Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Rain Water Storage System

Last year I posted in the blog about my well pump motor going out. I told how the water table had gone down 30' in the first twelve years since it was put in, and how it had gone down 235' in the last eight years. I had the pump lowered 200' more but the well is only 630' deep. If the water table keeps dropping at the rate it is, I will have water only seven and a half more years. Of course the water table could rise back some and my fears would be for naught. With this drought I feel I should plan for the worst, and I am.

I got lucky, years ago, on a welding job and was able to get a 5,000 gallon fiberglass water tank for free. I installed it for rain water collection, but the tank was so tall that it had to be put in a 4' deep hole in the ground so the gutters would drain into it. What I didn't realize was it would keep me from adding onto the system because of its height. In February I was able to sell the tank to a man for the price I could buy two new 2,500 gallon, plastic tanks. In the meantime I located a granite company that had eight new 3,000 gallon plastic tanks they had bought but then decided to sell because the economy went bad and they were worried that business would decline. Lucky me, as they were selling them for less than half price. Although I bought all eight of them, four equaled the price I sold the other tank for. Now that I know it's going to really happen I thought I would post the process of getting the new system up and running.

I have read extensively on rain water collection so was able to get the other system set up without too much problem. I already have the gutters and the roof washer, but because this system will also be plumbed to the house, there is much more to do. There will be a new water house to contain the pressure pump, pressure tank, and a filter system. The water for the garden will come off after the pressure tank but before the filter system. One of my customers is in the water filtration business and has agreed to help me with that end of it. I will be doing all the work myself, with the chief helping of course. Lyn is always hands on with all the big projects we do here but she is a tiny thing and I always worry about her getting hurt. It hasn't happened yet, other than a mashed finger here or a bruise there. I have worked in all kinds of construction for 35 years and know what to look out for but she might not. When I tell her it's time for her to get back and let me take care of it she knows it's time to get back and let me take care of it. Although these tanks are not heavy, at about 440#, they don't have handles or lifting cleats, so are really hard to load, move and set up. Thank goodness I have a lot of really good friends. So let's start with removing the old tank.

Big Andy and Steve were the unlucky ones this time. We pulled it out of the hole it was in with the gin poles on my welding truck and was able to lay it down on the back of my trailer.

We laid a piece of carpet over the back edge of the trailer and pushed it onto the trailer. That wasn't too bad.

We put two by fours angled in from the sides to make a V shape so as to cradle the tank. As the weight of the tank went up the back of the trailer, the back of my little Toyota truck started rising. It stayed on the ground, but just barely.

Does it look like the tank made it out from under the carport roof? It lacked two inches. We had to let the air out of the trailer tires to pull out with out tearing off the gutters. Then we aired the tires up again.

After the 5,000 gallon tank was removed we started to prepare for the placement of the new tanks. Remember what I said about having some good friends. Well, I mean some really good friends. Here's Billy with his Bobcat working to fill in the hole and grade the ground to as near level as he can get it.

I shot the site with a sight level so we could walk out with a tape measure and see how much more Billy had to take off. As long as it ended up a little low it would be OK. It would just take a little more sand to level it. I used sand as it is considered to be self-compressing. In other words, you don't need to tamp it, just wet it down after leveling.

Next post I'll show the plumbing of the first tank. It will be the most difficult as it is the one first in line off the gutters. I did also want to show these rain barrels that I found while researching tanks. They are made in Burnet and you can buy right from the company. They come in several colors and look quite nice.


Pam/Digging said...

Wow, you DO have good friends. The water table situation is frightening. Very frightening.

Unknown said...

Great project- I'll be following your installation tale.

Elgin_house said...

Wonderful--thanks for posting this. I hope to install a water collection system too someday (albeit on a much more modest scale), so I'm looking forward to following your progress. Best of luck!

xlpharmacy said...

Indeed it is a fantastic project, good shots.

Richelle Loughney said...

Setting up water storage tanks can be challenging, especially if it’s that big! Good thing you traded it for two smaller tanks to get the same capacity. Setting up two smaller tanks is easier work, after all. And it’s also good that the new ones you got are plastic. With those, you won’t have to worry about rust and corrosion, which are the biggest problems with steel water storage tanks. However, you still have to clean those every once in a while for maintenance purposes.