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#226270 - 06/21/11 01:54 AM Long Term Water Storage
Ironwood Offline

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 87
Forgive me (or direct me) if this has been hashed out previously, I searched but did not see any obvious examples.

I bought a 250 gallon bladder for drinking water (military surplus)and am curious what should be added to water for long term storage. The bladder is about 48" diameter and 6' tall. VERY thick flexible rubber and was originally used for drinking water. It has SERIOUS clevises and brass flanges and standard pipe fittings for use. It is designed to be lifted from the clevises, I may make a steel "pallet" to hold it.

Any thoughts on treatments?

Thanks Ironwood

#226272 - 06/21/11 02:44 AM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Uh... no.... maybe chlorine?

Just be real careful where you set it. 250 gallons = 2040 lbs. Make sure whatever you set it on can support that much weight set onto a four foot diameter. Be pretty silly if you punched a hole through your second story floor or something.

#226274 - 06/21/11 02:50 AM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6580
Loc: southern Cal
I think I would just fill it with tap water and then treat the water as it was used, employing some of the standard wilderness/backpacking methods like Aquamira, a Steripen, etc. or just plain old boiling. I would be inclined to change the water on an annual basis and check carefully for any algal growths.

That is a massive tank! Frankly, I would prefer several smaller containers that would be more portable.

You might see if you could submit samples for testing to see if any bad stuff appears. My experience is that often stored water can remain drinkable for at least a year, but you would want to be sure.
Geezer in Chief

#226283 - 06/21/11 05:06 AM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
If the tank is designed for water, and the water you put in is clean, you don't treat it. Clean water properly stored doesn't go bad. People have stored water in cisterns for thousands of years and used it without treatment.

Given that this is a rubber bladder you can expect some rubber taste, and it will be stale and flat, but it should store well enough.

There are various chemicals that will help keep it fresh, these are used on yachts where water is stored for months, but most don't make the water any safer. Some people use a carbon filter to remove the taste left from the tank, and it often helps to pour it between pitchers, letting it drop several feet to increase agitation, so oxygen lost during storage is restored and it tastes less flat and stale, but it just corrects aesthetic issues.

Traditional sailors cut their water with rum or whiskey, or, the more genteel sort, make coffee or tea with it. Some split the difference.

#226292 - 06/21/11 10:32 AM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3599
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I've always been under the understanding that clean water in a clean container doesn't need treating, as long as it's keep out of direct sunlight.

If it's a second-hand container you might consider testing it to make sure it's clean and not leaching any unfriendlies into the water.
Mom & Adventurer

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#226315 - 06/21/11 03:12 PM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
roberttheiii Offline

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Connecticut, USA

#226318 - 06/21/11 04:27 PM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
You don't say what material the bladder is composed of. If it is rubber-based, chlorine bleach can make it hard and brittle, esp over the long-term.

If the water you put in the bladder is clean, and the inside of the bladder is clean, nothing should contaminate it.

May I assume that the bladder was used for only water, and not something harmful that may leach into your stored water?


#226344 - 06/21/11 09:39 PM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
Ironwood Offline

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 87
Thanks for your replies and insights. Yes it is a BIG container. I have the means to move it (here and in my BOT) and actually inadvertantly "tested" it when my sling slid off the fork of my forktruck and it BOUNCED! on the gravel (loaded). I actually think these are designed for air lifting and EXTREME use. I forget the name of the company that supplied the military with them but they are CRAZY durable and it looks like it was never used. I want to say it cost 4-6K new, so that will give you a sense of quality of construction.

Thanks Again, Ironwood

Edited by Ironwood (06/21/11 10:25 PM)

#226348 - 06/21/11 10:24 PM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
Ironwood Offline

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 87
Just a few other observations, we are on a 175' well, with city water access (we have not hooked up). We are on about 20 acres. The only thing I worry about during outages or emergencies is water for our family of 5. I have multiple gens (gasoline, diesel and NG) to pull it out of the ground but a large supply 50 days worth in a ready access "system" gives me piece of mind. Also worth mentioning is the fact that I can mobilize it both here at home, and on the road, our BOV is a 4 door diesel flatbed truck, with a 10K trailer (both have cranes, truck is 3200# Venturo, trailer is manual 2000#.

So, while it may sound a little "crazy" it works for us. I do have multiple jerry water jugs for typical usage.


#226359 - 06/22/11 12:26 AM Re: Long Term Water Storage [Re: Ironwood]
celler Offline

Registered: 12/25/03
Posts: 410
Loc: Jupiter, FL
I would really love to see a picture of this thing.

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