Earthbag Water Tank

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by 9anda1f, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    This actually looks do-able for one person (an important consideration for me ...) and far less expensive than the plastic tanks. I'm wondering whether they plaster the inside of the tank?

    https://www.naturalbuildingblog.com/earthbag-water-tanks/

    [​IMG]
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    great to see such simple things that don't involve a huge cost.

    at first i was confused from that picture as those bags certainly look plastic to me... they must have coated it inside, so i did follow the link and yes, they did coat the inside with some sort of plaster, but the method/ingredients are not clear in that link.

    if earth and plaster will work why bother with bags? rammed earth, cob, etc? why not? what do the bags get you other than an easily stackable form? cut down the cost even more and eliminate the bags, go slower and build it with just earth. anyone gone that far yet?

    also, the top could be a flat surface (oblong circle tilted, make the sides higher in a uniform manner on one side) making the whole thing much easier to build... as it would potentially be much lighter it could perhaps even be hinged for access (but the hinge area would have to be reinforced and the cover itself should be set up in such a way to keep it from tearing off the side when opened).
     
  3. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    Great:: but would appreciate more details on waterproof plastering tecniques!
    I have used sand bags to make a temporary gabion
     
  4. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I think you answered your own question, songbird. The bags are the framework and would cut down on the skills needed to ram earth or frame cob. Anyone can dig dirt and stack bags on top of each other without fear of getting it wrong. The plastic bags would be cheap and easy to transport, whereas wood/bamboo/framing may be harder to find in some areas. The plastic would prevent blowouts which could happen with just earth. I believe PP is safer for food/water contact than other plastics too (bar HDPE/LDPE).

    Obviously the rendering is a special skill, hopefully the author expands on the methods.
     
  5. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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  6. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks everyone for finding the information re: plastering the interior of the tank.
    I'm watching your video next SOP!
    = )
     
  7. TLP

    TLP Junior Member

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    Polyethylene is the base product in PEX manufactured tubing, HDPE, under scrutinity. CA has adopted new codes. There is alot to know about safe water, beware.....stick with copper for now, find a flux that is lead free. PP also has the same issues of UV derogation if a UV protector is not in place, any exposure level. Studies are still finding leaching of toxins in potable water. UV breaks down antioxidants that resist chlorine and other chemicals in water.

    https://www.calpipes.org/protectingcalifornians_pex.asp
    https://www.pprc.org/research/rapidresDocs/PPRC_HDPE_Water_Pipe_Safety_FINAL.pdf

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polypropylene

    Rice bags hmmmm...what is the interior material mating to the water?
     
  8. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    try to make sure to use the cleanest sand, simplest (quartz, limestone, ...) aggregates with the cement powder and lime to line and that will cut down on contamination to a large degree. first use of the cistern may need some time to cure and leach out some of the stuff so may want to avoid using the first batch of water from the cistern for sensitive uses if you can avoid that.

    after a while there will be a coating of bacteria on the surface anyways and they will do their thing and that is what it is from then on. if the water tests safe then nothing should be done to disturb the surface coating as much as possible.

    my own preference for really clean water is storage in glass, ceramic or porcelain type containers and if i'm going for really really clean then reverse osmosis (but that eliminates many potentially good minerals). i had to do this for reef aquariums when i was into that years ago (copper is a poison to many marine animals so that was the other reason for using RO water).
     
  9. TLP

    TLP Junior Member

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    Sounds good songbird, so just sand and rock in rice bags inside common to the water?...where do you get rice bags? if we have an all natural tank what is the most natural piping to get to the home and out the facets, safe to drink? Guess any water pump will do if it's the right size.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    no, please do not take my words as expert, i was speaking only of the quality of the ingredients for the lining mix, i don't really know what i would do for the inner parts of the walls themselves, i don't consider myself any sort of expert on this topic that is for sure. : )

    if you live in an area that doesn't freeze you might be able to come up with bamboo sections that would work for temporary pipes that could be recycled once they start leaking too much. i've also seen wood trenches, wood pipes, ceramic pipes, and stone trenches (Machu Pichu in the Andes) used to move water... distance, climate, conditions (freezing potential or freeze/thaw cycles are not much fun to deal with (we have to bury pipes several feet deep around here to prevent the winter cold from freezing them).
     
  11. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I'm puncturing all my water tanks and throwing them out right now.

    The article says the same treatment is used inside as the outside, bar the cement paint so no rice bags or PE bags contact the liquid.

    Bamboo gutters I've seen and stormwater pipes. Pumping will need something under pressure, PVC pipe is all you got. Stainless steel tubing?
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Copper is a health issue too. Too much of it can create mental health issues as it messes with the production of brain neurotransmitters. Regular magnesium and zinc in take can help shift high levels out of your system.
     
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    how long have they been used? are they kept full most of the time? are they in the sun? if they are kept full and have been in use for a long period of time i'd not worry as much, bacteria set up shop and coat the surface in untreated water (and this isn't a bad thing because most bacteria are harmless anyways).
     
  14. TLP

    TLP Junior Member

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    Copper (99.9% pure) used in most plumbing is very non-corrosive. The biggest issues are lead flux now available lead free and pitting corrosion that is very difficult to detect and understand. It can cost lots of money to fix or can be small and localized. Ductile Iron replaced cast long ago since it bends a little better or expands under pressure preventing stress cracks. Get this, if you don't know it is lined with cement in the ID of the tube at the manufacture, some containing portland cement. I have stucco that is approved for potable water with fiberglass in it. So I guess since cement lined has been in existence since the 50's, it is proven save, except the high carbon foot print to the atmosphere to make it.

    New noob on the block PEX, easy to install, lots of class action law suits from leaching chems into water supplies. The stuff is manufactured at high temp and extruded through a die that "cross-links" the molecular structure from a thermoplastic to thermoset. Don't you just love plastics, don't like the family you were born in, leave it to man to adopt you to another ;).....Sun is a big issue since it is made of PE, a member of PP...Know one knows when antioxidant additives such as clourine and fluoride will decompose, it can from shipping it to in the back of a truck to the job site. Less understood in the galvanic corrosion between it and metals such as brass fittings, stainless, etc......It like copper decades ago designed to a 25 year life, although copper, ductile iron, stainless, have already surpassed that test of time. Pick your poisons. I'll probably go with copper, talk with the city chemist. Now they are finding pharmaceuticals and plastics in potable water, small traces of heavy metals the least of our worries. Many chems I can not even pronounce. Rain water is sounding safer these days. There are no governmental regs the manufactures of plastic pipe are held to really, there are astms, test standards, and epa regs that are not enforced. You can manipulate plastics more than metals and not understand what you are doing, the average homeowner and plumber included with chemicals. Outside of chemicals in water, what extends from the city or well or rain water into the home non-professionals create can be more or less of a hazard, that depends on understanding of chemistry, metallic, and plastic engineering. Health is not something to chance to a lack of knowledge. Go figure!
     

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