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Friday, October 10, 2014

Protecting the IBC Totes from Light

I am actively working on the secondary water storage system.  I am going to be adding 20 tanks in two rows of 10 tanks, with 10 on top of the 10 on the ground level.  I have already cleared and leveled the area that I want to place the tanks. It is located next to a fence (6 feet high). The tanks will be almost 8 feet in height, so I am going to raise the fence another two feet to act as the light barrier on that side.  I will still have to protect the tanks from light on all the other sides.

On the primary tanks I used hardy board and steel stakes hammered into the ground to construct the shell.  I think that for this bank of tanks I will try to use a more simple and cost effective material.

Let us review the situation.  We have to protect the tanks from UV light infusion or else we will have algae buildup in the tanks and deterioration of the polyethylene tanks themselves.  Next, the material that we use for this purpose must be able to withstand the damage that UV light can produce.

One of my neighbors, who is also installing rainwater  IBC totes, found these covers:

The website for buying them is here. They sell for about $60 each, depending upon exactly how many you buy.  I personally think that is expensive and I am concerned about their durability.  The website says that they are made of a PVC material.  My understanding is that while the PVC may be good for protecting the inside from UV light, the material itself is not durable for UV applications (i.e., the material will deteriorate if exposed to UV light and will have a short lifespan).  I have not verified this last suspicion.  That having been said, I thought I would include it here for those of you who have any sewing skills.  I am researching materials that could be used and will post anything I find that is interesting. Note, if sewing fabric to assemble a Tote caddy, please use the special UV thread that is available (used for outdoor cushions) or you may have durable material coming apart at the seams as the UV deteriorates the thread more rapidly than the fabric.
I have found a high impact polystyrene (black) that would make a wonderful outer shell, but I still have to figure out how to seam it since you could not use a sewing machine for this.

I did find this YouTube video that describes using black plastic sheeting. I again stress that the material used must be able to withstand deterioration from UV light.  I don't think the material used in this video is that type of material.