January 27, 2015

Crossed Off Dan's Wish List - Big Tank

1550 gallon stock tank

Two years ago we put in our first rainwater catchment system by stacking two, 275 gallon (1000 liter) food grade totes (photos and details here). Last summer we put in a second, single 275 gal tote in a different corner of the house (about that here). Because of the sizes of their respective roof areas, the first one catches 50 gallons per inch of rain, while an inch completely fills the second! As amazing as that is, it doesn't take long to use up all the water in the tanks during a hot summer dry spell. Because of that, Dan has been hankering for a 1000 gallon tank. No local availability has been one deterrent, prices another, plus, can you imagine paying shipping on something like that?

Dan was at Tractor Supply the other day for fencing materials, where he happened to have a look around. The 1550 gallon stock tank you see in the photos above immediately caught his eye. Pricing for most large tanks run about $1 to $1.50 per gallon of capacity. The price for this one was about 50¢ per gallon. Even more surprising was that the 750 gallon tanks next to it were the same price! When he inquired about that he was told, "We don't sell many of those big ones." Well, they sold one that day.

It will be awhile before we can put it in. Preliminary steps will include clearing and leveling a place for it, but I'd like to get my pasture hedgerow underway first, and of course spring gardening is imminent. So much to do! There's no excuse for being bored on a homestead.


Renee Nefe said...

Wow! I bet you are both excited with this purchase! Congrats!

Kirsty said...

That is one huge tank! I really like the idea of harvesting so much rainwater, an idea for a few years down the line I think. Thanks Leigh.

Mama Pea said...

Congratulations! I can just imagine the stares Dan got driving down the road with that in the back of the pick-up. Sounds like he was in the right place at the right time and got a really, really good deal. Come the dry season, you are gonna feel lots better about your own water situation!

Leigh said...

Renee, we've priced them online and haven't had much hope, so this was pretty exciting to find.

Kirsty, it's wonderful to have that water in reserve! And I have to say that when you do, don't bother with one of those little 50 gallon rainwater collection barrels. It will fill quickly and won't be enough when you need it!

Mama Pea, he wasn't sure how he was going to get it on his little truck! They helped him at the store and then we rolled it off, letting a couple of hay bales catch it from dropping directly onto the ground. Then we rolled it to near where we plan to put it in. :)

Mama Mess said...

Congrats! It's always wonderful when God puts us in the right place at the right time!

Farmer Barb said...

One: AWESOME PURCHASE!! Two: How hard was it to drive down the road with THAT thing catching wind? Three: Will you be putting it on a concrete pad or the ground?

Unknown said...

Here tanks would be made of corrugated iron, on a farm but in town more likely they would be trendy coloured plastic ones. I have a 2000L that is full of water that i can only access with a tap despite the fact i was given a pump two years ago. Irrigation seems to be on hubby's back list. I bet when you are not looking he goes out and just looks at it.

Sandy Livesay said...

Hey Sweetie,

Now that's a great deal for this tank. I would have snatched that baby up too.....even if you don't set it up for a while.

We will be heading to the Tractor Supply Store on Saturday for feedlot panels. I'll need to see what's on sale :-)

DFW said...


Can't wait to see the installation of that mammoth tank!

Note: We 'finally' found the square water tanks in food grade. I think they are 175 gallon & are $75 each.

Unknown said...

Score!!! :)

PioneerPreppy said...

I am confused I guess. Are you planning on putting that under ground or above ground? One reason I haven't put in a big tank yet and still use the smaller ones is the requirement that I take em down each Winter. I still haven't worked out a suitable low tech system of delivery once I get one into the ground.

Leigh said...

the Goodwife, I so agree, and each one is counted as a blessing. :)

Barb, fortunately he didn't have to take it far! He's definitely planning to put it on something other than the ground, but I'm not sure what. Seems only concrete could hold all that weight!

Lynda, we have corrugated metal tanks around too, but they aren't seen often and I have no idea where to get one. Almost everything here is plastic! Our 1000L tanks only have taps too, so everything is gravity fed for the moment.

Sandy, it pays to look around! I recently discovered that the special order goat fencing I wanted five years ago is now kept in stock, and $100 cheaper!

Deb, me too, LOL. And congrats on your 175 gal finds! The bigger the better 'cuz it doesn't take a lot to fill them, really.

Nancy, :)

PP, this one will go above ground, although Dan has often talked about a huge buried tank. I don't know specifics, but his idea was to have smaller above ground tanks into which the water would be pumped from the underground tank. The smaller tanks could gravity feed the garden, or flush toilets, etc. For the pump we'd discussed solar, hand, or a windmill. If we had a generator (and a way to feed it) the pump could be electric. Pretty big job to bury one, however.

You've got me curious though. You say requirement, is that a state or county regulation? I shouldn't think it would be necessary; the thermal mass keeps the water from freezing.

Kev Alviti said...

That looks like a great idea. I keep thinking about having an underground one but they are very expensive. I'd like to do it so I can switch the run off from the house to either fill the tanks or drain somewhere. I guess because we have so much rain I haven't put water very far up my list of proprieties but who knows what may happen in the future with the way the weather is going, maybe I should make it more of an issue.

Izzy said...

Nice find! how do you deal with the green algae problems that come from water sitting?

Woolly Bits said...

wow, that's a huge one! we had plans to get one or build or own cistern underground, but it's just not possible here. the ground is so stony that it would take a digger to make a hole - which doesn't fit through our already fully planted plot! and because of the narrow paths/walls etc. there's just no way to roll it into place! it was difficult enough to carry the 1000 l tanks into space, lifting it over walls etc. - all three of us were exhausted when we finished carrying the two of them around:) and ours are black, so algae growth won't be a problem. have you noticed anything with your other two tanks?
we have the 1000 l house tank on a strong "rooftop", lifted up with concrete slabs. the whole thing is fed from tanks on the ground by e-pump, and gravity gives it enough flow to supply the house, but it was quite a job to connect everything - and of course you'd need a very stable base for your huge tank. I don't think just putting it on the ground will work.... or maybe it buries itself in the ground over the years?:)

PioneerPreppy said...

That tank maybe large enough to not freeze completely through but if above ground even here in Central Missouri it would layer freeze and buckle. Especially if it was designed to have rainwater flow into it. The large water towers around here are designed to agitate and keep a constant flow inside. What would happen is we would get a hard freeze followed by a partial warming and then another freeze and eventually buckle and split the top section. I have seen it happen. Only way I have seen above ground tanks used here is to disconnect them from the rain flow system and make sure they are at least half empty going into Winter. The 2012 to 2013 Winter surprised some folks (including myself) about water storage up here.

Mamawizzy said...

Hi Leigh,
I love your blog, thanks for all the info! We have just started on our own homestead journey and purchased a couple of the 275 totes for water catchment. I read your earlier post and saw that you planned to paint the totes and wondered if you completed that. If not, here is a link to a video about covering the totes with black plastic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YJPhkd7Jvk That is what we plan to do with ours.

Anyway, congrats on the new purchase. I'll be checking back to see how it goes.


Karen@ onthebanksofsaltcreek.com said...

Excellent! You will really appreciate that this summer.
We just have some small ones but eventually we would like something much bigger. But really, we live in Oregon so water is rarely unavailable.

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Between the cream separator and this, y'all are rockin' and rollin' on your wish lists.

Dani said...

Wonderful :) Congrats!

Soon you'll realize how useful they are and then you'll be looking for a second, then third, etc. With a ball valve watering the goats would be a breeze.

Suggestion - do like we did and put the tank on a concrete slab. When it's full, it'll be very heavy and can sink into sodden ground, which can cause it to topple over - possibly cracking it.

Kris said...

I'm guessing you don't have to fear freezing winter temps down there. Here I have to dump all the rainbarrels by November, else they will freeze /split. I'm glad Dan was in the right place and the right time.

Susan said...

Holey cow! That is one ginormous tank! If you can fill that with rainwater, you'd be set all year.

Harry Flashman said...

That's an excellent acquisition. It always feels good to find something you have really been wanting, and get it at a fair price.

Leigh said...

Kev, I think you're right about the cost of burying, expensive. And if you have a lot of rainfall, I can see why it wouldn't be as much of a priority. We have a long dry spell each summer so we're motivated!

Izzy, we haven't had algae growth, I think because the tanks have been well shaded, plus the water gets used!

Bettina, you all are kind of a model for us. :) Dan is planning some sort of base for it, probably concrete, but I'm not sure. We haven't had an algae problem but if we did, I'd definitely address it.

PioneerPreppy, thank you for coming back and continuing the conversation. :) The exchange with others about their experience is invaluable. So far our winters haven't had sustained freezing temperatures, but there's no telling in the future.

Mamawizzy, thanks! Yes, I did mention painting them, but no, I haven't done it yet. :o The holdup has been finding a paint for plastic that comes in something larger than a dinky spray can. I'm a little hesitant to use black because, even though our tanks don't get a lot of direct sun, I fear what they do get would heat the water too much during our scorching summers. The water in the hose will burn you, and I don't want to take a chance with plants. When I get to it, I'll paint them white.

Karen, you are welcome! I have to agree in Oregon your need is less than ours, so less pressure to get them installed. :)

Candace, amazing, isn't it? :)

Dani, thanks. I'm not sure if Dan was planning on concrete or wood. We'll see!

Kris, we do have freezing temps but they rarely stay that way for more than a day. Daytime highs are usually above freezing, so the thermal mass in the tanks keeps the water from freezing.

Susan, we'll see!

Harry, thanks! Some things are worth waiting for. :)