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Connecting 55-gallon drums  RSS feed

 
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Has anyone tried to connect 55-gallon plastic drums together end to end? Let me be specific. I am interested in connecting several 55-gallon drums together to form a large drain pipe.

I live in the mountains of Nicaragua. During the rainy season, we can get substantial rainfall events. Instant streams are created at higher altitudes that pour water down on my farm (at times at a rate of 10-20 gallons per second) and have dug an erosion ditch that in places is nearly six feet deep. My goal is to divert some of this water away from its normal path in the erosion ditch as a means of eventually controlling the problem.

I already have dug the diversion ditch, but do not want to cause yet another erosion problem on the property. Thus, I came up with the idea of linking 55-gallon drums together to form a tube that the water can flow through. Before anyone mentions it, I do not have the funds to hire a construction crew to install a standard concrete tube system and, even if I did, I doubt that I could get them to come up to my farm to do the job in the first place.

Could I use PVC adhesive to connect the drums?

I have scoured the Internet looking for examples of this, but all I can find are examples of people connecting the drums to store rainwater collected from a roof. It is hard to believe that others have not tried this. Of course, one reason that I have been unable to find any examples is because it does not work! I hope that this is not the case.
 
pollinator
Posts: 596
Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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PVC adhesive wont work.  Plastic barrels are made out of HDPE and hardly any glue sticks to that.

However, you probably don't really need a great seal between the barrels.  I'm guessing it's not likely that the barrels will ever be more than 1/2 full when the water is flowing trough them, so you really only need to seal the bottom half.

You might cut one barrel up into rings about 6-8" tall, then split the ring so you have a long strap that is 6-8" wide.  Wrap this around where two barrels connect and caulk it and use some screws to hold it in place, leave the gap in the ring on the top of your tube.

I've read that you can cut up thin strips of HDPE and heat it and the barrels up until they melt and then sort of weld the barrels together.  However, I tried that once and it didn't work.  I think there might be some kind of wax or mold release compound on the barrels from when they were first made, that might have interfered with my attempt to 'weld' the barrels.
 
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Location: san diego ca
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does the tops taper off ?
you could cut the top and bottom off and since the top usaully smaller you could push them together the top going in to the bottom of the next one then use a couple bolts to keep it together
81267014.jpg
[Thumbnail for 81267014.jpg]
are they like this one
 
gardener
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Great ideas!
How about this: cut out the tops and bottoms,leaving the rims in place.
Drill holes in the rims, tie the two drums together with baling wire.
Some leaking will occur but not much, relative to a torrent of water.
Screws or bolts/nuts would also work and might form a tighter seal, but are more expensive.

To build sub irrigated planters, I've  cut the top third of a drum off and by cutting slits in the sides, made it fit inside the remaining two thirds of the drum, thus creating a "false bottom" with reservoir beneath it.
So to build on the post above,maybe cut the tops and bottoms out,leaving the rims.
Then cut 3-6 slits on one end, equidistance around the rim,about 6-8" down the sides.
Shove the unslit end of one barrel into the slit end of the next,and build a chain down hill, like funnels running into one another.
Secure with self tapping sheet metal screws,though  really almost any screw would do,self tappers just drive and hold well in the plastic of these drums.

Cutting off the ends and splitting them down one side would be easier. You could prop open the resulting  "c" to make it more like a "u", and still, put one end inside another,like a series of funnels.
Logs, scrap lumber, or strips of plastic cut from.the tops and bottoms of the drums could be used.

If this can work without the rims being attached, so much the better,as it's easier to cut under the rim along the side of the drum,than inside the rim on the top or bottom surfaces.
It will make it feasible to use a circular saw, or make hand sawing easier. A circular saw is more economical on blades and faster than a sawsall or jigsaw,in my experience,but not flexible enough to follow the inside of a circle.
 
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