If you’re planning to move to a homestead, you’ve undoubtedly researched rainwater harvesting and water purification. For us and for most people, the biggest hurdle is cost. A rainwater system is expensive and so is a purification system. Like, really expensive. For instance, a larger reverse osmosis system costs upwards of $300 and it requires power to run. This problem can be eliminated by using a berkey water purification system – costs a bit less than $300 depending on the size and requires no power to run – but what about the rainwater collection itself? Purchasing a system is nice, but for a family of 3-4 people, you’re looking at over $1,000. Some of us just don’t have that kind of money, and the barrels themselves are very expensive.

Searching for alternatives, we came across this article about rain harvesting. It is the ibcanswer we have been looking for. That answer is industrial IBC food grade containers. They are made from materials that are safe to hold food or water, and they have only ever held food or water substances. They mostly come in 275 gallon size, they can be cleaned for reuse and best of all, they are a fraction of the price of rain barrels. I found some on this website for less than $100 each. (They also sell food grade barrels, wooden crates, pallets and other very useful stuff, but some items have a minimum order stipulation.) That means, for example, that a 430 gallon collection system which would have cost me over $800 just for the barrels now costs a fraction of that and I get 120 more gallons. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure that one out, folks. It’s a lot cheaper. Check Craigslist, Amazon and eBay. They’re out there.

There are few things to consider with these containers, but the main consideration is algae growth. As you can see, these particular tanks are translucent. That means light will filter through, and light means algae. You’re going to need to keep these tanks covered with something so that light cannot penetrate the material, or you will have an algae problem. You can also buy or build a box for them to sit in and you could probably also bury them, but we prefer them to be where we can see them and get to them if something were to need adjustment.

We are getting ours soon. If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments! Good luck!

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