For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

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Heimhenge
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For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by Heimhenge »

Not totally off grid here, but totally off city water. Been using a 2000 gal HDPE storage tank as a buffer between my home and my well. My well has performed unpredictably over the last few years, occasionally requiring expensive water deliveries. No surprises there, given this extended drought in the Southwest. Anyway ... just went through a real learning experience trying to plug a leak in my water tank and thought I'd share it here. I can't be the only one on this forum with the need for water storage, so I started this new thread for the benefit of fellow H20 collectors.

Here's the deal: HDPE (high density polyethylene) is really slippery shit and there's very few substances that properly bond with it. About the only way to do it is welding (a hole or crack) with melted HDPE. I only had to deal with a small leak, which is way easier than a crack, but both can be done. I supply here detailed instructions for repairing a hole in an HDPE water storage tank (attached). Worked for me. Good luck to you.

Mods: Maybe there should be another General Discussions forum category for BOS beyond solar electric? Like "Other Critical Systems"?
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sodamo
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Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by sodamo »

Nicely done, and very informative.

We are on a catchment system 4 tanks, 4K gal each, plus a single 3k tank at the cottage.
David
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Heimhenge
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:28 am
My RE system: 9 CSUN 390W panels for 3.51 kW
UniStrut PV rack on a flat roof
Midnight Solar MNPV3 combiner box w/ breakers
Outback Radian GS4048A-01 inverter
Outback FM100 charge controller
Outback FLEXnet DC monitor
Outback MATE3s system controller
Outback Hub
Trace DC breaker and shunt box
Lifeline GPL-8DL x4 = 12.2 kWh @ 48 volts
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Location: 30 miles north of Phoenix @ elevation 2200 ft
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Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by Heimhenge »

sodamo wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:09 pm We are on a catchment system 4 tanks, 4K gal each, plus a single 3k tank at the cottage.
Thanks. That's a lot of water you store, and/or a huge catchment surface. Are you running a farm or greenhouse operation? Our 2000 gallon tank can last us 3-4 months if we need to go into hyper-conservation mode. Are you all catchment or do you have a well? Probably not, given your proximity to the ocean. What is the well situation like anyway on the Big Island?
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Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by sparksalot »

Just plugged a hole in a HDPE water tank with a short gummy cord used for plugging puncturer hole in rubber tires. Worked a treat!!
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Heimhenge
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Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:28 am
My RE system: 9 CSUN 390W panels for 3.51 kW
UniStrut PV rack on a flat roof
Midnight Solar MNPV3 combiner box w/ breakers
Outback Radian GS4048A-01 inverter
Outback FM100 charge controller
Outback FLEXnet DC monitor
Outback MATE3s system controller
Outback Hub
Trace DC breaker and shunt box
Lifeline GPL-8DL x4 = 12.2 kWh @ 48 volts
Running OpticsRE since March 2020
Location: 30 miles north of Phoenix @ elevation 2200 ft
Contact:

Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by Heimhenge »

Just an update here on my tank repair. My storage tank reached full capacity last weekend, subjecting the weld to around 1 psi. The drilled out hole for welding was 1/4" diameter, so that would mean a force of around 3/4 oz on the patch. That was too much for the original silicon caulk repair, but the HDPE weld is handling it just fine.
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Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by raysun »

I've never done an HPDE weld on a storage tank, but in my youth, I repaired many an alpine ski base. Got pretty good at it.
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Re: For off-gridders with leaking HDPE water storage tanks

Post by fcwlp »

sparksalot wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:57 am Just plugged a hole in a HDPE water tank with a short gummy cord used for plugging puncturer hole in rubber tires. Worked a treat!!
May want to keep track of the water taste over time. I was hauling water until I drilled our well deeper and the suction hose on the pump I used to fill the tank was made of PVC that gave a very off-taste to the water. New mil-surplus drinking water rated hose fixed the issue.

Reminds me that there are many ways to fix a hole. Over the Labor Day holiday, my son and family came up in their vehicle and got a small hole in the transmission pan from a stone on our gravel road. Kind of hard to get a new transmission pan over the holiday when the nearest dealer is 100+ miles away. Fixed it with a metal roofing screw which has a rubber gasket under the washer and some RTV over the top. The 5-cent fix is still holding and I doubt they will ever get a new pan.
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