What is an IBC water tank?

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An IBC water tank is a versatile, long-lasting, yet cost-effective storage container designed to store and protect large quantities of water or other liquids.

An IBC tank (intermediate bulk container) can be used to safely store and transport a range of liquids, but is most commonly found storing drinking water. Given its UN ratings however, an IBC tank can also be used for storing hazardous waste.

In this article, we ask the experts at ITP Packaging to explain what an IBC water tank is and why they’re so popular.

What Is an IBC Water Tank?

An IBC water tank is a container designed to safely store large quantities of liquids. IBC tanks are square or rectangular in shape, and are fitted with nozzles and valves to allow liquids to be poured into the tank or emptied with ease.

The ultimate purpose of an IBC tank is to store liquids. IBC tanks are UN certified and produced from food-grade materials. They can be reused, disinfected, cleaned, repaired and eventually recycled.

IBC tanks are designed for industrial usage. As well as nozzles and valves, they’re equipped with protective cages and pallets. They can be moved around using industrial equipment (forklifts etc.) and can be stacked one on top of another for ease of storage.

What Can IBC Tanks Be Used For?

IBC tanks are most commonly associated with water storage, as they are popular containers for holding drinking water or rainwater for long-term storage.

However, these are versatile storage containers and a combination of food-grade material and UN rating ensures they can store a lot of different liquids or semi-liquids.

Popular storage uses include:

  • Drinking water
  • Rainwater
  • Foodstuff
  • Fuel (petrol, diesel, etc.)
  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hazardous waste

What Are IBC Tanks Made Of?

IBC tanks are made of high quality, durable plastic polymers which are designed to be robust, easy to mass-produce, recyclable and multi-purpose.

The most common plastic polymer used to produce an IBC tank is HDPE (high-density polyethylene). HDPE is commonly used to produce many industrial storage products, including the classic blue plastic drum. HDPE is non-reactive and so doesn’t contaminate or react with the liquids stored within.

An HDPE IBC water tank can be contained within an optional steel cage for extra protection when in storage or being transported. The HDPE tank also sits on top of a steel pallet, which allows it to be moved around and stacked safely. The steel used is galvanised steel, which is incredibly strong and long lasting.

IBC tanks can be kitted out with extra layers of protection, too. The most popular are UV-resistant covers and dust covers.

What Is the Size of an IBC Tank?

IBC is an acronym for intermediate bulk container, a term that best describes the sort of size you can expect this storage unit to be. 

An IBC tank is designed to hold an intermediate quantity of liquid. IBCs can vary in size, but a standard IBC tank has a total capacity of 1,000 litres. If the IBC tank is full, this means it’s going to weigh at least 1,000 kilos.

IBC tanks generally measure 1,000 x 1,200 x 1,152 mm. The standard IBC tank stocked by ITP Packaging has a weight of 68 kilos when empty. This takes into account the main plastic body of the IBC, as well as the protective steel pallet and cage it’s enclosed in.

An IBC holds a large quantity of liquid but remains easy to move around and store using industrial equipment such as a forklift.

Are IBC Tanks Good for Storing Rainwater?

IBC tanks are perfectly suited for storing rainwater. Many businesses and individuals set up IBCs in outdoor spaces to collect and store water for various uses, be it a backup supply or for watering the garden (a process known as IBC rainwater harvesting).

Many older IBCs often find their way into people’s gardens after being cleaned, disinfected, and repurposed. It’s a great way to ensure that an IBC remains useful, rather than being simply thrown away.

Can IBC Tanks Be Used for Storing Drinking Water?

IBC tanks can be used to safely store drinking water as well as rainwater. They’re perfect for storing large quantities for personal use or for other uses. In rural areas, rainwater is often collected and disinfected in IBCs, while festival and events organisers store large quantities of drinking water in IBC tanks.

There are however a few rules to follow when storing drinking water in IBC tanks:

  • Ensure the IBC is certified as ‘food-grade’.
  • Do not use IBCs that have previously held dangerous materials, such as hazardous waste.
  • Store IBC water tanks undercover in cool conditions, where possible (UV-resistant covers can come in handy here).
  • Rotate drinking water every six months to ensure it’s fresh and clean.
  • Pour water away if held for too long inside the tank.

Can You Use Chlorine Tablets in IBC Water Tanks?

If you’re storing water inside an IBC tank, you might find you need to disinfect the water before it’s safe to drink. This is recommended if you’re collecting rainwater to use as drinking water, or if you’re not sure of the safety of the water source you’re using.

One of the most effective methods of purification is to use chlorine tablets. These can safely be used in conjunction with IBC water tanks to disinfect water supplies. Always follow the safety instructions strictly when using chlorine.

Contact ITP Packaging Today to Find Out More About IBC Water Tanks

An IBC tank is a versatile, long-lasting and cost-effective storage solution for holding large quantities of industrial or food-grade liquids. Here at ITP Packaging, we stock the classic 1,000 litre IBC tank, which is UN certified and can be used for storing everything from drinking water to hazardous waste!

If you’re looking for your next IBC tank supplier or need more information on water storage methods, then don’t hesitate to contact ITP Packaging today.

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