Monday, July 18, 2011

Blue Barrels

After a morning of yard work, then a cool-off period, I decided to clean and refresh my three 55 gallon blue barrels. Our first tropical storm formed off our southeast coast last evening, and for us folks living in hurricane country, we don't take these storms lightly.

I don't care how much emergency food you've stashed away for 'that day,' if you don't have ready access to clean potable water you're in deep poop. I, for example, live next to a large river, but here at my location near the ocean, it's brackish and not fit to drink without complicated filtering processes utilizing expensive equipment I not only don't own but haven't the means of procurement.  Sure there are little lakes and retention ponds in the park next door, but in a grid down lead flinging situation, I'd rather avoid the risk and instead walk into my yard and tap one of my three barrels. Besides the pond and lake water needs treatment and filtration, my barrels are pre-treated with bleach and ready to drink.

Below is one of the barrels I drained and refilled this morning. As you can see from the picture I purchased this barrel many years ago from Emergency Essentials. No, I do not receive any payment from my endorsement of the company. I've purchased many items from them over the years, some you'll see in these pictures, and they've yet to fail or disappointment me. They're good folks.

 One thing I did forget to mention; if you so desired it would be a simple matter to take your water from the barrel and filter it with a Berkley Water Filter. Just saying.

My second barrel. The barrels sit on either landscape timbers, bricks or concert blocks.

These barrels can be found fairly cheap at bottling companies, such as Coke, and some wineries. I found two at a local hardware store which had been used to ship white wine for the unholy price of five bucks each. Of course they smelled like wine too, but I didn't complain.

You will also need a bung wrench, again sold at Emergency Essentials, and a pump. In this next picture notice both on top of the barrel. The pump will reach the bottom of the barrel making it easy to remove all your water. These three barrels give me 165 gallons of clean water and with a good filter system I can use those murky duck ponds if the need should arise.

I would strongly suggest if you are new to this vast world of survival preparedness to find the following book. It's well written and comprehensive and covers all aspects of physical survival. It can be found on-line at many locations. has them for less than twenty dollars. My copy is well used and bookmarked beyond description.



  1. "Our first tropical storm formed off our southeast coast last evening, and for us folks living in hurricane country, we don't take these storms lightly."

    Obviously you do not live in New Orleans.
    I spent 20 years on the MS Gulf Coast and 14 more in Baton Rouge.

    I have yet to get my water barrels here in South CO, but did discover this weekend that the groundwater is only 4 feet from the surface at my house (found out while putting in garden fence). Might I suggest a sand point w/ metal pipe to put in a small well. I know the groundwater should be shallow there. And the pipes, point, and small handpump (from Lehman's) would be better in the long run than a few barrels (teach a man to fish vs. give a man a fish).

    Just saying it may be easier to put in a way to get water rather than a small collection system based off of rainfall.


  2. Thanks for your comments, Mudbug. Let me say first that I live by the rule of three. A back up to a back up to a back up.
    I am a country boy, grew up on a farm. In my life I've drilled or helped sink at least six shallow wells. My home has a private well, a city water supply (run thru my soft water system) and my rain barrels, rule of three.
    My barrels are not, let me repeat, are not rain collection barrels. I fill using my home system.
    If, and it's a big 'if' things were to get too bad here then I would move my family (along with some other folks) to my personal retreat. Again, rule of three.
    Mudbug, I am not an amateur.

    Again, thanks for the comments.

  3. We were just talking about our water situation last night. We have a good well but it is dependent on electricity to pump the water out. We have an old fashioned hand pump ready to install that will serve in a pinch. We are within walking distance of the river, but if things get bad we wouldn't want to be that exposed. I've often thought those blue barrels would be a great thing to have. I never knew exactly how they worked so your pictures were a big help. I also have been storing water in jugs but that is not satisfactory. I like what you said about the rule of three. I may adopt that myself. It would sure make me feel more secure.


  4. It gives me peace and the ability to sleep at night knowing I have those barrels filled and treated. I'm even thinking about adding one more to my stash.
    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Red Woman,
    How deep is your well? Mine is 278 feet and a hand pump won't work on it. I do have one of "Lehmans well buckets" I can use if the well pump goes down for the count.

    Stephen, our local feed store sells those blue barrels. They're popular indeed up here where the power is so unreliable.

  6. Arsenius, they're a handy backup. Everyone should have at least one.

  7. a few years ago my hubby and i bought each other a berkey system for xmas - what lovely gifts! (we only buy each other one gift for xmas and it must be something related to preps!). so now we had 2 berkeys. we drank berkey filtered rainwater for several years when we lived in the city and it was the best water ever!

    when we moved to our BOL several months ago - those berkeys were a godsend. we lost our well water and lost the ability to flush the toilet. needless to say, in the dead of winter, snow can really be handy. we melted snow and used it to flush the toilet and we also melted snow and then ran it through the berkeys. we now have the 2 90-gallon rainbarrels set up here (they freeze in winter temps so you can't use them then) and because we live on the ocean they are never empty. when we know a big rainfall is coming we empty and refill them with fresh rainwater. we are also about 1500ft from a beautiful salt-water fed river so in any event - we will always have fresh water to drink due to the berkeys. i can't say enough about them! (and for fun - i once put a pile of wet mud in the upper canister and guess what came out of the tap on the bottom? you guessed it - beautiful delicious water!!!)

    oh and one last thing - buy the replacement filters from ebay - they are much cheaper there than on the berkey site. (the filters last about 4-5 years if cleaned regularly - take good care of them and stock up!)


  8. Stassja, that is great advice. Thanks, and as soon as I have a moment in between business today I will order some filters. Check back on all your comments as I do answer.

  9. Stephen - i know that you answer all of your comments - i could tell from reading all of your posts as i read all of the comments too! and i read your post about thanking all of the commenters.

    anyway - only bad thing is i went back and commented back to your comments - so now i worry that you will feel the need to respond to my additional comments which will take time away from your being able to compose new topics to post.

    please don't feel obliged to comment on all of my additional comments - i don't want to hog your blog or make you feel pressured.

    i will just say one last thing and then head out for morning chores - i have really enjoyed my morning and i, and all of your followers and lurkers, await your next posts.

    love and hugs to your family and please keep up the excellent work that you are doing here!


  10. Picture me blushing....but a promise is a promise and I shall always reply. Thank you, very much. Enjoy your morning chores.