55 gallon drums and water storage

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tacomaboatguy
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55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:21 am

So working in my line of work I have access to quit a few blue 55 gallon drums that are used to hold antifreeze that we use to winterize boat and rv water systems. After they are empty we usually give them away on craigslist. I was thinking about rinsing out the biodegradable and water soluble antifreeze. How does everyone feel about setting up a system that will use one or two for grey water collection out of an rv, and one or two as a container for a bunch of water, either for drinking or washing. (dishes, feet, showers, etc.) This would give my camp 110 gallons of both fresh water and grey water storage that is not already in the rv. This system would be pretty easy to setup for me using 12v fresh water pumps made for boats (One pump to pump into the holding tank of an rv, and one to pump out of the grey water tank), and could be put on a small trailer that could be towed behind a small truck or car. Any ideas for or against this type of system?

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Canoe
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Canoe » Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:10 am

So if the contents of one 55 gal barrel was just water, it would be ~460 lbs?
Trailer needs to be able to take the weight of the number of barrels, and they need to be secured, consider CofG, and the load needs to be balanced.
And labelled. Very well labelled. Barrels and lines. You would not want a mix up in camp.

At what point would x gallons of grey water be considered a Hazardous Waste load?
Permits?

Would it be worth having one of the RV gray/black disposal services empty the grey water from them on the playa to skip having to haul off and dispose of the grey water?
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:22 am

grey water isn't considered a hazardous waste as far as I know of, but black water is (at least in the marine world). Just about every boat out there dumps the grey water overboard into the water, and rv's keep it in a tank just to keep from making a mess on the ground. Just about any little trailer built for a couple of quads would be more than big enough for 2 full drums and 2 empty drums. But most definitely labels everything. I could even go as far as making the fittings for the grey water one size and the fresh water another with non leaking quick disconnects so they couldn't get mixed up.

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Jackass
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Jackass » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:41 am

You're overthinking this a little bit, paint or tape a large X on the grey water barrels and obviously use two separate pumps and line systems for fresh and grey waters. If someone still drinks from or showers with barrels X, that's just going to have to fall in the category of idiotic and it'll be their own damn fault...

" My camelback's full of hair and what smells to be shaving cream or toothpaste spit...damn it!!"
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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some seeing eye
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:11 am

Your heart is in the right place, but food grade water requires food grade storage.

Guessing you are in the PNW. This very weekend is the SEA decompression (search seacompression 2018) with low thousands of burners - so reach out to camps/"booths" there to talk about your barrels - even set up your barrels in a preregistered camp/booth with samples. Publicize what you have on the relevant Seattle FB groups - some might allow free ads, some may not.

(You know we are BM-rabid when we go after decommodifying free.) :lol:

Be prepared to provide a MSDS/SDS for the former contents of the barrels. Me, I would be reluctant to use them for drinking and dish washing water, even showering or garden watering without a lot of research into that MSDS.

Thanks for reaching out to ePlaya, there is a lot of experience here.
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Jackass » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:35 am

I wouldn't want to drink water from a barrel that had antifreeze in it no matter how well rinsed it is, you could end up with a long-term glitch in your matrix. They make perfect grey water barrels though, and you should be able to find used food grade barrels for $20-30 locally.
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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some seeing eye
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:58 am

Slow down there...

Freezing (and boiling) water are a base chemistry and physics phenomenon. There are dozens+ freezing point elevation compounds.

A specific antifreeze may be toxic. Or it may not be toxic, like sodium chloride. But even if the specific antifreeze is non-toxic, the impurity levels may not be food-safe.

(worked in water quality science)
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:04 pm

the barrels are food grade. the antifreeze is used to winterize and keep the drinking water systems in boats, campers, and motor homes from freezing. If it was any other kind of barrel I wouldn't even consider it. I know alot of preppers have used them for long term water storage. This is where I got the idea from. Might do a test run with them. Make sure the water doesn't have a weird taste after sitting in it for a week. Maybe find a place or a test kit I can buy to make sure it is safe.

Im actually volunteering at SeaCompression on Saturday! Really excited to meet others and make connections since I am new the Seattle area.

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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:10 pm

found the msds for the product that comes in the barrels.

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/u ... 8_MSDS.pdf

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Ratty
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Ratty » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:15 pm

Ok. I read your link. I looked up the product and looked up the ingredients. This stuff is safer than salsa. Much safer than FireBall.
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tacomaboatguy
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:02 pm

Ratty wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:15 pm
Ok. I read your link. I looked up the product and looked up the ingredients. This stuff is safer than salsa. Much safer than FireBall.
safer than salsa! haha :lol:

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:40 pm

I have been doing exactly this water arrangement for years... almost 20 of ‘em.
It works great.
I carry extra water on the trailer in food-grade barrels and I bring empty ones for my gray water, also on the trailer, so I’ve got about 100 gallons for myself and the First Mate, mostly for the shower.

I use a Harbor Freight 120VAC pump to transfer fresh water to the camper tank.

For the grey, I find it simpler to just bring a 5-gallon bucket and dump my gray water into it, then pour it into one of my waste barrels. It doesn’t take many trips to handle it.
At auto parts stores you can buy a huge red funnel that looks like a gallon jug with a spout. It works great for this, set it on the waste barrel and pour the bucketfuls in. Nothing to malfunction... even if you go electric I’d recommend bringing the funnel and bucket, being able to dump your drain tank is a “Must Not Fail” thing. I think if you ty it you’ll likely come to the same conclusion I did that it works fine and you don’t need a grey pump.
I bring a jug of bleach and pour some in when I’m dumping grey water into the waste barrels.

You’ll want a water shut-off valve on the end of your fresh transfer hose so you can shut it off when the tank is full without dumping water all over while you run for the switch.

Put a drain valve in your waste tanks. A really large one, that doesn’t take all day to empty them.
Or, do what I do and just push ‘em over on their side to dump them.
You’ll want to hit a rest stop with an RV dump and offload them.

On that note, I’ve gone to smaller jugs, 30-gallon size, because they’re much easier to handle. Full 55s are awful heavy.

You’re absolutely on the right track.
I’ve playa-proven this setup and it really rocks to NOT be one of the people rationing every drop of water, and have a nice hot shower every day with all the rinsing you want. Screw going to BRC and being dirty and grungy. It’s Burning Man! Live large!
Last edited by Captain Goddammit on Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by spacetime » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:40 pm

I echo the heart in right place comment and also any thinking about the burn in off season I think leads to better burns.

That said, Portland, Oregon drained a 38 million gallon reservoir a few years ago because one guy peed in it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/ ... -reservoir

The reason had nothing to do with sanitation and everything to do with optics.

This suggests to me that no matter how clean a drum can be made your average person would recoil at the idea a camp is serving water to its campers from former anti freeze containers.

For bathing, dishes and drinking, It’s a non starter.

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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:56 pm

My camp wouldnt really be open to everyone. It would consist of a few friends, my wife, her daughter and possibly my brother and his roommate.

Captain, thats awesome that you have tried this and it works out. Me being the mechanical liking guy I am, im thinking of having the switch to the pumps inside by the level monitors and the barrels right next to the side of the camper under a nice reflective shade. A bunch of test drives will be in order as a spill is not something I think would be fund to deal with at BRC.

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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:08 pm

I’m all about the machinery too, but for this I’d rather be out by the tanks and hoses making sure everything is OK.
You also don’t want to leave the fill hose in your RV, you’ll want to remove it and put the cap on your water tank. So you gotta go out there.
All you need is a screw-on in-line garden hose shutoff valve at the end of the hose to stop the water when the tank is full, then you shut off the pump.
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:12 pm

I do like how simple it sounds.

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some seeing eye
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:47 am

tacomaboatguy wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:04 pm
Maybe find a place or a test kit I can buy to make sure it is safe.
It is very difficult to test water to see if it is safe. With water testing you need to know what you are looking for and test for that thing. Probably you have friends or friends of friends at your local municipal water testing department or university water quality science department. Best with your project!
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Jackass » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:36 am

Short and simple win the race in BRC, a place where if it can go wrong it probably will. You don't want to spend the week presiding over an overly-complex and issue-riddled water system. Water is just the tip of the iceberg and rather easy to solve, wait until you get to the shade, shelter, transportation and amenities part...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:32 pm

Jackass speaks the gospel...

Another point about using smaller containers like 15s or 30s besides weight is damage control.
If it’s more than just you and one other person, great but for the mix of people you’re talking about, there’s no shortage of horror stories about blowing all the water. I can even tell a few. No matter how much you explain it, someone won’t fully grasp the concept of a finite water supply. They will blast the sink full blast while washing dishes, they will take 20 minute showers, whatever.

If your water supply is compartmentalized, you don’t lose it all in one of these incidents.

Trust me on this one.
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spacetime
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by spacetime » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:15 pm

I’m kinda wondering if this might be like the question about pulling the van backward. If so it is well crafted.

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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by tacomaboatguy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:24 am

Smaller containers is a very good point. That might be something worth looking into instead. Get the smaller cubed jugs. stack them together, save space. Maybe even stack them in the under bed storage in the camper eliminating the need to have someone else tow an extra trailer or try to stack them in the bed of my truck.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:02 am

You want a trailer.
You don’t want your waste water riding with you in the rig on the way out.
Trailers are great for a million reasons for BRC trips.
They give you space for bulky stuff - that will be super dirty on the way home - without filling up the interior of your camper/motorhome.

Another of my longtime playa hot tips that almost no one does: air compressor. Bring a real, 120-volt contractor style air compressor, at least 50 feet of hose, and a blow gun.
Everything gets dusty as hell. Your chairs and tables and clothes and hair and everything. A blow gun works MAGIC on it. I don’t know why more people haven’t figured this out. $100 bucks or so will buy you one if you haven’t already got one.
Awesome playa gear.
100 feet of hose is better. You’ll want the reach and it’s surprising how short 50 feet is outside.
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Re: 55 gallon drums and water storage

Post by Papa Bear » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:05 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:32 pm
No matter how much you explain it, someone won’t fully grasp the concept of a finite water supply. They will blast the sink full blast while washing dishes, they will take 20 minute showers, whatever.

If your water supply is compartmentalized, you don’t lose it all in one of these incidents.
This is very solid advice. Heed it.

Many years ago, a former member of our camp decided to get frisky with his girlfriend in the camp shower. While they were "distracted", they simply let the water run... and drained an entire 55 gallon drum of clean potable water more or less directly into the evaporation pond.

(For the record, I have no idea what they did with the body. This happened before my time with the camp.)

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