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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had posted pics on the old "new board" of my rain collection barrels but since that is kaput I will post again here. In Texas we had a very wet June and July but August, September and most of October were very dry. So I was glad when a cold front brought a little needed rain recently. Even though we only got about .75 inch it filled my barrels up to half capacity (about 200 gallons collected).
This winter I plan to purchase a Big Berkey water filter with black berkey filters so I could safely drink this water in an emergency. The odds of ever losing municipal water are very low but the consequences of having no water are dire. I don't like to rely on others to provide water in an emergency the way my parents had to in LA after an earthquake.
D.
 

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could'nt you just boil it before you drink it? i like the system, but i'd like to have it insulated so it does'nt freeze, may not be a problem in texas, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
You could boil it but you're using energy that could be used to cook food or keep you warm. If your water is knocked out what are the odds of having electricity/gas also? Not a problem if you have an unlimited supply of firewood. Filtering gets out all the suspended solids, impurities, dead bacteria, etc that will still be floating around in your boiled water.
I'm not worried about freezing so much here. Plenty of room for expansion in the barrels if it did freeze though.
D.
 

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Because of limited yard space, I was considering burying two or three of these barrels to just below their rims under the downspouts and attaching hand pumps to get the water out. Water would enter the barrels after a coarse filtering through crushed rock and mesh. These would mostly be for the kids to water their vegetable gardens in the summer, but it would be nice to have in an emergency. Are there any issues with burying these containers (deterioration, etc)? I plan on laying several inches of crushed rock below the barrels and surround them with sand. We do not have issues with the ground freezing here. Thanks :) .

Keith
 

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The lite barrels that are usually white or blue, such as those used for animal feed or for storing water can get brittle, but the thicker, heavier constructed, semi-clear white or similarly constructed black barrels should last for many years. You can even get them for free if know the right people. If you get them from a soft drink distributor then they may smell of Coca-cola or Mountain dew, but they will be immediately usable. I got mine for free from a trucking company where they had contained gear oil. I rinsed them thoroughly before storing gasoline in them but I'm not sure I would have wanted to store drinking water in them. No issues with burying all but a few inches of them as long as you don't have to worry about freezing. Burial might even help them last longer as they will have less exposure to UV and the weather. The pit lined with crushed rock would be good, but I would put sand under the barrels, between them and the rock, to cushion them from the rock. You don't want to surround them with sand as they will need room to expand when warm weather heats them up. I would also put lawn edging or something around them to prevent someone tripping over them or you hitting them with a lawn mower or something.
 

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The lite barrels that are usually white or blue, such as those used for animal feed or for storing water can get brittle, but the thicker, heavier constructed, semi-clear white or similarly constructed black barrels should last for many years. You can even get them for free if know the right people. If you get them from a soft drink distributor then they may smell of Coca-cola or Mountain dew, but they will be immediately usable. I got mine for free from a trucking company where they had contained gear oil. I rinsed them thoroughly before storing gasoline in them but I'm not sure I would have wanted to store drinking water in them. No issues with burying all but a few inches of them as long as you don't have to worry about freezing. Burial might even help them last longer as they will have less exposure to UV and the weather. The pit lined with crushed rock would be good, but I would put sand under the barrels, between them and the rock, to cushion them from the rock. You don't want to surround them with sand as they will need room to expand when warm weather heats them up. I would also put lawn edging or something around them to prevent someone tripping over them or you hitting them with a lawn mower or something.
Excellent suggestions, thanks :). No need to worry about mowing, though. My yard is completely covered with rock, plants and barkdust. I'm so lazy, if I hadn't spent the hundreds of hours I did getting rid of the grass, I'd never mow and it would constantly be three feet high. I still remember our first summer here...the old Rottweiller jumping through the grass cause it was too high for her to walk through.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The barrels (white and blue) you see in the pictures above are very thick (maybe 1/8 inch plus in places), food grade plastic and are very sturdy. I think they could be burried with no problem. I got my barrels free from a winery. The barrels are used to transport juice and wine and are usually not reused.
It would be a lot of work to bury them. Also would be difficult to see what the water level is inside unless you had some kind of float or dip stick.
D.
 

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The barrels in black or white (the white are semi-clear so you can check content level) are what I was talking about and the difference is they are hard and you can't push in on the sides. The ones that don't last because they get brittle when kept full and exposed to sunlight are the same consistancy plastic as a bleach or detergent bottle and are flexible enough that they give if you push on the side with just a finger. Usually, these weaker barrels are blue or solid white that you can't see through, and don't have the reinforcing ribs. They are intended for transport use and not long term storage.
 
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