Water Storage Tanks Explained


Water storage tanks are used in domestic environments and large double skinned tanks in industrial/commercial environments. 

The general principle when choosing a water storage tank, remains the same; the water has to remain sterile and clean without bacterial issues whilst being stored, so it’s ready to be used for any purpose, drinking water, water for heating supplies, water for cleansing uses, or water for manufacturing purposes. Complete Pump Supplies sell a wide range of water storage tanks.

It is common practice these days for water storage tanks to be made out of industrial grade plastic materials as this insures that the water remains in a non-corrosive environment. Although steel water storage tanks are used on major industrial sites these will be galvanised and usually double skinned but still you have the issue of corrosion building up over time either externally to the tank or within one of the skins of the water tank. I note that in a ‘food manufacturing’ environment all water storage tanks are stainless steel both inside and out to meet hygiene standards. 

Water Storage Tanks – 5000 litre or less

For water storage tanks which are less than 5000 L it is usual to have a plastic water storage tank with a maximum wall fitness at the base which makes such tanks very durable. They are usually moulded as circular tanks or vertical and tall having a very small footprint with top access. 

In a domestic environment, water tanks aren’t usually required to be double skinned. The domestic water storage tank can either be located in the roof space of the house or at ground level with a pump. 

Weather damage prevention – Domestic

If the domestic water storage tank is in an attic space we always advise that the tank is well insulated, along with the interconnecting water pipes to prevent frost damage either by wind chill or by very cold winter spells where the temperature can drop extremely low during the night. This could cause the joints either of the tank or of the pipework to crack and leak. Usually domestic water tanks are top entry. It’s important to ensure that the top plastic lid is always firmly closed to ensure that no debris enters the water supply especially when this is for human drinking use. 

Weather damage prevention – Industrial

For industrial water storage tanks usually above 5000 L these tend to be steel water storage tanks. These again can be top entry. The access for refueling industrial water storage tanks is usually in the cabinet at the end of the tank and it usually has a roller shutter. This provides security which allows water to be added at high-level within the cabinet and with pipework at ground level for allowing the water to be gravity fed for whatever industrial purpose. 

The cabinet exists for security so that it can be locked securely without the water supply being pampered by strangers. 

In any case a steel tank has to be galvanised and if used for water storage for human use it must be kept clear of microbial activity which means it is a requirement that a water filter system is part of the installation of the tank. 

Water storage tank – Filtration

The filters will cleanse the drinking water of microbes that of less than 0.5 of a micron and these filters are required to be replaced regularly in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. All filters need to be inline to ensure all the water is correctly filtered.

All steel water storage tanks use industrial grade new steel in the manufacturing process and are available usually up to 20,000 Litres as a single storage unit but these can be paralleled into multiple installations of up to 200,000 Litres. 

Water storage tank – Ventilation

All water storage tanks have to have ventilation to avoid buildup of condensation as well as certification for that and purpose. If the intended use for the water storage tanks is for drinking water or human use this must be stipulated at the time of purchase. Any tank which is designed for commercial or farm use cannot be used in a human drinking water environment. 

You must always stipulate your requirement and ensure that these tanks are never cross usedduring their working life time. 

When placing a water storage tank it is important that the surface it is standing on is both level and without any debris which could penetrate the skin of the tank. Also we advise that any water storage tank which is in an external environment has protection from UV light which can cause the water to heat especially during the summer months. Water which becomes excessively warm, can create an environment for microbial development. This is yet another reason why a reputable water filtration system is advisable to be installed prior to human use.

Water storage tank – Common Issues

Common issues with water storage tanks are the following:-

Number one– Frost damage due poor insulation. 

Number two– Placed in an environment where it is likely to be damaged.

Number three– Security or lack of security allowing the tank to be opened by others allowing debris or other into the water supply. Number four– The connecting valves and connections on the water storage tanks are made of a corrosive material which in time infects the water supply.

Number five-Non Level storage surface

There are other issues such as corrosion but these have already been covered in this article. 

Water storage tank – Types

Most plastic water storage tanks today are made from recyclable polyethylene which makes them both tough and durable and in the right conditions can also be deemed to be weatherproof. 

Most steel water storage tanks are made of new galvanised steel and usually have protective metal skids along the base of the tank to allow a space between the ground and the steel tank. This assists during the winter months for frost prevention, as frost has limited effect on the base of a large steel water storage tank. 

Water storage tank – Checks

Other than checking the water for quality, most water storage tanks require minimal servicing and hardly any maintenance and are usually quick to install with delivery times usually within 7 to 14 days of placing an order with a distributor. In the UK there are very few actual manufacturers of water storage tanks on the other hand there are many distributors that hold stock and can offer an off-the-shelf service depending on price. 

Water storage tank – Uses

Water storage tanks can have many other uses. 

For example for the harvesting of rainwater and any waste water collection. They can also be used on wheels as a water bowser around a site. They can also be used as portable water tanks and even for the processing of water itself – like mineral waters or a product that requires large quantities of water, for example, micro breweries.

If the water storage tank is being used for purposes other than water, then it needs to be clearly labeled with any possible dangers clearly labeled to avoid any cross use. 

A possible danger would be a water storage tank could be used to store liquid fertiliser which, unless it is clearly marked could have serious consequences if it is misused. 

When purchasing a water storage tank do ensure that it is clearly labeled for whatever purpose it is intended to be used for.


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