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55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Discussions about water storage, filtration, purification and procurement

55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Snook » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:24 pm

I read many different opinions on here and on different sites about how to properly store water for long term use. Last year I purchased some 55 gallon drums from my water company. They said they are food grade and already were disinfected. They did have a sweet smell to them. I thought maybe it was syrup stored in them before. I still washed these out with bleach and rinsed thoroughly. I filled the barrels from my garden hose but let it run for 5 minutes to flush out. I poured 1/3 cup beach (unscented) and sealed tight. I had these store on my porch for a year or so where they got direct sunlight for part of the day. I do live in the south where it is very hot for most of the year. I opened these up recently only to find some nasty algae. So, what do I need to change. Also, I has several 7 gallon jugs I use and treat them with bleach as well. I stored them in my garage for a year and they were fine.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby DR1VENbyKNOWLEDGE » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:46 pm

What color are the drums?

If UV is getting thru, that would do it...

Sunlight is what causes the algae from what I understand.(mostly with what you've mentioned as precautions that you've already taken)......No sunlight in.

Everything else stated sounds fine other than the garden hose, but the bleach should have killed off any contaminates from the hose itself after a 5 min run.

I dont use any bleach in mine since my city adds chloramine as a disinfectant...I rotate it out about every 6 months.... 2 50 gallon drums(dark blue) purchased from Wise Foods and stored in my garage.
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Postby rebnavy1862 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:00 pm
Driven, are you sure you are from Kalifornia? You make a lot of sense.
Reb"Then call us Rebels if you will, we glory in the name, for bending under unjust laws and swearing faith to an unjust cause, we count as greater shame". Richmond Daily Dispatch May 12 1862
Semper Fi, Sic Semper Tyrannis, Remember The Alamo, and Aide'toi et Dieu T'aidera!
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby kenjabroni » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:07 pm

Im pretty sure you are talking about the blue drums. If they are in direct light in the south then that is the issue. I have a very dark green, almost black, 600 gallon tank here in TX and I bleach it and it has gotten some algae before. You need to make sure to either build some sort of screen or block that prevents the barrels from getting the direct sun because it combined with the heat will produce the algae after time even when treated with bleach.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Fullmoon » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:19 am

There are water storage tanks on the market that are made from food grade plastic that prevent UV light from penetrating. I have 3 of them , 3000 gallon, and 2 1550 gallon sized tanks sitting up on the hill in direct sunlight with no bleach added to the water and have never had any problems. The water stored in these tanks remains pristine. These tanks come in different sizes and configurations to fit any situation. Might be a good thing to look on the web for a better storage vessel. Another prospect is rain catching storage tanks built to fit up against walls of the house.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby 3ADScout » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:54 pm

Snook,

Sounds to me like you some how got used drums and the residual contents leached out and into your water. Around me most used plastic barrels held Apple Juice and I have seen this happen when they get warm. I would have thought however that the bleach would have stopped the growth. One of the things I always plan for is for my water to go bad (Murphy's law) so I always plan on having to treat/filter it, if I don't that's great. One of the things you might do is re-fill the container (after cleaning) and put a one ounce silver coin in the barrel. Silver is a natural algicide. Check again in 3 months, 6 months and a year. If you have issue just keep changing out the water sooner or later whatever was in the barrel will be leached out totally. Also I try to change my water once a year regardless. Also just curious did you use "city" water or well water?
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Snook » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:06 pm

The barrels i have are white. I don't have a place to store them in shade at the moment. My only option is outside. Maybe covering them with a tarp will help. I will look into barrels that block UV. That sound like my best option until I build something.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Snook » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:10 pm

@ 3ADScout- It was city water. If the water does go bad and there was a situation that I had to drink it, what's the best way to filter/purify it? If the water looks and smells ok regardless of how long it has been stored, is it drinkable or should I still filter/purify it to be safe?
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby 3ADScout » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:09 pm

Snook,

Just an FYI, the white barrels are very susceptible to break down from UV rays. Every one we had cracked and disintegrated within 3-5 years. We had grain in them. (Was nice to have Prepper parents to make those mistakes for me to learn from). They look fine just sitting there until you try to move them.

As far as the water, I have a Katadyn Vario but I also have glass tubes of sodium hypochlorite (military surplus). I would cut your losses and get some blue food grade barrels. If you google how to clean them you should be able to find a way to speed up getting the product that is leached into the plastic out. I would also see what others on here say. Especially that live in a climate like yours, I'm from NW PA so we don't dare store water outside! Good luck.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Norman11 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:58 pm

I think your answer is your Garden Hose . Did you sanitize it? As a motorhome owner I have to deal with this all the time. We use a White Hose only to fill the water tank and try to keep it as germ free as possible. Use a sanitary wipe on the inlet and outlet, and the hose bib before you connect
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby anita » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:58 pm

There are hoses specifically for potable water. Your normal hose is not to be used for drinking water. I suppose it could have some algae build-up if it were coiled with water laying in it, but you shouldn't be using it to fill the containers anyway. I bought a hose for potable water on Emergency Essentials, I believe.

I would think having the containers in the sunlight and heat is definitely a problem, and probably your main problem.
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby rebnavy1862 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:50 pm

anita wrote:There are hoses specifically for potable water. Your normal hose is not to be used for drinking water. I suppose it could have some algae build-up if it were coiled with water laying in it, but you shouldn't be using it to fill the containers anyway. I bought a hose for potable water on Emergency Essentials, I believe.

I would think having the containers in the sunlight and heat is definitely a problem, and probably your main problem.

White potable water hoses are available at most RV stores and in the RV/boating section of Walmart.
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"Then call us Rebels if you will, we glory in the name, for bending under unjust laws and swearing faith to an unjust cause, we count as greater shame". Richmond Daily Dispatch May 12 1862

Semper Fi, Sic Semper Tyrannis, Remember The Alamo, and Aide'toi et Dieu T'aidera!
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Snook » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:23 pm

Would using a white water hose really make that much of a difference? I would think so If the water were from a sterile source. But, wouldn't the contaminants in a regular garden hose be in the water pipes where the water is coming from as well?
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby daaswampman » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:43 pm

Potable water hoses are not germicidal in any way and they are not sterile. The type of plastic would only make a difference if water stayed in the hose for prolonged periods of time. I have been drinking from nasty old Garden Hoses my entire life and I would bet I am healthier than almost anyone on the board. Anything in the water will be in the hose from the moment you use it, unless you have figured out a way to sterilize and dry the inside of the hose after every use!

The advantage of a potable water hose is to remind you what its for and to not leave it laying in the yard for months. You could dash out and buy one of these hoses, clean and refill your barrels, then wait a year and see it that fixed the problem! Or you could empty those barrels, haul them to the nearest landfill, get new smaller containers, refill them on a regular bases and know you always have good water that is safe to use! Swamp
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Snook » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:51 pm

Thanks for all the great advice!
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Re: 55 gallon drum storage. What did I do wrong?

Postby Cumberland » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:51 pm

Thanks for the info. Starting my water system in a week. A lot of good information in these post. :thumbsup:
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