Few things make as much sense for a property than to add water tanks or septic systems, particularly in South Africa’s savannah climate. They are cheaper than other construction projects, they add value in a matter of days and the range of choice means you are more likely to get the perfect fit for your needs.
But it involves more than simply choosing a good-looking tank. As dry periods bite at the toes of our country, many companies are advertising tanks of all shapes and sizes. So how can you make sure you get what you need and not some white elephant that will literally just sit in the corner?
Use, Size and Access
This is perhaps stating the obvious, but the use of the tank is where you should start. Let’s say you want to store rainwater for irrigation. What would that entail? Will it be a backup system or the exclusive source of water for your garden? How much water will you need and how regularly does it fill up?
It is of course entirely feasible to start small and work from there. But even if you are willing to learn through experience, a few other fundamentals still come into play. For example, the location of the tank is important: it may need to be close to your building or it may need to stand higher than most of the property. In the case of a septic tank, you want it near a drain field where vehicles don’t move (or their weight can collapse the ground.)
The location will also determine access for maintenance. If it is a septic tank, can pump trucks reach it? A water tank may need periodic draining – will you be able to temporarily flood the area around it? A tank on a hill sounds grand until water comes rushing towards your building!
If you are in doubt, start simple with a small tank that can be moved reasonably easily. You can also contact Calcamite for our advice.
Material and Manufacturing
The material a tank is made out of counts for a lot. There are many materials on the market, including concrete and metal. The most common and perhaps most beneficial, though, are plastic tanks. Modern tanks, be they for water-, septic- or other uses (such as capturing oil contamination), are typically made from polyethylene plastic or something very similar.
But not all plastics are alike. A tank should be treated for UV protection to resist sun damage. Underground tanks should be reinforced both in their design and in the plastic additives used to manufacture them. All tanks should also be treated against chemical degradation. This simply means the plastic does not break down and start contaminating the water.
Finally, how the tank is made also counts. At Calcamite we use rotational moulding, which lets the plastic settle evenly through constant rotation instead of using pressure. This ensures the tank will last much longer.
Pumps and Support Infrastructure
Not all tank scenarios require a pump. But there are many cases where a pump is crucial. Your main tanks may be located at a higher point so that water can be fed from them using gravity. But this also means water needs to be pumped to them. Some septic tank systems also require pumps.
A pump can be quite simple and small, but this depends on the scenario. Though it is quick to install a pump, the wrong pump for the wrong job will just end in frustration. It is important to ask about the best pump for your choice of tank and location.
Pumps make up part of support infrastructure, something overlooked far too often. We are so eager to buy the tank that we neglect to think how things will get to and from the tank! You have to ask if you will need extra pipes or, in the case of a pump, access to power. Putting a tank in the corner of your property is easy enough, but pipes and power conduits may hide a lot of surprise costs.
Warranty and SABS approval
A tank is not something you want to worry about every day, particularly if it is underground. If you are adding tanks to enhance a property, you want that value to extend for as long of the property’s life as possible.
Earlier we mentioned the need to getting a well-built tank. But anyone can claim their tank is reliable – why wouldn’t they? The question is how do you know they are telling the truth?
Always insist on a warranty. At Calcamite we offer an eight year warranty on our tanks, with some specialised thanks guaranteed for thirty years. Yet don’t settle for just a warranty. In South Africa you can also demand SABS approval, which means the tank’s design and manufacturing process has been vetted by the South African Bureau of Standards as meeting world-class and industry standards. In other words, it has been made in tried-and-tested ways. Calcamite’s tanks carry the SABS stamp of approval.