Building a Cellar Out of Recycled Septic Tank

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Photo courtesy Farm Show
An underground cellar can double as a storm shelter.

John Richards figures out practical uses for things he has on hand. That outlook led him to make an inexpensive cold-storage cellar.

“I used a fiberglass septic tank. We put apples, carrots, parsnips, squash, and potatoes in it. It stays 40 degrees Fahrenheit all winter,” Richards says.

He purchased the tank from a neighbor for $150, after seeing it in his yard for years.

Richards dug a hole in the side of a hill near his house to accommodate the 8-foot-long, 5-foot-wide, 61⁄2-foot-tall tank. He framed in a door, and disinfected and sanitized the inside of the tank. Covered with 4-inch plastic foam, plastic, and a foot of dirt, the storage unit is well insulated.

With a vent out of an inlet hole, he’s never had problems with moisture in the tank during warm weather, and he plugs the vent during winter.

With a couple of shelves inside, the storage area preserves vegetables that Richards, 82, and his wife grow every summer.

“We never lose anything,” he says, and the couple can enjoy fresh vegetables from their on-farm “store” all winter long.

Reprinted with permission from FARM SHOW Magazine,