So I'm in the process of building a home that will be on 100% rainwater for my family of 5.
Going to have a standing seam metal roof on the house that will catch rainwater for 30,000 gallons of storage capacity.
The contractor who seems very experienced says he recommends using two 15,000 gallon fiberglass tanks.
I want to use the most non-toxic, potable tank possible.
My online research tells me that the steel tanks that are available use a "food grade" plastic liner in them. I really wanted to stay away from plastic, but they tell me that their clients have had the water tested and have never found any type of contaminant from the liner.
Also, it seems that fiberglass is very inert and similarly water testing has never showed any contamination from the resins (so I'm told).
OK, Permies whats the truth? Can I trust fiberglass or food grade plastic liners for the water I'm providing my wife and kids?
I know ferro cement and concrete is another way to go, having trouble finding a contractor that will install it though. For simplicity I like the products above, but I don't want them to come at a cost to our health.
First of all, without you posting your location profile, I don't know what sort of climate your tank will be exposed to. High altitude sun? Freeze and thaw?
I'm in the tropics so sun is a consideration. And while my ag irrigation tank is in the sun, all my other tanks are shaded and also covered. I opted to go for the circular steel tanks with the food grade liners. My neighbor has fiberglass tanks and has problems off and on with algae growth. The fiberglass has an algaecide in it but apparently it has leeched out to the point that it isn't keeping up in this tropical sun. This past year he ended up covering his fiberglas tank to keep the sunlight out. Yes, sunlight will penetrate through the fiberglass itself if the tank isn't painted it covered.
My own tanks block the sunlight except for the tops, which are open. So I put tops on them to keep out sun, birds and other wildlife especially rats, children, and most insects. Mosquitos always seem to find the tiniest crevasse and get in, but that's a separate problem to deal with.
Keeping sun off the liner, I have been told, helps it keep it's integrity. Out of curiosity I had my water tested when the liners were 10 years old. So far, so good. A friend heard about the testing service (a grant being done by a college person doing a doctorate thesis) and had her water tested too. Her liner was over 20 years old. The test came back fine. I was impressed and relieved. But both of us have covers to block sunlight from the liners, which may have a bearing on the overall health of the liners.
I don't have to deal with the effects of freezing where I live, so I don't know if that has any bearing on the tanks.
I only have experience with these two type tanks, so I don't know about the others.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
posted 4 years ago
Thanks so much for your response and those experiences, its good to hear the water tested clean after years of use. I'm in Central Texas, outside of Austin. Very hot in the summer there.
I definitely plan on covering the tanks if they are fiberglass... Maybe sheathing them in wood, or building a shop building/shed over them...
I'd love to hear more from others here, thanks again.
posted 4 years ago
Anyone else have input as to fiberglass vs. food safe lined tanks?
Would love to get more opinions...
Hi Christopher, I recommend to go for modular tanks and I have designed one for Australian market. The Hydrowall modular wall systems are connected together to form a structural walls for swater. These modular rainwater tanks comes with modern design and functionality, and can also set up underground so as not to spend any floor space on water storage. Modular tanks for external installation can be found in different innovative designs and styles, allowing you to use them as a beautification tool as well as for water storage.
I have 7 tanks at my property in Bendigo, Australia.
Some are food grade poly tanks, 22,000 L, I have a steel tank no lining and a Pioneer style tank, [ 190,000L] galvanised walls and a plastic liner in side.
All my tanks are covered to keep them clean and free of detritis.
There is a site Rainwater Harvesting which shows a range of worthwhile accessories.
Make sure you do the foundations for the tanks properly. And use first flush systems, at least 50mm cut off taps and a floating pole and ball depth indicator.
Electronic indicators are not as easy and a visual sustem.
John Daley Bendigo, Australia
The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan