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How to Make a 6000 gallon water tank
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    We recently completed our newest rainwater cistern.  It cost about $1,600 to make, and took us about a week.  It holds 6,000 gallons of potable water, and can be made by just about anyone.

    We start by leveling a site and making a ring of bricks.  The bricks serve as a foundation for the metal walls of the cistern.  Then, we lay out the metal in a cylinder, bolting it together.  Once the walls are in place, we cut out holes for inlets and overflows.

    The roof sits on a ledge of angle iron inside the walls.  It consists of a PVC frame, covered by billboard vinyl, and then that is covered with a thin cap of acrylic concrete.

    It is pretty easy to do, and gives you a cheap storage space for a lot of water.  If you conserve water, this storage tank could last your family a very long time.

    For more detailed instructions, please visit:

    More photos:

  • 8 Comments sorted by
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2012
    What is your 'pond liner' made from? I'd be interested to know if you've got something that will last for many years without suffering severely from environmental stress cracking and would be easily repairable and/or recyclable even if it cracks. LDPE would be my first guess for a cheap liner.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    January 2013
    i had an idea pop in my head this morning.

    could a person make  a round tank out of ceb and then with sand and a solar mirror sintering process make a glass wall on the inside of the ceb wall.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    January 2013
    heres the wiki area maybe we could add some stuff

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2013
    This may be straying slightly off topic, but I'm also wondering when you say that this holds 'potable' water (i.e. fit for drinking), how you go about filtering bird feces out of the collected rainwater. I'm not sure how well a simple sand-filter might work, and I guess that awkward filtration step is why I mainly see rainwater cisterns, from roof&gutter collection, used to water gardens during dry periods, instead of for drinking.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down February 2013

    Here is a very simplistic video about sand filters.

    Here is a tutorial for making a sand water filter, it also explains how it woks.

    Basically you let beneficial bacteria do all the work for you to remove pathogens.  You just have to wait about 3 weeks or so after initial construction for the good bacteria to be plentiful enough to purify the water.
  • I have looked into water tanks & systems to get or retain water.
    The tank suggested in this topic is a good idea! But why not go with Ferrocement tank? Depending on capital resources, to build one of these would seem more cost effective.
    Supplies are re-bar,wire to tie re-bar, cement, sand, water and corrugated sheet metal (like the kind used on roofs.)
    and plumbing pipe
    Since OSE has CEB they can be used as well for foundation & tank cover.
    Ferrocement can also be used to build sinks, toilets and other items used in daily life. And these tanks can be built into the ground alone or add another tank on top of it for more storage. A sand filter could be used to clean gray waters that then feed into the storage tanks or used for irrigation , rain water collection on all points where run off can be diverted to storage as well. A second tank could be built and used for a small scale hydro electric gen or even smaller tanks can be used with solar heating for hot water.
    There are several ways this could be approached and or looked at.  Check out EMAS's videos that have many great budget minded projects.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2013
    just drew up some first thoughts about a sintered cistern

  • Hi guys and gals:

    My thoughts on rain water tanks. The people at Good Earth Trust are already using CEB (interlocking in this case)  to build water tanks in Africa. They seem to be working quite well. I would think that you could use non-interlocking bricks relatively easily as well with the addition perhaps of some 3-4 mm fencing wire wrapped around each course to give it more tensile strength.

    4ndy, bird poo? Many people in Australia (including myself from the age of 0 through to 12) live on "tank" water as their only drinking source. It's great stuff, doesn't come with any nasty chemicals (chlorine or flueride), things like "bird poo" aren't really a factor.

    It's disappointing that the OSE guys didn't think outside the rectangle when designing the CEB press, it's inability to quickly and easily make interlocking and shaped bricks is why I'm designing my own.

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