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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Another Alternative for Water Storage Tanks

While I was picking up my IBC Totes yesterday I had a chance to speak with the operations manager at this olive oil importer and distributor.  There were 10s of thousands of IBC totes at this location. Many of them were empty, some were full of balsamic vinegar and some were full of olive oil.  I had mistakenly thought that the olive oil was transported to this location in the IBC totes.  In fact, only the balsamic vinegar which they also distribute comes in the Totes.  The oil, as it turns out, comes shipped in cargo containers that are 20 ft. by 8 ft. and about 8 ft. high.  The container is filled with a heavy duty plastic bladder that will hold 6,000 gallons.  When the container arrives they off-load the olive oil into the IBC totes.  Then they remove the bladder from the cargo container and hang it so that the oil drains out.  They have found no way to dispose of these bladders other than the landfill. They are obviously capable of holding water.  They cost about $1,000 new and are not reused.  They are thrown out.  In the case of the IBC Totes the plastic and the metal can all be recycled, but not so with the bladders because it is so difficult to get all the oil out efficiently. I was thinking that the bladder could potentially be installed and then cleaned in situ with some sort of detergent or degreaser.

The bladders cannot be just placed on the ground and filled with water. I think they must be contained in something -- either a steel cargo container with supplemental bracing from side to side or possibly with just a hole in the ground.

The distributor is going to give me one to experiment with. I think I can get one when it is folded up into a pickup truck.  I don't really want to dig a hole in my yard that is 20 x 8 and 8 feet deep, even if the bladder is free. And I certainly don't want to put a steel shipping container in the yard (I understand these can be had for under $1,000.)  While this would be a bit cheaper than the IBC totes that I have been using, they would be far less flexible and yard friendly.

If anyone has any bright ideas about these bladders please chime in and let's talk about the possibilities.

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