Our water system for the garden runs on an old, small header tank which we fill from the well via a submersible pump. It’s a good system, and for the most part it works really well. There are a few issues with it however; the tiny tank up on the tank stand has become coated with the calcium salt precipitate from our poor water which dislodges as it fills and blocks the outlet, the plumbing is done in such a way that it goes from 25mm to 13mm and then back to 25mm (extreme loss of pressure) and the initial height of the stand is not optimal for a gravity fed solution, also, the stand is right in the middle of a driveway according to my map….
All this means that there needs to be a new, larger tank stand to accommodate a new, larger tank. Hooray, all our problems will be solved! Well, getting that tank stand ready to use has been somewhat of a mission, but after 6 months of organising, hole digging, Egyptian style log manoeuvres, a gigantic front end loader and a couple of days of making concrete we have a tank stand 😀
The first step was to look at tanks and umm and ahh over which tank we wanted to eventually get (no tank until the tank stand is in place!!) so that I could specify the requirements for the structure to the steel workers in Port Augusta (2.5 hours away). It ended up being a squat version of our main tanks – 2.2m diameter and half the height allowing for a storage capacity of 5000L or 5 tonnes of water. That stand needs to be sturdy right?? So then there was the quote stage, and the saving stage which is all quite boring and we got on with other things in the meantime. Eventually there was talk of a tank stand actually existing so there needed to be some holes for it to get delivered into.
4, 1m deep holes.
Sometimes I think that all I do is dig holes.
At least this time I had some very good help. Noven started each hole with the auger and then loosened the soil with it as it got deeper but the size of the holes required someone to be in them at the end to lift the soft dirt out with a can… there are only two people in our family who could do it (Noven’s legs are too long to fit when he reached down for the dirt). I promise that there wasn’t much slave labour 4 year old style going on – he was far too inefficient 😉
Delays… both in the digging and in the delivery, but eventually the delivery day arrived and there came the truck with our GIANT new tank stand aboard. There was some discussion about how to do what had originally been discussed: delivering it to standing up in the holes, but it quickly became clear that not only was the truck too big to negotiate the space available (which I had questioned when this plan was formulated but the steel suppliers seemed confident) but also, even if they could have lined up neatly, there was no way that we were standing it up off of the truck with the two delivery drivers, us and our current WWOOFer. In the end they got it as close as they could and simply slid it off the back of the truck, leaving it on it’s side and around a corner from where it needed to be.
This meant that the next step was ‘Move the Gigantic Steel Structure with 3 Adults’. The delivery drivers had informed me that this structure was an ‘8 man lift’ so there was no way were even going to attempt to pick it up. Luckily we had some old post off-cuts from when we did the fence years ago, so we managed to manoeuvre them under the legs lying on the ground and using them as rollers, with some great teamwork, we got it turned around and lined up to our holes. Still no standing up though, that would require heavy machinery.
I had already organised a day’s work with the station; getting a log from the creek for a bridge, loads of sand and gravel for concrete and mortar and the like so we added ‘stand up the tank stand’ to the list and a couple of weeks later the very large front end loader arrived. using some chains and a bit of clambering on the arm of the loader the stand was raised into position with a minimum of fuss, all the legs in the correct holes! This process had pushed a bit of dirt into the front holes so it was no longer level… but, use of a ‘Wallaby Jack’ (very large heavy jack) to hold up the low side while we concreted the holes could fix that issue.
We had WWOOFer swap-over while everything was getting organised, so with return visitor Eline and our lovely new Kellie, we fired up our shiny orange cement mixer for the first time and got stuck into concreting the holes. It took me a couple of batches to get back into the swing of things, and some amusement with job swapping before we found our rhythm but once there it was quite efficient. Two trailers of gravel, one ute tray of sand and 16 bags of cement later we had a stable structure!
The girls wrote their names one in each hole and I wrote Fran’s on her behalf in the third as well as our names in the last hole… treats for future people to find when they decide to uncover the concrete in years to come 🙂
Done!! well, it still needs a tank on it, but we can actually do that soon, we can shift the small tank to the new stand (cleaning out some of the sediment on the way) and re-plumb it, fixing 3 of the 4 major issues with our system without even out laying for the new tank. I am hopeful that we will get enough water pressure to mean that the tank expense is not so urgent, which would be nice.
Big! Not so shiny orange cement mixer now…. I still need to add the ladder that we have left over from the windmill that fell over a few years ago and then it will be totally ready 🙂
In this picture you can easily compare it to the old stand, which we have used for years but it really in need of destruction. That will be a very fun job and will open up the last driveway space…. exciting times. Look how tiny that tank is. I am sure it’s going to look even more insignificant on top of the new stand, but a tank is a tank and it might let us get used to the new landscape more easily so that the bigger tank doesn’t come as such a shock.