit right under the downspout of one of the gutters. I could easily lay a concrete pad there. I'd like to build a small gravity fed shower/wash station. Our greenhouse is 8,000 sq ft, which means I get about 10,000 gallons of rain water a month (in Westport, On). At 14 ft high, I should be getting 5-7 PSI of water pressure.
 
Jeremiah wales
Posts: 137
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We have two areas on our place. I could not download a photo here. But we just looked up old water towers. Like Petticoat Junction. Wider on the bottom than on top. Used 6x6 beams in corners. Then in another area of the house for the bathroom. we just use a 50 gallon RV Tank. We pump it full as it is on the roof. This is just used for one bathroom on the other end of the house.
I think your tank will weigh about 1975. 1925 full of water and 50 lbs for that cheap tank that you have said you will use. Be careful. I have seen those tanks split easily. They are kind of thin.
Good Luck
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4023
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Good point on splitting. I wonder if they degrade in sunlight.
 
J Green
Posts: 3
Location: Washington, Zone 5
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Those containers are not UV resistant. You will need to paint or cover it.
 
Jeremiah wales
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"those tanks" ?
The Caged Tank is thin like a milk bottle. There is a Video on Youtube which shows covering the caged tank with Black plastic. That works covering with black plastic works very well. Keeps the light down and any growth in the tank. The RV Tank is much thicker and is green. We just painted it white to blend in with the house. It keeps the water from getting very hot.
Either of those tanks will last a long time. Our main tank is thick plastic which is built into a wooden box which looks very old and like an old water tank. We think our tanks will last at least 10 years. Dont know about the caged tanks.

Good Luck
 
Kacy Wallace
Posts: 5
Location: Toronto, Ontario and Westport, Ontario
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So the tank will be in our greenhouse, which, unless I'm completely off-base will offer some UV protection. I know from experience that I don't get a sunburn in the greenhouse, if that counts

Jeremiah, you raise a very valid point about the water being hot. We used to have a nutrient tank for compost tea set up in the greenhouse. The pipes the water traveled trough were dark grey and the water would scorch the plants it was so hot. I think I'll need a combination of black plastic (to stop algae growth) and an awning (to keep the tank from getting too hot). I'm wondering If I can use some type of reflective material similar to the shades people put in the windows of their cars...

I'm not sure how long the tank will last as I've gotten mixed information regarding their durability. I do know that the tank is much much thicker than a milk jug. It's 3/8 " thick.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3351
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It is easy to wrap the tank with old tarp, cardboard, or fanfold foam BETWEEN the tank and frame if you do it BEFORE you mount and fill it.

You can get the frames with bad tanks (cracked, bad valves, or nasty chemical) for free or almost free, way cheaper than building anything from block. They can stack 3 high easily. It can be a place for compost, animal cages, pumps, solar batteries, or just about anything you need to store in a greenhouse.
 
Jeremiah wales
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Kacy, In my area those Caged Tanks sell for 85.00. sometimes delivered. I put an ad on Craigslist WANTED. I found a very nice solid tank delivered for 200.00. To me that investment was much better for one that was thicker. You will be surprised what people will get rid of and do not need. I really wanted an old Bulk Milk tank.
 
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