Water Storage

Water Storage

I love to repurpose things whenever possible.  A couple of my latest projects involve Greek Olive Oil Barrels.

Olive oil barrel storage. I really had to figure out where to find used food grade barrels in Southern California
Greek Olive Oil food grade Barrel for water storage – Before clean up and project alterations.  It is a food grade plastic 55 gallon drum

Project 1: Drinking Water Storage.

When we put in the tankless/ on demand water heater, one major concern was we would no longer have a tank water heater for an Emergency Water source in case of disaster like an major earthquake.  We needed to find a green alternative, just in case. I decided an extra large food grade barrel would be the best container for the purpose.  Lots of articles online made it seem like a variety of companies just discarded used plastic drums all the time or give them away free.  Around here, that sure isn’t the case anymore.  There seems to be a whole re-purposing and resale community for them, and finding a nice condition food grade 55 gallon barrel to buy locally was pretty difficult.  I made lots of phone calls and dozens of searches on the internet for “where to find a food grade plastic barrel” through local suppliers.  The used resale prices range from $20 to $50, and a lot of businesses charge $80 or more a drum, and those are for new barrels.  Eeek!  The blue drums with permanent tops were the cheapest, and I found lots of them for sale on craigslist, but they aren’t what I was looking for.  I wanted a large drum that could be opened and closed easily to thoroughly scrub it with soap and water, and plumbed to accommodate a hose bib at the bottom.  After weeks of looking, I found olive oil 55 gallon drums in a pretty terracotta color on craigslist out in Ontario.  I was delighted the place was only asking $20 each, especially after seeing much higher prices online and calling around.

Everyone keeps asking me why I wanted a hose bib on the drum.  It was for ease of use.  I plan to change over the water to keep it fresh every 3 to 6 months.  I am a total weakling and dumping the barrel would be difficult for me since a full drum probably weighs 300 pounds.  I didn’t want to do the siphoning thing if there was a easier alternative.  By putting a hose bib on it, I could empty and divert the water easily into the garden by just attaching a hose and opening the valve.   The two drinking water drums are raised up on cinder blocks to help gravity empty the water when the time comes.  One bonus, the terracotta color is not too distracting or ugly in the garden.  The barrels look a lot like most of the rain barrels sold online.

Project 2:  Since I had to drive 45 minutes away to get the barrels and they were only $20 each, I decided I might as well get as many as would fit in my car.  After some adjusting of the seating and shoving, it turns out that number was three.  Two drums are now used to hold our emergency water.  I decided the third could easily be turned into a rain barrel, despite the fact it doesn’t rain in the Southern California/ Los Angeles area often enough to make much of an impact on our water bill.  I did the same plumbing of a bib at the bottom, but I also added screening to the underside of the lid to allow the water to pour in without leaves going along with the water while keeping mosquitoes out.   The downside of the rain barrel collection project is now I realize I probably need to expand the amount of gutters we have on the house in order to get as much water collected as possible.

Update July 2021: These are much easier to find now in 2021.

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