Cleaning a drum for water.


abock33

New member
I have the opportunity to get a 275gal container from my work. I would like to use it to store water. Right now it it being used to store antifreeze. Would you use it and how would you clean it out?
 

FN1910

New member
If you are talking of storing drinking water in it I would not. When I was having to test transformers for PCB's I learned that one drop of PCB in that 225 gallon drum would make it unacceptable. I don't know the specifics of anti-freeze but it would be hard to ever clean that drum to use for drinking water. However I doubt that it would actually hurt you but why take the chance.
 
I have the opportunity to get a 275gal container from my work. I would like to use it to store water. Right now it it being used to store antifreeze. Would you use it and how would you clean it out?


I would highly advise against it. You could use the drum to store "non-potable" water. Be sure to clearly mark it as such. Any container used for storing food or water for human consumption should be made of materials that are FDA approved. There are many options out there. A few local restaurants sell plastic drums that contained vinegar, cooking oil or other "food stuffs". I've purchased many of these drums and have about a half dozen of them currenly full of water that I will use as my "emergency drinking water". I also have a healthy supply of plain liquid bleach that will be used to purify the water as needed.

The 275 gal container would be great to store water to be used for sanitation (bathing or washing hands after using the toilet). The container can be cleaned up for this purpose using a lot of water and scrubbing thoroughly with an industrial cleaner such as "Simple Green". I have 2 "non-potable" water drums that are used for this purpose.



gf
 

Cooter

Liberty or Death
I'm not a chemical expert, but I would not use any container for drinking water that had antifreeze in it. Ever use an old fruit juice jug for water? You can still smell the juice for long after it's been washed. I wouldn't risk it with a deadly poison.
 

abock33

New member
Those were my thoughts. We go through a container every 2 weeks and the company has to pay to get rid of them. I was going to grab one for my self if I was positive I could get it sterile. I'll see if I can find out the material, maybe I could use it for something else. Thx for the help.
 

Onlinedad

New member
Usually its a triple rinse process that the container have to go through before they can be used again. But, they will not ever be used for food grade contents.

You could still use one, or more, of those containers to collect rainwater. That way you can collect the water for free, and its probably good enough (after being rinsed) to use to water your plants, or for cleaning up, as mentioned before.
 

CathyInBlue

Tool Maker
For rainwater, I'd check the numbers on quantities of antifreeze that can be consumed by a human being or other anmal before there are any detectable (not detrimental, but simply detectable) effects on health, and then clean them sufficiently to insure that those amounts/concentrations can never possibly build up in anyone who eats the foods grown from them, perhaps even going so far as to apply a coating of a plastic sealer inside the barrel.

But I adhere to the basic rule of water safety, if the container has ever held anything not beneficial to human biology, DO NOT DRINK FROM IT. If it was only ever used to freight salsa or orange juice or chicken broth, fine, but not motor oil or anti-freeze or hydraulic fluid.

I'd say the best thing you guys could do with them is to punch holes around the periphery right above the base, weld on some artisticly bent rebar for legs to keep the base up off the ground, and sell them as garbage burning barrels.

Absent that, just drain them, pop the bottoms off, tip the barrels on side, squash the drum to half its original diameter, toss the bottom inside, finish squashing it flat as a sheet of paper and start stacking them up out back. Run a lottery for guesses as to how high the stack can get before it tips over. The winner gets the lottery proceeds plus the scrap value of the flattened barrels when they're taken to the scrap yard.
 

toreskha

Titles are un-American.
Those were my thoughts. We go through a container every 2 weeks and the company has to pay to get rid of them. I was going to grab one for my self if I was positive I could get it sterile. I'll see if I can find out the material, maybe I could use it for something else. Thx for the help.
Put a drum liner inside and you might be able to use it for more stuff.

Be careful though. Even if you plan to just store toilet flushing water in it, everyone might not realize its chemical history. Someone might stupidly take a drink thinking it's clean water.
 

CathyInBlue

Tool Maker
Slap a skull and cross'd bones on it and stencil GRAY WATER ONLY - DO NOT DRINK OR BATHE IN. After that, I'd wash my hands of that issue.. just not in the barrel water.
 

1911 Headbanger

Leave Me Alone!!!
You can use one of the thick plastic bag type drum liners to put water into it. The Civil Defense used to stock fall-out shelters with 55 gallon drums that had cosmoline coating on the inside to prevent rust and seal out air leaks. The water was in two thick plastic bag type liners. They would store for years. My Dad was a Civil Defense Coordinator for the Police Dept. back during the Cold War years. I used to go in the shelter areas and marvel at the neat gear and cases and cases of C-Rations and storable food and water.
 

abock33

New member
You can use one of the thick plastic bag type drum liners to put water into it. The Civil Defense used to stock fall-out shelters with 55 gallon drums that had cosmoline coating on the inside to prevent rust and seal out air leaks. The water was in two thick plastic bag type liners. They would store for years. My Dad was a Civil Defense Coordinator for the Police Dept. back during the Cold War years. I used to go in the shelter areas and marvel at the neat gear and cases and cases of C-Rations and storable food and water.
That might work. But where would I find a 225gal bag to fit inside. The container is oddly shaped to begin with. Its 3 x 3 x 3 ft (estimate) and has a 6in diameter lid on top. I wouldn't know how to keep the bags from falling in once full. Also there is a valve on the bottom.
 

1911 Headbanger

Leave Me Alone!!!
That might work. But where would I find a 225gal bag to fit inside. The container is oddly shaped to begin with. Its 3 x 3 x 3 ft (estimate) and has a 6in diameter lid on top. I wouldn't know how to keep the bags from falling in once full. Also there is a valve on the bottom.

abock, I'm not sure. There are some industrial supply stores that carry drum liners, but they are designed for 55 gallon drums. You can get the food grade ones. The ones I saw in the shelter had a bag inside the drum, then they put another bag inside that bag to form 2 layers. they filled it with water but saved room at the top and they twisted the top of the bag and used a cable tie or something like that to close it. They then did the same with the outer bag.
There are also some heavy duty bags at contractor supply stores that are used for removal of asbestos when old buildings are torn down. They are food grade and won't leak and are big enough to fill a 55 gallon drum. But a 3x3x3 container I guess the bag wouldn't fit exactly, but could still be used.
 
What kind of antifreeze was stored in the drum? There are two types commonly used. Propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. Some types of ethylene glycol also contain rust inhibitors, the same can be said for the propylene too. Propylene glycol is an FDA approved and is used as an RV water flush/antifreeze for winterizing but does not contain anything that would be harmful if ingested. Check the MSDS sheets on the tote or get a copy of it from the safety director. Check the MSDS for disposal or reuse applications if any apply. Ethylene glycol is some nasty stuff and will harm the kidneys and liver in humans and animals. Damage to the organs is irreversible and a painful death. You don’t want to go there. You may want to consider using it for fuel or heating oil storage like I use mine for once properly cleaned out of course.
One thing to consider for water storage is one of those above ground pools that Wally World sells. They are pretty cheap, usually less than 100.00 dollars on sale and will hold about 1500 gallons of water. You can buy a cover for them to keep out the leaves and bugs that are typically attracted to them. The filter and pump that usually comes with the pool will keep the water clean and oxygenated. Small amounts of chlorine can be added to remove any bacteria/algae that may accumulate. This water would be suitable for bathing, flushing the toilet, etc. You could also direct rainwater into it if close to the house or other buildings.
 

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