A guide to healthy rainwater tanks

These relatively simple DIY modifications to your rainwater tank system can ensure cleaner, healthier water for domestic use. Polyethylene or plastic water tanks are generally easier to modify than steel water tanks.

The drawing below illustrates some of the modifications you can make to your rain water tank. These modifications will help stop some debris getting into the water tank, draw sediment from the bottom out to waste, and ensure that you pump water to your taps from cleaner water in your water tank.  Your water will taste like champagne…

tank tips

Water tank inlet and access openings very often allow polluted water, which collects on top of the water tank, to flow in to the tank at these points. Protect these top openings by fixing a sealed up-stand frame around the opening, fitted with a hatch cover to stop pollutant entry.

Sludge builds up in the bottom of water tanks over time, and pollutes the water that is drawn from this area by the pressure pump.

Tanks can be piped to make the bottom self cleaning to a degree, by extending the overflow inside the tank down to the bottom, so that pollutants are drawn from the bottom when the tank overflows, and clean upper level water is not wasted. This vacuuming effect can be enhanced, by cutting serrations in the end of the overflow pipe on the tank bottom to increase the speed of flow. The cleaning effect can be further improved, by connecting the overflow to a pipework collector grid on the floor of the water tank, with holes drilled at intervals on the underside of the collector pipes. It is important that you drill a hole in a fitting, or the pipe, at the top of the overflow loop to stop the tank being siphoned dry when it overflows.

Connection points for pump inlets should not be in the poorly oxygenated and debris laden zone at the bottom of the water tank, but ideally a distance up from the bottom to minimise suspended solid pick up, and ensure the best quality water is pumped to the house. Fit a new pump connection point 200 – 300mm higher up in the tank side, and use the original connection when you need to drain the tank or draw off sediment.

water tank

Source: ABC Tasmania

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