How to Install a Water Storage Tank

Reader Contribution by James White
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For the average homeowner who’s looking to cut down on their water expenses, a water storage tank may be just the thing.

Perhaps the most obvious application is rainwater harvesting: You’d be surprised by how much water you can collect during the rainy seasons, which can provide you with just about all the water you’d need for gardening and lawn watering.

Pool owners and farmers can also benefit from water storage tanks — by collecting and storing water, you can ensure a continual supply for your pool as well as a reliable source of drinking water for your livestock.

But no matter how you plan on using your tank, you’ll want to be sure you take the time to install it properly for years of reliable use. Here’s a quick guide to help you get it right the first time.

Step 1: Prepare a Base for Your New Tank

As with most home improvement projects, getting a strong foundation is most important. To begin with, choose a location that’s conveniently situated near your garden, pool, or any other area that you plan on irrigating using your stored water.

Once you’ve chosen your location, tamp down the soil thoroughly and remove any rocks or other foreign matter that could interfere with the base of the tank.

Add about three inches of crusher (or road base) to finish your preparations, and tamp it down again. If the ground looks level and stable when you finish, you’re ready to proceed.

Step 2: Pour Your Concrete Foundation

Your next step is to pour a three-inch reinforced concrete slab in the location you’ve chosen for your storage tank. The slab should be flat and level in both dimensions, and it should be larger than the tank itself.

You can purchase concrete mix at any of your local hardware stores or home improvement warehouses — just make sure you don’t start mixing it until you’ve finished the preparations outlined in step one.

Note that your foundation should be about twenty four inches larger than the water tank itself — this will ensure stability. You should also build a retaining wall around the concrete base. Over time, washout and even vermin can cause erosion in the area, but a retainer will help keep small environmental changes from interfering with your tank.

Step 3: Install the Overflow Drainage Pipe

Depending on where you purchased your water storage tank, it may already be fitted with an overflow drainage pipe. Regardless, properly installing and positioning this pipe will ensure excess water runoff won’t compromise the stability of your concrete base over time.

If you have a storm water drainage system nearby, you can use it as a receptacle for your storage tank’s piping. If your property doesn’t have storm drainage, you can simply use a length of piping to redirect excess water from your storage tank to an area of the yard that’s away from your home and won’t be adversely affected by the excess runoff.

Step 4: Install Fill Pipes From the Roof

Finally, to complete your new setup, you’ll need to install fill pipes to complete the water’s path from your roof to your storage tank.

The most common types of fill piping connect either directly to your gutter or act as an outlet for an individual downspout. In either case, think carefully about how this water is most likely to be used.

If, for example, you intend to use it for human consumption, follow any manufacturer-provided instructions that concern the installation of a water filter. If you plan to use your captured water for irrigation purposes, you can skip that step.

You’re Ready to Go!

As a final note, an abundance of resources are available online from rainwater harvesting enthusiasts. They can provide you with some great ideas and help you with any troubleshooting should the need arise.

As you can see, investing just one afternoon of moderate-to-hard work can provide you with a water storage solution that will last you for many years to come — and net you some great savings. So what are you waiting for?

 Photo by Enduraplas.

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