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Long-term water storage  RSS feed

 
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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I'd like to hear anyone's experience with this.  We have a private well and I'd like to have extra water for drinking and watering plants stored in case electricity goes out.  I'm interested in a poly tank, mostly for cost and ease of setup, but I'm wondering how long water will store in such a place--does it ever need to be emptied and refilled if it's to be used to drink?
 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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I would keep the tank in a dark, cool place if possible.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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A consensus among the sources I've read is that it's worthwhile to filter stored water before drinking it, or at least to be ready to, rather than try to prevent all the possible modes of contamination over the long term.

Perhaps a small container for a day's drinking water, fed by a slow sand filter?
 
                          
Posts: 62
Location: Bozeman, MT
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Years ago when I was researching water cisterns, I was concerned with the water sitting and possibly developing problems, like bacterias or algae. So I tried finding ways to naturally purify water. I came across an article that mentioned a particular type of sphagnum moss that had strong anti-bacterial properties. There was a man that was thinking about using it for pool and spa filtering. All the articles now, dont have the sphagnum variety listed, but I still had it on a post it note. The variety in Minnesota is called Sphagnum papillosum and the variety from New Zealand is Sphagnum christatum (sutton moss). Both varieties were used to heal wounds because of the natural anti-bacterial activity.

Creative Water Solutions marketed a system to use for pools and spas, but the delivery method involves plastic bags like tea bags, which I would not want in my water, nor the high cost,  but if you find or can order either variety for gardening, you could make your own muslin bags for using the moss.

http://www.cwsnaturally.com/pdfs/Knighton_Fiegel_1108WCP.pdf
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I'd like to also mention that you can probably find uses for your stored water, between the time it's pumped up/collected and the time you need to use the last of it.

An aquaponic system could continuously scrub stored water of the worst sorts of contamination, and the cleanest stage of that process could be used directly for washing or feed into a filter for potable water, while the second-dirtiest could be used directly for irrigation (well, fertigation). As water gets more scarce, more animals can be harvested from the system, so that the stocking rate stays about the same.
 
                          
Posts: 18
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I'd like to consider a pressurized fresh water tank that would hook into my regular water supply, which would provide water if the supply were interrupted for some reason.  It would be continually refreshed since all water entering it would be constantly flowing through the house as usual.  All one would have to do is shut off the valve to the tank as soon as the water supply failed.  Then, if the supply is not restored, it would be fairly easy to modify the tank for rainwater collection.  But all I've seen so far are just regular non-pressurized tanks.  Anyone know of a supplier?  I could always use a hot water tank, but that would seem rather expensive. 
 
                    
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Whisper, years ago when our house was being built I had the same idea. I found it very difficult to locate tanks that were suitable for pressurized water. I found affordable steel tanks, but they were meant for air and would rust with water. All the plastic I've ever seen are not pressure rated. I did find manufacturers/suppliers of epoxy coated steel tanks as well as steel tanks. However, they were out of sight price wise. In the end I bought two extra large electric water heaters without the heater elements. The municipal supply flows through them on the way to the rest of the house. A back flow preventer stops the reverse flow if the system goes down. It's only 160 gallons, but in an emergency as long as we can stay here, we can stretch that out a long ways.

Not really long term storage. Sorry if that is too much topic wander.
 
Posts: 77
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We're considering using surplus 330 gallon totes (the kind that come on pallets, and have usually help fruit drink concentrate or somesuch thing) for storage, but we're also planning to run an outlet to a pond and/or soaker hoses so that we can periodically dump the contents and keep the water fresh.  As mentioned, you can probably find enough good (i.e. not wasteful) uses for the water to keep it moving with ehough regularity to avoid most problems of it getting nasty on you.  If that's not an option, and you have enough solar or other non-grid power available, you might consider a pump with a loop through a UV sterilizer.

Doug
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
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You could just install a secondary hand pump on your well so even if the power goes out you still have access to a clean supply.  This can be a pain in the A*$, but reliable and cheap-ish.  I can see why you would want to store it as well though
 
Doug Gillespie
Posts: 77
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An excellent point - we did that when we had our well drilled on our land in Georgia.  Due to the 600+ foot depth, we had to go for a Simple Pump (your usual pitcher pump type of thing is only good for shallower wells), which pushed the cost up, but we're very glad we did it.  It's allowed us to delay having the grid power installed, which has allowed that heap of money to be used for other things that are more important right now.  I'll probably be adding the solar option to the Simple Pump this year, which should make it more user-friendly.  It's actually not all that unpleasant to use, but it certainly makes you appreciate  the true value of water more.

Doug
 
                          
Posts: 18
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Our water source is county water from a BIG (no, make that HUGE)natural spring.  Also, there's one spring about a mile away on the side of the road where people frequently get water, and others a few miles away. Barring some type of earthquake that kills the spring, we've at least got access to water.  I will consider one of those large containers on a little trailer that I saw when we went out west to the Grand Canyon.  Many folks out there have to haul their water in.  It was quite a shock to see this, and made me appreciate what we have even more!
 
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