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We've had a 4,500 litre plastank connected to a Davey pump with integrated pressure controller connected to the watering system for a number of years. (We've also got a 300 litre tank, but that doesn't really count. It's useful for filling water bowls and the occasionally bucketing to plants, but that's about it. We also use it as a header tank at times to gravity-feed some of the surrounding plants). With the introduction of Stage 3 water restrictions as of January 1st 2007, we took this basic installation a step further, and installed a bladder tank.
The external tank is good, but its restricted in the volume of roof-space it can collect from. Since I didn't particularly want to install another external tank, and since we have space under the house, a bladder tank seemed the next logical choice. Candidates were either The Aussie Bladda Tank, or The WetEarth Flexi Bladder tank. There are others such as the Rain Reviva, but I didn't need a tank with a frame, and I didn't need an included pump - bare bones was fine for me, especially since I already have a pump.
I decided to go with the WetEarth 'potable' bladder tank. The guys at WetEarth have been very helpful, and were quick to deliver the tank accessories via track-and-trace courier service. They allow the tank to be customised to your requirements at no extra cost, so since most of the posts under our house are spaced at 125cm and one of the standard tank sizes was 8m x 1.3m, I asked them to reduce the width down to 1.25m.
The WetEarth bladder tank was working fine, and I've now got it connected in parallel (with a series of one way valves) to the external tank so that the pump draws from both.
But then in April 2007 it sprung a leak. The guys at Wet Earth were again very helpful, and immediately sent out a patch to repair it, which worked fine. Until December 2008.
It sprung another leak, and again the Wet Earth people have been very helpful. Since the tank has a 10 year warranty, they’re placing it for me. At the time of writing this has yet to occur. The photo below shows the result of a 2,000 litre leak. I still intend on getting more bladder bags for under the house, but will be holding off until I’m satisfied that the replacement is going to do the job.
OK, as of February 2009 the replacement bladder bag has arrived. As a cautionary note to anyone considering putting in a bladder bag, if one springs a leak, you do not want to replace it in a confined space; especially if you’ve still got to empty some of the water out of it.
To add a bit of insult to injury, the new bladder bad has ‘outside threaded’ connections, whereas the old and busted one has ‘internally threaded’ connections. Naturally of course Bunnings don’t stock 50mm to 50mm nuts to act as a conversion which means until such time as I can track some down (WaterPro will probably have them) I’m still without a bladder bag.
I’ve come this far so I’m certainly not going back, and the benefits of having all of that extra water storage in a space that otherwise goes unused are certainly a plus, but this whole process is really testing my patience.
I also can’t help but notice that the new bladder bag, apart from being made from a much lighter (colour and thickness) material, it still have a variation of folded corners as can be seen from the photos. These are folded differently to the old bladder bag, but it was at one of these corners where the old one sprung the leak, so I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this one.
That is of course if it ever actually rains...