Part I of the water tank happened way back more than three years ago. Continuing on way back then, Armando, Alex, and I formed and poured the roof. We bent the vertical rebar in the walls at a 90-degree angle so that the roof and walls would be tied together to withstand the water pressure:
Next, we poured the roof. Alex raised the buckets of concrete with the rope and pulleys, I grabbed the buckets, unhooked them, and hefted them up to Armando. I was much younger then:
The next photo is of the interior of the “finished” water tank. It holds around 1,300 gallons of water. I say “finished” because when I filled the tank, water leaked out and dribbled down the walls. I’ve never built a water tank before so I was going off of local knowledge. Tanks like this are built all the time Armando said; perhaps they just put up with little leaks as inevitable.
I drained the tank but it was impossible to find the leak point. I decided to fiberglass the interior of the tank. This was my first ever fiberglass work but it went quite well if I do say so. A respirator on my face and fan in the hatch was vital as the fumes were brutal in the enclosed space.
After letting the job sit for a few weeks to out gas I refilled the tank. All looked great! — for about ten days. Then I noticed a bit of water dribbling down my shop wall just like before. Insert expletive here. So I drained the tank yet again and let it dry. I spent a lot of time pondering in the tank. I re-fiberglassed a few spots that looked suspicious and refilled the tank, this time only about a third full. And still a couple weeks later it was leaking. Not a lot, but any was too much. I drained and dried it again.
This time, I couldn’t find any likely leak location. Except — maybe around the PVC pipes for the floor drain and the pipe out to the pump. I tackled the area with a hammer and chisel, removing the fiberglass all around the PVC pipes where they came through the concrete. And wouldn’t you know it — the concrete was water saturated for several inches around the pipes.
In a big duh moment, it seems that fiberglass doesn’t adhere well to PVC. Who would have thought it. A professional would have, but hey, I’m a generalist and am making this up as I go.
Google to the rescue. Those in the know say to rough up the PVC with sandpaper and clean it with acetone. Then mix up some two-part epoxy and spread it over the PVC. Now fiberglass over the epoxy and life will be good again.
So after nearly a year of hair pulling trying to fix the leak(s), we finally have a viable reserve water tank!
I installed a water pump and pressure tank and connected the new system to the house water line. Now when the power goes off for a day or more, I can turn two valves and bypass the pump. This gives us enough gravity-fed water pressure to have drinking water, flush toilets, wash dishes, and have a dribble shower. Success!
Above is the tank pre-fiberglass. The yellow float is like the float in a toilet tank. It allows the tank to stay full but not overflow. The hanging float on the right shuts the pump off if the tank runs (nearly) out of water. The pipe low in the corner was one of the culprits. The other one is the floor drain for cleaning the tank.
Here is the finished tank operational and painted:
But wait — what is that stuff on top of and around the hatch?
This is guano of some sort. I showed the photo to all our Panamanian workers and friends and came up blank. Armando thought it might be a mountain cat. Someone else said “snake.” And yet another said “toad.” This was a mystery that had to be solved. So I went on Amazon and ordered an inexpensive trail cam and set up on the roof of the tank. After a couple days, right at dusk,the culprit showed up:
An iguana! And now the question is, how many of them are there? Here is a smaller one in my shop a couple months later:
After the tank was initially “finished” we decided to build out the area under and around the tank to create an art studio. Here Armando and I are blocking around one of the two windows:
I don’t have any more construction photos, but here is the completed studio from the rear property line:
Cynthia has the back end of the studio. Her space is in a bit of turmoil because I am getting ready to repaint the wall where water had filtered down from the water tank. She is anxious to get back to making glass beads:
I enhanced Cynthia’s glass rod storage rack that I built some years ago to double the space. A glass artist can never have too many colors:
My watercolor painting area is at the other end of the studio. I have a new painting underway:
We have a nice view out the windows. The palm shades us from the morning sun:
So this marks the end of this project. It is very pleasant to have a supply of water in case of an electrical outage or a pump failure. It is also very pleasant to work together in the studio.
In other news ~ Good Bye Hit Counter. WordPress, the platform that this blog is written on, recently posted an alert to me saying that I should update the WordPress authoring software. So I did (thanks for the help, Zach) and my blog stopped working. As Zach said, “It blew up.” Long story short is that the Hit Counter, which had displayed more than four-million hits, was not playing well in the sandbox. It is now missing from the right side of the site but other than that, all is well. I’ll miss the ego boost but I’ll get over it.
In other news ~ This probably is not what the designer of this dinnerware had in mind:
That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. Fred