Deciding to look into drinking water storage tanks is easy. Whether it is to collect rain and make your house more ecologically friendly or as a part of an emergency preparedness plan, saving potable water makes a lot of sense. But deciding what kind of storage unit to get is a little more confusing.
Most rain cisterns are made out of galvanized or stainless steel. This is partially because the material is cheap and easily obtainable, and are usually either welded or bolted together. But when shopping for drinking water storage tanks it’s important to get material that was specifically created for that purpose, as metal containers are coated inside and out to prevent against leaks and corrosion and to make sure the liquid remains potable.
For inside storage most people turn to plastics like polyethylene. These units are more lightweight and flexible than metal or concrete tanks, but care has to be used in picking out the proper kind. Make sure to buy plastic that is FDA approved to store liquid without breaking down or leeching chemicals over time. If you do want to use plastic containers outside make sure to only chose ones with opaque surfaces, as the exposure of stored water to sunlight can cause algal bloom.
By far the most economical and versatile material, however, is concrete. Concrete tanks can be used either above or below ground and can even be built directly into retaining walls or other structures. The material is non-reactive and may have a longer lifetime than those made of plastic or metal. Due to its weight it should not be used for elevated platforms, but is perfect for ground drinking water storage tanks.
Unlike other options, concrete is the easiest to shape according to your specifications without the help of a professional. It can be easily poured into the precise form you desire, or even pre-cast and assembled at the site for a fairly low cost.
For those who live in cold climates concrete tanks may be preferable for outside use as they are less prone to damage. In the winter a frozen sheet of ice moving up and down with the water level can rub the sides of the container and damage the inside or even bend and break the walls of the unit.
The most important thing to think about when considering your options is the fact that whatever you decide on will likely be in your home for many years to come. Take care and decide accordingly.