Build a Rainwater Collection System

| 7/24/2013 1:30:00 PM

Tags: rainwater storage, rainwater collection, Instructables,

This DIY rainwater collection system stores five times more water than a typical rain barrel.

Reposted with permission from Instructables.

I recently helped my father install a 275 gallon rainwater collection system.

The system is based on an industrial 275 gallon container known as an IBC. You can buy them used, or if you really look around, you can even find them for free. One problem with typical rain-barrels is that they can only collect 55 gallons. This rain storage container collects five times that volume, while not taking up all that much more space than a single rain barrel.

In my area, you can buy used IBCs through Craigslist for about $85 each. Those come with a metal cage around them that allows them to be stacked.

Instead of buying them, I found a local bottler who throws them out because they are plastic containers without the metal cages. These containers come to the bottler full of 275 gallons of high-fructose corn syrup. I got several containers from them for free, for just the elbow grease of going to pick them up. Some were wrapped in heavy cardboard. I recycled the cardboard into a clubhouse for my little girl.

1/12/2016 6:31:57 PM

Hello, I would like to get 3-4 of these IBC containers for free, if possible. Is there a place in northern California I could contact? Thank you, Michele

3/26/2015 6:28:40 AM

very good article!! helpful

9/28/2013 1:39:40 PM

Great article ben, i'm sure this has help lots of people gain a better understanding of Karen, I can suggest that you line your inlet with slightly polarised mesh... This should solve your problem. :)

8/16/2013 3:25:47 PM

I thought you might be interested in seeing the Rainwater Hub: Not only the most efficient and effective rainwater collection unit on the market, the Rainwater Hub also channels water up to 150’ away from a downspout so that rain barrels can be moved away from the home and into the yard where water is needed and convenient. And it does this using gravity and regular garden hoses alone!

8/15/2013 10:51:50 AM

I live in New England where there is heavy pollen in the Spring. This gets inside my rain barrels and I need to wash them out in the Fall before retiring them for the winter. Any suggestions as to how to keep the pollen from caking on the inside of the barrels?

7/26/2013 8:17:20 AM

Looks like you placed the lumber directly on the ground - you might see some shifting over time as the weight of the full IBC settles the unit in place. I would suggest that a foundation made with stone would be more secure for that large of a container. The basic idea can be found by watching the fist three minutes of the video found on this page:


While it was intersting to see how you addressd insects and leaf debris others might like a ready made solution. I am not a fan of destoying the manway cap. I would rather make another hole in the IBC so I can more easily get inside without taking everything else apart to unscrew the lid.


What about overflow protection so the bottle does not overflow next to the foundation??


A white bottle WILL have algea growing pretty soon try this:


The drop outlet used in your gutter tray will allow for standing water, you might want to move all the water so insects are not laying eggs in the standing water


For those folks that live in cliimates that have freeze issues they will need a way to direct the water away from the container:


As you might be able to tell we've done this a few times and have helped many folks thru the process of converting plastic containers into rain water storage.


Thank you for sharing and I turst you will find a bit of value in what has been added by our comments



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