Concrete or plastic water tank?

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3 years 19 hours ago #554648 by JohnB
Hi people,

We are planning to get a new water tank in the next month or two to take water from our new barn. We've only had plastic tanks in the past but I'm thinking maybe go with concrete. I've read a bit about it but would like some personal opinions on whether there are any benefits. Is the water noticibly better? Is it cooler? Are they prone to cracking and leaks? Anything else we should think about?

Thanks

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3 years 17 hours ago #554649 by LongRidge
We have both. The concrete ones are more than 30 years old now and have no leaks yet. There is special concrete tank sealant available that seems to work very well and is easy to use. One of the results of the Kaikoura earthquake was that concrete tanks broke, especially when they were close to each other and hit together. I think that not many of the tanks damaged by Kaikoura were replace with concrete.
Our plastic tanks are big enough so that the water takes a very long time to warm up to ambient temperature. They are difficult to walk on. When people have water that is more acidic than optimal they drop a concrete block into the tank to reduce the alkalinity. 30000 L plastic tanks weigh about 400 kg so they need serious equipment to move them, but not as serious as a concrete tank would need.
I would not bother with concrete tanks.

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3 years 16 hours ago #554650 by linrae
What area are you in ??
If in Wairarapa Hawkes Bay forget about concrete due to Earthquakes.Or any shakey area
We have been on tank water for 30+ Years and these days would not consider Concrete tanks.
For your pumping system I would also use a top outlet suction (cant think proper name) rather than bottom outlet as you can keep pickup off the bottom No crap in lines,Put a filter in your inlet lines also.
Which ever way you go make sure you have a solid base: for Plastic Metal then sand is important. all compacted

It is important that you have on you inlet line some way of isolating or blocking the underground line (if One) at house or barn if and when you want to treat clean or paint roof, Any residue stays in underground line till at least 3-4 complete heavy volume rains.
Water from line will taint your tank water damm quick

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3 years 11 hours ago #554651 by Stikkibeek
We also have both. The oldest concrete one, 3000 Gal, was installed in 1964 and started to crack and leak about four years ago after we ran out of water and cleaned it before a new delivery. Water eventually reaches the steel reinforcing causing it to rust and swell which is what causes them to leak. The water tasted better from it due to lime leaching into the water. We only had a benchline filter for it. Since we put in the plastic tanks, 2x25,000L we have had continuous staining of vitreous china in bathrooms and toilets and the shower goes blue quite regularly. Blue shower This is due to the acidic nature of rain water on our copper pipes. To combat the putrid water smell/taste of water from plastic, we put in a first flush between the spouting and tank, which keeps debris out of the water. If you get a floating intake, or try to put a vacuum flush into a Bailey tank, you'll have to do that plumbing before you stand it upright as an average sized man will not fit into the man-hole at the top of the tank without a struggle, let alone to put in a ladder to get out again. Devan tanks are a better choice to plumb a standing tank We also have two filters between the tanks and household supply. a 20 micron followed by a 5 micron, and then at the sink in the kitchen a .5 micron on the under bench filter for drinking and cooking water. You will also need to put in a foot valve near the tank outlet incase you need to avoid priming the pump to get water started again after having the pump off for any reason

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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3 years 7 hours ago #554652 by Hawkspur
Plastic tanks also broke in the Greendale and Christchurch quake. I doubt the concrete ones did any worse.

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2 years 11 months ago #554656 by Kilmoon
We have just recently replaced a 45-50 year old underground leaking 30,000 L concrete tank with two new 20,000 L Oasis concrete tanks. We choose concrete over plastic for several reasons:
- they are their own retaining wall. If we had gone plastic we would have had to have built a retaining wall to keep the bank away from the plastic. Plastic can't be buried or have soil around them.
- price: only $400 more per tank over similar plastic size
- longevity: plastic lasts 15-20 years tops, these concrete ones will last at least 50
- cost for delivery: we're south of Dunedin, these two tanks came from Christchurch, $3000 for a truck to go pickup and bring south and then deliver and place on site. I'm sure that we made on that deal as I had expected as much again re transporting just under 20t over distance etc. They are 9.5t each empty.
- taste....I much prefer to drink water out of a concrete tank than a plastic one

We have no filters on anything in or out and have never been ill. God knows why you all feel the need to sterilise your water to town specs....your immune system is only as good as the training you give it. We did have both filled half full at the time as no rain was on the horizon, I am just glad of the recent rain as it has diluted the chlorine taste and stench of the town water. It got to the point that I was bucketing water out of our old tank for cuppas. All up I was surprised at how cheap it was from what I had mentally budgeted for. Once I paint them the same as the house this summer they'll 'blend' in nicely.

So whichever you put in think of the longterm advantages, not just your wallet in the shortterm.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ronney

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2 years 11 months ago - 2 years 11 months ago #554659 by tonybaker
have had a concrete tank for 30 years and it was second hand when I got it and yes we have had some shakes too. I would go concrete if you are health conscious, but I guess you stand to get as many nasties from the plastic plumbing and alkathene pipework anyway!
If you do go concrete, damage can be done if the crane person is not aware that you have to put a brace (4x2 will do) between the lifting eyes or they risk collapsing the tank. I put down crusher dust for the base and it has been fine. The "manhole" is big enough that I can get into it fairly easy. I installed a diy floating outlet and a short flexible hose to the filters (20 micron and 1 micron) then on to a small pump . I also painted it white to keep it cool.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
Last edit: 2 years 11 months ago by tonybaker.

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2 years 11 months ago #554676 by Ronney
We also have both, the plastic being the latest addition, and it's main use will be for stock water and will come off our barn roof. Personally, I would go for concrete. This house is over 40 years old with the original concrete tank and there is nothing wrong with it and will probably last another 40 years. I once lived in a house over 100 years old with the original concrete water tank. It was of it's time and had no top with the result I had to put bits of timber or polystyrene in it for the frogs to get on to as the water level dropped. :) And as a matter of interest, frogs in your water tank are a bonus as they keep it clean.

I am also 100% with Kilmoon - we have no filters, no first flush, no nothing. It comes off the roof, into the tank and into the house. I just have to wonder how our forbears managed to survive!

John, I guess there is no right or wrong answer to your question, much of it is a matter of experience and personal opinion. My experience and personal opinion is that I would rather stick with concrete because I know that even an old tank will still be functioning well after I'm not. I think it was Longridge who mentioned that there are products available to repair concrete tanks (and troughs). However, you need to do your homework in terms of price, transport, installation etc. as well as how long you think you may stay on this property.

And if you can afford it, underground tanks are the BEST. I lived on a rural property where the house had been empty for 3 years. Underground tank and the water was pure, cool, just the best after that time. If I ever build (which I won't) this would be the way I would be going.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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2 years 11 months ago #554677 by linrae
All houses should have tanks stop lot of spillage onto streets in downpours.

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2 years 11 months ago #554678 by JohnB
Thanks everybody that was really helpful. I think we'll go with concrete. We are in the Waikato so no serious shaking problem to worry about. Good point about the retaining wall too, it means we can cut the tank into the hill.

Cheers

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2 years 11 months ago #554695 by max2
Wait list for plastic tanks is approx 3 months atm. I have just ordered another one and the wait time was the same across all suppliers...

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2 years 10 months ago #555003 by Kiwi Tussock
I questioned a neighbour 'cause we had the same question.
He said that in Southland sometimes frosts are heavy and concrete is more likely to split/crack, especially if the tank is new.
IF concrete tank is new, and its winter when you are in staling it, then its more of a concern.
But he also replaced a tank which he reckoned was 30 plus years old and which had developed a crack. The 1st big frost that winter, shattered it

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2 years 10 months ago #555046 by Bjorny
I'd go concrete. It will last longer and is much healthier. Good luck.

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