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Burying a tank for storage

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Burying a tank for storage

Postby tucker0104 » Tue May 16, 2017 6:56 pm

Has anyone in here ever buried a large tank underground for storing? I am thinking about a 1000 gallon tank to store food and such in. Just wanted to talk to someone with experience first. Thanks.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby Permafrost » Tue May 16, 2017 7:09 pm

I have buried tanks for storing fuel. One is my home heating fuel/diesel tank and another is for unleaded. Both are 500 gallons and can be pumped out of with a fill rite pump and long pick up tube. Fairly straight forward to put them in, just borrowed someones backhoe and dug holes. I used the bucket to backfill with pit run gravel and used the excavated material for fill around the property.

I would think it would be easy to do the same with a plastic septic that has a "inspection" hatch that can be used to gain entry for storing stuff in the tank, just use a piece of culvert to keep the dirt away from the opening when backfilling. You could put a fake rock over the culvert opening when you are done to disguise the opening, or even go to the trouble of putting in the septic risers (tank & leach field) so it looks like a septic system and nobody it the wiser. Putting in the risers in might be a good idea because this gives you a way to control humidity and ventilate it for oxygen content.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby Illini Warrior » Tue May 16, 2017 8:22 pm

I'd go with a septic tank that's been well anchored down from floating .... wouldn't try to hide it at all - make it look like a field tank - go as far as constructing a drop down tube that would fit down the hatch - fill it if the situation ever got bad enough ....
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby oldasrocks » Tue May 16, 2017 9:12 pm

FORGET using a plastic septic tank to bury empty. They will collapse. Instructions always say to fill the tank with water while burying. The only way you could do that is use the tank for a form. Fill it with water. Pour concrete over it a few inches thick then pump out the water. Elevate the tank with something so concrete flows under it too.

I have a 6,000 gallon gas tank buried 3 ft down then covered with dirt. I cut a door in it then welded on a piano hinge for the door hinge. DO NOT CUT INTO A GAS TANK UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT. Then I scooped sand in to make a flat floor about 6 ft wide. We use it as a tornado shelter. I tried to use it for food storage but it freezes in the winter inside.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby tucker0104 » Tue May 16, 2017 9:35 pm

oldasrocks wrote:FORGET using a plastic septic tank to bury empty. They will collapse. Instructions always say to fill the tank with water while burying. The only way you could do that is use the tank for a form. Fill it with water. Pour concrete over it a few inches thick then pump out the water. Elevate the tank with something so concrete flows under it too.

I have a 6,000 gallon gas tank buried 3 ft down then covered with dirt. I cut a door in it then welded on a piano hinge for the door hinge. DO NOT CUT INTO A GAS TANK UNLESS YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO DO IT. Then I scooped sand in to make a flat floor about 6 ft wide. We use it as a tornado shelter. I tried to use it for food storage but it freezes in the winter inside.


I appreciate your reply, but the tank is guaranteed to a depth of 6 feet so I am really doubting it is going to collapse.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby pilgrimtr » Wed May 17, 2017 1:07 am

old as rocks. I disagree if the tank would collapse when it was empty, then you can never have your tank pumped out??
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby oldasrocks » Wed May 17, 2017 5:58 am

pilgrimtr wrote:old as rocks. I disagree if the tank would collapse when it was empty, then you can never have your tank pumped out??
pilgrim :?



There is a big difference between pumping a tank out and setting in a new one. When setting one the dirt is loose and will move accordingly. By the time you have the tank pumped the dirt is backed in and set. After pumping a tank it will be refilled with water in a short time. AND yes I have heard of tanks being pumped and collapse but those were usually older steel tanks.

Read the instructions. Us old guy have been around the block and back. Hydraulic pressure is nothing to mess with. The other problem is flotation. I've seen empty tanks "float" to the top when too much water infiltration. Again these were steel gas tanks in abandoned gas stations. They push up right through a concrete topped parking lot. This "cork" thing is why you read about caskets popping to the surface in a flood. Try holding a gallon jug underwater. Now imagine the UP pressure on a 500 or 1,000 gallon tank.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby tucker0104 » Wed May 17, 2017 6:20 am

I am all about listening to some old timers advice, but I can also think for myself. A tank that is guaranteed to not collapse when buried stands a pretty good chance that it won't collapse when buried. Also, why would it pop out of the ground if I am buying it to stuff it full of stuff.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby oldasrocks » Wed May 17, 2017 7:40 am

tucker0104 wrote:I am all about listening to some old timers advice, but I can also think for myself. A tank that is guaranteed to not collapse when buried stands a pretty good chance that it won't collapse when buried. Also, why would it pop out of the ground if I am buying it to stuff it full of stuff.


Please show me a guarantee that shows it will not collapse. IF you read the instructions on a plastic septic tank it tells you to fill it with water as you bury it so it WON'T collapse. IF you can think for yourself you will study the facts instead of deciding in your mind what is and what works.

Point 2. Water eights 7.56 lbs per gallon. So a 500 gallon tank has about 3,800 lbs of flotation. What does your gear weigh?

Example_ attach an ounce weight to a bobber that has 6 ounces of flotation. The bobber will float even though there is weight attached. I've seen 5,000 lb steel gas tanks float up out of old gas stations right through the concrete top.

Now you do whatever your little heart desires. Just let me know after it collapses so I can say "I told you so"
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby Illini Warrior » Wed May 17, 2017 7:42 am

tucker0104 wrote:I am all about listening to some old timers advice, but I can also think for myself. A tank that is guaranteed to not collapse when buried stands a pretty good chance that it won't collapse when buried. Also, why would it pop out of the ground if I am buying it to stuff it full of stuff.



it's a cork - it'll float out under the right conditions - even if "loaded" - your idea of weighted down and real physics of buoyancy are two different things ....
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby oldasrocks » Wed May 17, 2017 8:20 am

Yep, buy them books and buy them books and all they do is eat the cover.

They even have made boats out of concrete. It all depends on flotation vs weight.

Steel cargo containers will collapse underground also. They are not designed for external pressure.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby Permafrost » Wed May 17, 2017 11:36 am

I do not know about plastic tanks, but I have buried many metal tanks. I buried them all when they were empty, and have never had a problem. I have looked at the specs for a few plastic tanks for a project I may have coming up and I have discovered that not all tanks are created equal, even if they are made by the same company. Tank wall thickness will be a deciding factor when burring a tank, and the type of plastic it is made from. If you can get ahold of a manufacturer it may be possible to get them to do a double thickness tank, as all this requires is adding more plastic to the mold when they are making the tank. Greer Tank in Alaska will do a double thickness tank, but they are a small company that makes their tanks one at a time. As far as the tank "floating" to the surface when it is empty, I think would be dependent on local conditions like geology and hydrology in the area. I've never had a empty tank "float" once it was set and backfilled, but my conditions are not the same as the conditions others may face.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby sageprice » Wed May 17, 2017 2:32 pm

sounds like a weird root cellar to me! ;) :D
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby oldasrocks » Wed May 17, 2017 7:27 pm

If you get a custom built tank you can have them install windows also.

A custom poured tank would probably cost more than concrete.
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Re: Burying a tank for storage

Postby Gunns » Thu May 18, 2017 12:26 pm

Ask this guy about things popping out of the ground.
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