Frequently asked questions

Plastic Tanks & Liquid Handling

Can I bury my tank?

Tanks are manufactured specifically for either above ground or below ground use. Above ground tanks have smooth sides and are for ground level use only, however they can be dropped into the ground to a depth of 25% of the tank height. Underground tanks can be buried completely with up to 2’ of dirt cover unless otherwise noted. (Refer to burying instructions available on select products that apply.), underground tanks are heavily ribbed or are ball shaped to resist ground pressure.

Can I place a tank in an area with a high water table ?

If there is a possibility the water table will rise a foot or more above the base level of a buried tank, the tank must be anchored down to prevent possible floating up when the tank is drained (see suggested anchoring details). Dirt cover and water in the tank will help keep the tank in place in the event of an unexpected water table rise. Contact BARR for high water table installations.

What type of surface is required for placement of an aboveground vertical tank?

When selecting the tank site, insure that the site is level and that adequate drainage is provided for water runoff. The bottom of all tanks must be completely supported. Reinforced concrete support pads are recommended for tanks with capacities over 1000 gallons (3785 liters). In all cases be certain that the base material is designed to support the bearing capacity requirements of the tank, including seismic and wind loads. If the tank is installed in a stand or skid, note that the bearing capacity requirements of the concrete or soil will be increased. Always anchor the tank according to seismic or wind load zone requirements for the site. Always consult the applicable building codes governing the tank site for specific support and anchoring requirements.

Can I use a platform to support my tank?

Yes, however the tank bottom must be completely supported. e.g. with two layers of 3/4 inch plywood nailed to a suitable support structure In the interest of safety, an engineer should be consulted. NOTE -Weight of water is 8.33 pounds per US gallon or 10 pounds per Canadian gallon.

Do I need to worry about algae growth in my tank?

Algae growth is promoted by light penetration into the tank. Growth can be reduced by locating the tank away from sunlight, disinfection or, for potable water use, choosing a [dark green or black potable water only tank.]

How heavy are the tanks?

For aboveground tanks, the rough weight is obtained by taking the gallon size and dividing by five. E.g., a 1000 gallon tank will weight approximately 200 lb. For underground tanks, take the gallon size and divide by three.

What precautions do I need to take when shipping / transporting my tank?

Polyethylene is a very resilient material and damage is unlikely to occur during careful handling and transportation. However, extra care must be taken in extreme cold weather as the material the tanks are manufactured from have an reputation to become more brittle.

Can I apply pressure to the tanks?

NO! Polyethylene tanks must be open to atmosphere or vented at all times. They can be used to provide a head of water by mounting at a higher elevation but cannot have pressure applied by any external source.

What happens if my tank freezes?

It is unlikely that a partially full tank will split. The walls will only swell under the pressure of ice. A tank will start to freeze only during extended periods of cold weather. Piping should be protected or drained during freezing weather because the smaller volume of water in the piping will freeze more easily and may split the pipe .

Does sunlight affect the tanks use?

Over time, exposure to sunlight causes the plastic to stiffen which makes it more prone to cracking if the tank is put under large amounts of stress. All plastic tanks are infused with an ultraviolet inhibitor that slows this hardening effect.

Is there some way to tell when my tank was made?

All tanks are embossed with a date stamp in the month/year format. Please consult BARR Plastics regarding common stamp placement on different styles of plastic tanks.

Is there UV Protection in my tanks?

Our tanks are molded from polyethylene compounded with the latest technology in ultraviolet (UV) light stabilizers. The UV stabilizers will reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet light exposure and are intended to extend the life of a tank over similar materials that are not compounded with stabilizers. Our UV rating is “15? on most product materials, which generally means that after 15,000 hours of exposure to the sun, there will be 50% of UV protection remaining. This rating also needs to consider location and prolonged exposure to the sun. Consult BARR Plastics for the specific UV rating of the product you are using.

How many years will my tank last?

Life expectancy of a tank depends upon multiple variables. Some of these variables include; the type of material stored in the tank, if the tank is kept indoors or outdoors, if the tank is stationary or used in transportable applications, UV exposure. All of these factors, including several more, have an effect on a polyethylene tank.

What is the warranty on your tanks?

Our polyethylene tanks are warranted to be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and service for a period of 24 months on polyethylene Stock Tanks, 60 months on Septic/Cistern tanks and 36 months on all other polyethylene tanks. Warrantor’s responsibility extends solely to repair and replacement of your purchased product and its component parts. Warrantor does not assume responsibility for, nor shall be liable for, any special, incidental or consequential damages.

How heavy a material can my tank hold?

Our standard tanks have a specific gravity of 1.7. Our vertical tanks ranging from 20-625 gallons are standard with a specific gravity of 2.0. Specific gravity is the ratio of the chemical weight per gallon divided by the weight of water per gallon (8.33 lb per gallon). See our Specific Gravity for Common Liquids document for more info.

What materials are used to manufacture your tanks?

Our tanks tanks are offered in medium and high density polyethylene. The polyethylene utilized in the manufacturing of these tanks depends upon the size of the tank. There are minimal differences in the characteristic between medium and high density polyethylene. High density polyethylene offers a slightly higher density, chemical resistance and impact resistance than medium density polyethylene. Vertical Tanks 3100 gallons and larger, Cone Bottom Tanks 4600 gallons and larger, all Septic and Cistern tanks, all Crop Care Tanks as well as the 2350, 2750 and 3250 gallon Free Standing Leg Tanks are all made standard in high density polyethylene. Please note that all Our tanks tanks are available in high density polyethylene if requested.

How thick are the walls of your tanks?

Wall thickness varies from top to the bottom of the tank. Our tanks 2000 gallons or smaller tend to have an even wall thickness due to the roto-molding process. Our standard tanks have a specific gravity of 1.7. We use the right amount of material and resin grades in order to insure that specific gravity is reached. We do provide wall thickness maps for our Vertical tanks 5000 gallons and up as well as our Cone Bottom tanks 4600 gallons and up. Please contact BARR to request a map.

What are the drill points on your tanks?

Drill points are a molded in feature of a tank used as a quick locating point for fittings. Drill points are typically located in standard fitting locations only. They appear as an indention and are typically 1/4? in diameter but may be even bigger in large tanks. They are often mistaken as a partially drilled hole. Even though the drill point is indented, the wall thickness is compensated for on the inside wall of the tank during the molding process. I.E., if you were able to run your hand over the inside wall where the drill point is located you would feel a bump that would be comparable in height to the indentation on the outside. The only time drill points are visible is when tanks are ordered with no fittings or with fittings installed in non-standard locations.

What chemicals can I store in your tanks?

Identify the chemicals to be stored in the tanks. Be certain to obtain a Certificate of Composition, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) or other data from the chemical supplier so that the actual chemical compounds can be identified properly to evaluate the effect of the chemical on polyethylene storage containers. Be sure to check that the tank, fittings and fitting gasket material are compatible with the chemicals to be contained and the anticipated storage temperatures. Review the [Tanks & Liquid Handling Customer Tools Section], where you can find the appropriate Chemical Resistance Charts for your tanks. If this resistance data does not list the chemical you intend to store in the tank, contact BARR at 1-800-665-4499 or the chemical manufacturer for recommendations regarding storage in polyethylene tanks.

Does the colour of the tank give any indication to the quality of the tank?

Our tanks tanks are manufactured from polyethylene compounded with ultraviolet (UV) stabilizers. The UV stabilizers will reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet light exposure and are intended to extend the life of a tank over similar materials that are not compounded with stabilizers. The standard color for most our tanks is natural (translucent white). All tanks may be ordered in non-standard colors such as yellow, black, green or blue as an option. The color of the tank does not increase the life expectancy or UV resistance of a tank. Please note however, that the color may have an effect on FDA compliance.

Does the colour of a tank have an impact on algae growth?

Black colored tanks are the most efficient in preventing light transmission. Other colors, if highly concentrated, can also eliminate translucence but can weaken the tank since the pigment is technically a contaminate when introduced to polyethylene. Although natural colored polyethylene tanks transmit the most amount of light energy, tanks that are tinted, with the exception of black) will typically provide enough light energy to sustain photosynthesis and promote algae unless the amount of light energy transmission is properly evaluated. Any amount of light energy will allow algae formation.

Can I store chemicals or fertilizers potable water storage tanks?

No, Water Only Storage Tanks are designed for water storage only. They are not rated to contain chemicals or fertilizers.

Are your tanks FDA compliant & are they suitable for water storage?

Our tanks tanks are manufactured utilizing FDA compliant resins. All our natural colored above ground tanks and below ground cisterns are safe for water storage. Natural, black, blue and green colored tanks are in full compliance with current FDA standards for polyethylene tanks. However, certain colors (i.e. yellow) when blended in resin, may effect compliance. Consult BARR Plastics regarding colors and FDA compliance. Please specify on your tank order if FDA compliance is required and we will assist in your selection.

Are the tanks safe for drinking water?

YES - tanks are manufactured from food grade polyethylene and meet specifications contained in FDA regulations 21 CFR 177. 1520(c)3. 1 and other industry standards (please contact for more information). Maintaining the quality of water in the tank is of course your responsibility. Information on water quality can be obtained from water supply companies, well drillers or local public health departments.

Will I notice a difference in the taste of the drinking water?

To keep the water fresh, your piping should be connected so that incoming water is always flushing through the tank. Water that has been sitting in any type of vented container for a period of time will develop a flat taste because air in the water has been lost. This can partly overcome by half filling a closed vessel and shaking it vigorously to put the air back in (refer to item on drinking water).

How will a storage tank help a slow producing well?

Many people are experiencing reduced flow rate from their wells. Well pumps are usually sized to provide water on demand, i.e. if your bathtub fills at 5 gallons a minute then the well must produce water at 5 gallons a minute for the time the bath is running. A storage tank allows short periods of high demand to come from the tank and not directly form the well. A family using 400 gallons per day would need their well to produce no more than 400 gallons over 24 hours if a storage tank is used. On average, a well needs only to produce half a gallon a minute every minute for 24 hours to supply the family. A common practice is to dump a truckload of water down a slow producing well. If water deliveries were put into a storage tank no loss from seepage would occur, resulting in cost savings. Sizing and system layout can be obtained from your local well driller.

Can I store de-ionized water in your tanks?

Our tanks are suitable for storage of de-ionized water up to 100° F (38° C).

Does the presence of ozone effect a polyethylene tank?

Ozone is sometimes used for the purification of water. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is rated Excellent for compatibility with ozone. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is rated as Good compatibility (minor effect, slight corrosion or discoloration). Our DHI polypropylene fittings are only rated as Fair for ozone compatibility, so the fittings are not recommended for continuous use. Softening, loss of strength, and /or swelling may occur. Their data does not specify the ozone concentrations, although the materials were tested at ozone levels exceeding 1000 PPM. 100% ozone is not recommended in our tanks. Tanks should be inspected on a semi-annual basis.

What is the maximum temperature your tanks can withstand?

Depending upon the chemicals to be stored, our tanks tanks will handle sustained temperatures of up to 120° F (49° C) and intermittent temperatures of up to 140° F (60° C). Consult the chemical manufacturer or [Chemical Resistance Data Charts] for recommendations regarding storage in polyethylene tanks and service temperature limits. Please note that higher service temperatures will lower the specific gravity rating of your tank.

Will freezing temperatures hurt my poly tank?

Freezing temperatures will not have an effect on a polyethylene tank, however if you plan to keep a liquid in the tank that you know will freeze, be sure to leave sufficient room for expansion. Be aware there is a greater chance of a polyethylene tank cracking during transportation in cold temperatures. Fittings that are exposed to chemicals will have a low temperature rating equivalent to the freezing limit of the chemicals the fitting is exposed to. Note that heaters, heat bands or chemical inhibitors that prevent chemical freeze up will allow the fittings to be exposed to ambient temperatures below the freeze point of the chemical. Again, the low temperature rating of all fittings must be above the point at which the chemicals free or solidify.

Can I store petroleum products in your tanks?

Our tanks are suitable for storage of new, unused motor oil up to 500 gallons (1893 liters) in capacity. Industry testing has indicated that long-term storage (5 years or more) of oil can soften the tank walls and cause swelling. Therefore, while limited capacity storage is permitted, the user must be aware of these long-term implications and limited tank life. All fitting gaskets must be Viton. Further, it is recommended that all oil installations feature secondary containment to manage any environmental applications. Used motor oil is not recommended for storage in our tanks tanks due to contaminants. Also note that only cross-linked tanks are suitable for gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other petroleum based fuels.

What is the recommended tightness of hoops on your horizontal leg tanks?

The hoops should be tightened for full contact with the tank, however not to the point of tank distortion. The holes used to mount the hoop should be positioned close to the tank to allow full contact at the bottom of the leg and hoop contact point. Please note that hoops with j-bolts and feet are not intended to be tightened to the point of complete contact with the mounting surface.

Are these tanks repairable by plastic welding?

Yes, polyethylene tanks can be repaired through welding by qualified BARR Plastics fabrication specialist.

How tight can I tighten a bulkhead fitting?

Be careful not to over tighten poly fittings. If over tightened, these fittings can be damaged and leak. Tighten nut to hand-tight plus 1/2 turn. If thread sealant is used, be certain that it is rated for use with the fittings and chemicals to be contained.

What are witness lines in tanks?

Witness lines are what appear to be cracks in the finished product. These are caused when a crack develops in the mold; typically in radiuses where the mold experiences the greatest amount of stress. When this crack goes undetected, it tends to open up during the molding process due to heat which allows molten plastic to seep into the crack. Upon close inspection after the product is de-molded, the witness line is a mirror image of the crack in the mold. If you were to run your fingernail across the witness line you would feel that the plastic is protruding rather than indenting. In fact, this witness line is able to be scraped away leaving a solid wall of plastic. This defect is cosmetic only and does not affect the integrity of the product in any way.

Do your tanks have a UL rating?

UL 94 groups materials into categories based on their flammability. The polyethylene we use has undergone the horizontal flame test and has a UL94HB rating which means that specimens must not have a burn rate greater than 1.5 inches/minute for thickness between .120 and .500 inches and 3 inches/minute for a thickness less than .120 inches. Specimens must stop burning before the flame reaches the 4 inch mark.

Are your aboveground tanks potable water approved?

This compliance considers a number of factors for approval. Among these are material and final configuration of the product including fittings and accessories that are exposed to the chemical. For this reason, please consult BARR Plastics regarding potable water approval.

Do your tanks contain any BPAs?

Our tanks are made from polyethylene. Bisphenol A (BPA) is not used as a component in the manufacture of polyethylene. BPA is primarily used in polycarbonate and in expoxies used to line cans. Polyethylene does not leach chemicals and has been used for direct food contact for many years.

Whats the difference between Commercial Grade & Industrial Grade Plastic Tanks?

Industrial (ASTM) are thicker walled tanks based on a 600 hoop stress calculation to determine the specific gravity rating. Industrial (ASTM) tanks are desgined based on the criteria developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Multiple fittings at many locations can be added to tanks listed in the Industrial Tank Certification List. The Snyder Commercial Tank Line is for less severe chemical applications. These tanks are thinner walled based on higher hoop stress calculation to determine the specific gravity rating (note: hoop stress is a dividing factor in the calculation so the higher the hoop stress the thinner the wall of the tank). These tanks come with either no fittings (other than a manway) or a predetermined fitting package as outline in the standard outlet specifications for the designated tank line. To determine which tanks are right for your use, consider your application. View the chemical resistance charts located in the Customer Tools Section of each product division for common chemical applications and the appropriate storage solution for those chemicals. If you require tank fittings in other than standard configurations tanks from the Industrial Line should be used.