Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions About a Home Water Storage Tank

A home water storage tank can ensure you have a good supply of water on hand in case of drought or fire or for when you want to water your lawn, crops, or livestock. You may be surprised by the options you have for a home water storage tank, so note some questions you might consider first before shopping, and then discuss these with a manufacturer or installer if needed.

1. Can water storage tanks be used to store drinking water?

If you want to store water that you'll use for drinking, bathing, washing dishes, and anything similar, you want to ensure you get a food-grade or food safe tank. This is usually a plastic tank that has a special coating that keeps algae from growing in the water. It may also be blue, as this colour keeps the water cool and also prevents the growth of harmful contaminants.

Never buy a used tank unless it's been certified as food grade, and ensure you still have it cleaned thoroughly. Even with a food grade or food-safe tank, you may still want to install a water filter in your home and have your water tested regularly for safety.

2. Are there building codes for water tanks?

Your area may not have actual building codes or zoning laws that affect your use of a home water storage tank, but you should check with your local municipality about any restrictions on the type of tank itself. For example, if your area is prone to brushfires or wildfires, you may not be allowed to have a plastic tank on your property, as it may be more likely to melt and cause a flood. Some areas may require a building permit before you dig for an underground tank or may have limits as to the number of size of outdoor tanks that are visible. Check with the city clerk's office or branch of your local government that issues building permits for any such restrictions.

3. Can a homeowner just use their own tanks?

If you have old tanks you once used to store fuel, propane, cleaning fluids, car fluids, and other such materials, you may not be able to have these cleaned out enough to make them safe for storing any type of water. Don't assume a good rinse with detergent is enough to get rid of all residue that could contaminate the water. It's always best to purchase a true water storage tank instead to ensure the safety of your water and the longevity of the tank as well.