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Dances with Salmon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a few 50 Gallon Drums recently for dirt cheap. They are from a car wash and had soap in them.
Are these suitable only for non-potable H2O or can I do anything to keep the H2O from growing moss and other things? Do to storage constraints they will have to be stored outdoors in the sun.
I was wondering about maybe sandblasting them lightly and painting them a dark color?
Any thoughts or experiences anyone can share would be appreciated.
 

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Watchful and Hopeful
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The concern with non-food grade containers is not only what was stored in them but the material from which it is constructed. Plastics on non food grade containers or containers not originally constructed from materials intended to hold potable water have the potential to leech contaminents into the contents. These leeched chemicals are often times carcinogenic. They could be good options as rain water catches for flushing toilets, plants, washing etc
 

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Dances with Salmon
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep that is another idea I was thinking of pursuing is re-purposing shower water for the toilets, rainwater for the garden, etc. Although rainwater in S/W Idaho is nothing to write home about. :)
I just wanted to get my H2O storage beefed up. I have a 500 gallon hot tub, but that is really about it. We use salts to keep the water clean never chemicals, so with my filters and/or boiling I feel pretty safe about drinking from it.
 

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Check out Paint for Plastic from Rustoleum. I can't say how it would weather outside, but it would make a great primer as it really sticks; I've used it on signs and plastic plates with really loud patterns [non-food use] and it covers really well.

As far as the contents, if you wouldn't eaten it, it's for non-potable use only [which can be good for hand washing, clothes washing, etc.]. Somebody on Craigslist had a bunch of containers that I would have loved to have...but they had contained something that was flammable. Can't use for potable water what had non-potable contents.

For storing them outside, why not build a simple shade to block the sun? If you want warm water, paint them a dark color. If you want it cooler, paint it white, or paint half white and half dark and turn them with the seasons so that the light color faces the sun in the summer and the dark in the winter or whatever.

Use unscented, plain bleach to keep the moss and stuff from growing. For one gallon it's 1/8th of a teaspoon [per the folks at the Colorado State Extension; most would say the same except these folks were kind enough not to use just the '5 to 7 drops' recommendation], so multiply that out and you get 6.25 teaspoons, or two tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon [to make it easier to measure out; three teaspoons equal one tablespoon]. Use plastic measuring spoons if you have them, or really rinse the metal ones immediately; bleach can pit metal.
 

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I thought most plastic barrels are made of HDPE, and are considered food grade, not that I would want to use them to store drinking water.

Don't fool with any container from a car wash that has held wheel cleaner or aluminum brightener that contains hydroflouric acid or ammonium biflouride. If the container is marked "poisonous" that is a tip off. HF is BAD STUFF. It is rarely used anymore, so it's unlikely you have one that has held that solution. Most other carwash solutions are relatively safe and biodegradable. I have fuel stored in a couple right now.

Hardware stores sell a plastic paint that holds up pretty well on plastic surfaces It would prevent you from going to the trouble of sandblasting.
 

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Food grade drums

Some companies recycle their plastic drums, so you can't always be sure of what has been in them. Food grade drums should only have had food grade products in them so they are safe. I used to get food grade drums from a food processing kill plant. They used a vegetable food grade dye to mark their DOA chickens. These were excellent drums for potable water storage. Add a little bleach and you had a safe water supply.
 
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