Water barrel issues

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  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 05:38am

    #1

    Travlin

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    Water barrel issues

I plan to buy some 55 gallon barrels like this to store drinking water.  http://greif.thomasnet.com/item/usa-industrial-packaging-products-plastic-drums/plastic-drums/gp-55?  They are made of heavy duty polyethylene (HDPE) food grade plastic. 

I have two issues.

1 – I have heard the water will acquire a strong plastic taste after a few months.  It is safe to drink but tastes pretty bad.  I’m thinking it would help a lot if I rinse the inside of the barrels thoroughly and let them sit in the sun for a few days to out-gas.

2 – Some sellers say not to set them directly on concrete, as the water can acquire a taste of concrete.  This makes no sense to me because that would require moisture from the concrete to wick into the barrel.  If the barrel is water tight that can’t happen.

I’d appreciate any help with these issues.  Please be clear if you have actual experience or base your response on what you have read or heard.

Travlin 

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 06:05am

    #2
    LG

    LG

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    Sir,I bought ten 55-gallon

Sir,

I bought ten 55-gallon drums a few years back from Emergency Essentials, free shipping and on sale. I do store mine on thin plywood, do not know why, but that is what was recommended. I have no plastic taste at all. When new, I did rinse with a weak bleach solution and let dry. Hope this helps. FYI- My L-16 solar batteries are also stored on wood. Old habit are hard to break.

LG

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 01:37pm

    #4

    Wendy S. Delmater

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    water barrels

We have three 55-gallon rain barrels attached to our leaders and gutters. They are not so much for storing water to drink as for storing water for watering our huge garden. Our barrels are food-grade blue plastic ones that a local junk dealer added brass spigots to, and then water-tested them for leaks. Cost us $25 each, and they are a third souce of emergency water for us. We have a well with and torpedo bucket and an electric pump–for which we still need a propane generator and some tanks. The rain barrels are plan B. There is also a local pond.

We find that using the rain barrel water water on the garden after every few storms, and cleaning out the barrels every so often, really keeps the water good enough to boil and drink in a pinch. We can take off the lids and scrub them out. A very little bleach keeps the pond scum at bay.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 01:42pm

    #3

    bmaier

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    cert

I havent really looked into this, but when i took my CERT class they said that when storing flats of water bottles to not place them directly on concrete because of the absorption.  They said that even the cardbord packaging was not enough of a barrier.  I personally use scepter 20L jugs in the back of a storage closet not on concrete and have had no issues.  Anyway it is just what they are telling people in Los Angeles CERT classes.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 03:07pm

    #5

    Tom Page

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    Water barrels

I got a bunch of those type of barrels used from someone in NH for just a few bucks each, picked up 2-4 everytime I drive through.  This years project is to hook them up to rain gutters and help reduce the cost and dependence on the municipal supply for the garden.    For emergency drinking water I keep a 7 gal jug full and change it out once in a while or when I go camping, with fresh. 

I’d test and see if you do pick up a plastic taste and how periodically you have to change the water to avoid it. Or, to store drinking water long term, you could run it through something like a carbon filter to improve taste just before use, and disinfect if necessary too.  If you’re just using the water for irrigation it doesn’t matter.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 04:56pm

    #6
    tictac1

    tictac1

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    HDPE is vapor-permeable, the

HDPE is vapor-permeable, the containers “breathe”, so to speak.  That’s probably  the source of the warnings.  We don’t use them for aging beer for this very reason, oxygen permeates the material and causes the beer to go stale.

Water stored in plastic subject to heat can leach chemicals into the water, regardless of plastic formulation-

http://www.darienct.gov/filestorage/104/114/163/Plastics_Primer0714.pdf

If it tastes like plastic, do not drink it.  The smell and taste is coming from SOME amount of contamination.  If you want 100% safety, use 5 or 6 gallon glass carboys or stainless steel containers.  For example, 15 gallon beer kegs are stainless, and will work fine when cleaned and sterilized.  The downside is cost per gallon of water storage.

We use plastic chemical barrels for rainwater collection for watering.  These barrels have been used for storing zinc solution, but when filled with ultra-pure water and left in the barrels for several weeks, no zinc contamination was detectable, but the water does have a slight plastic odor.  I would only use this water for plants.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 05:16pm

    #7

    Full Moon

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    55- gallon barrels

 sounds like we need pick up the black one or paint some black to put in the green house to heat it up in cold weather .   Possibly extending our growing season to year round .

 FM

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 05:43pm

    #8
    joemanc

    joemanc

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    Travlin wrote:2 – Some

[quote=Travlin]

2 – Some sellers say not to set them directly on concrete, as the water can acquire a taste of concrete.  This makes no sense to me because that would require moisture from the concrete to wick into the barrel.  If the barrel is water tight that can’t happen.

[/quote]

I set my rain barrel on a “bed” of small rocks. The bed is a couple of inches deep to support the rain barrel since it gets heavy(450 pounds) when full.

Safewrite mentioned about the water getting dirty. I did not realize that could happen. A few weeks back, a pungent  smell was emanating from the water. This lasted for several days so I emptied out the water and to my horror, the bottom of the barrel was slimy and sludge filled. I’m guessing the stuff that fell off the trees and onto my roof/gutters/downspouts and then into my rainbarrel fouled up my rain water. And I have a screen on mine too. A quick rinse did the trick. I’m assuming I’ll need to do this at least a couple of times during the spring bloom period.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 07:09pm

    #9
    tictac1

    tictac1

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    Ah, finally a subject I have

Ah, finally a subject I have experience with…:)

Rain barrels will grow all sorts of nastiness, but I’ve never seen any evidence that it is toxic, i.e. our animals drink from them all the time.  I won’t be testing it on myself, however.  Areas with racoon populations should think long and hard about even using collected rainwater for anything but landscape watering-

http://dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Baylisascariasis.htm

A small amount of bleach added to the barrel will keep growth down for a good long time, if the water coming off the roof is NOT “first flush”.   I use 1/4 tsp/gallon.  You shouldn’t be catching that stuff anyway.  Wait til after the first storm of the season, then hook up your barrels, or opt for one of the first flush systems avilable.

For greenhouse applications, here’s the rule of thumb:  3 gallons per square foot of transparency.  Our greenhouse only has clear siding on the southern side, at a 45 degree angle, allowing maximum off-season sun to heat the black plastic barrels.  If you can set up and fill your barrels in the summer, you will find you have a bit more residual heat, vs. trying to heat them up in the winter.  Black STEEL barrels transfer heat much more efficiently, but I realize the plastic ones are much easier to come by for most people.

Our greenhouse this past year was a prototype, but it definetly proved the concept.  We had huge tomato plants ready to go out by April, and could have done ever better had we made the greenhouse air-tight at night.  Check this one out-

http://www.botanic.org/Solar_Energy.asp

Don’t forget to periodically use the stored water, rotate stock.  That is, if you are using it for something other that thermal mass.

  • Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 07:26pm

    #10
    joemanc

    joemanc

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    Could be Toxic

[quote=tictac1]

Rain barrels will grow all sorts of nastiness, but I’ve never seen any evidence that it is toxic, i.e. our animals drink from them all the time.  I won’t be testing it on myself, however. [/quote]

My handyman gave some water from my rain barrel to his dog, who promptly got sick. He also used the water to mix grout for my tiles. The grout was supposed to be white. It came out brown/blue/green. My garden veggies are all green and growing though, for now.

Just need to keep it clean.

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