holding tank?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by SherryR, May 26, 2006.

  1. SherryR

    SherryR Well-Known Member

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    dont know if this is the right place for this question. What's a simple kind of holding tank I can construct? How are they made? Is it gravity fed water coming in to a tank? What keeps water from being stale? I'm thinking of wintertime, when bringing water to animals begins to numb my hands. How to do it cheaply?
    Thanks for any ideas, info.
    Sherry
     
  2. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    You don't say where you are or what kind of winter temps you enjoy, so I'll make a general observation from a state where -20 can run for a week or so.

    We have a holding tank or "cistern" (the other word you'll hear bandied about) in our basement. It is a cement "box" with a pipe coming in which comes directly from our springhouse up on the hill, an overflow pipe going out which goes into our septic system, and a pipe hooked to a pump which feeds the house. By manipulating shut off valves we can bypass the cistern and put the house on gravity feed but we lose water pressure that way... nevertheless, it can be done and when the power goes out is a blessing.

    The basement location keeps the water from freezing (although winter spring fed is COLD and my cost to heat that into bearable shower water is fairly substantial) and the water is constantly circulating because it is constantly in motion. The object of the game is to hit a balance between inflow and consumption so you're not feeding excess water through the septic system. The flow changes with the seasons so this sort of water system needs constant monitoring. Not constant attention, but you do need to eyeball it every few days.

    The pipes into the house are buried below frost line, so I don't have to worry about freezing. In theory if you keep enough flow going your pipes are not supposed to freeze. In reality... they freeze. Has happened to me twice when frost got too far below the surface.

    So the idea that you should be able to lay a line to the barn and let it run into a holding tank with an overflow pipe going "elsewhere" is probably not going to work in my climate. What would work is burying a line below frost level and installing a winter tap at or in the barn. Bit of a job and I'd recommend a backhoe for it, but you'd have water on demand at the barn.

    EDIT: By the way... this is not a "modern" water system by any stretch of the imagination and were I to sell the property it is quite possible the buyer would insist, as a condition of sale, that a well and pump system be installed. I'm not even sure you could get a construction loan if your water plan was "cistern and springhouse."
     

  3. SherryR

    SherryR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks MC,
    someone else gave me a similar idea, but I didn't understand that it was a 'holding tank'. Sorry about not stating my home state (Maine, right next to yah). Thank you for your explanation-- it gives me some ideas of how i'd proceed.

    Sherry
     
  4. Ann Mary

    Ann Mary Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The latest issue of...oh dear,....I think it was Backwoods Home- has an article on how to build a water storage tank
     
  5. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    In this area of Maine, most of the surface water is brownish.

    It may require treatment [either through oxidation, or UV, or filtering to get something clear] before you begin drinking it.

    Our basement sump area fills on it's own with maybe two feet of water, and must be pumped out every couple hours, otherwise we would have a source of surface water in our crawlspace.