March/April 2013: Ask Dr. HOG


Ask Dr. HOG About Water and Earthquakes: Water Tanks in Seismically Active Zones

Dr. HOG recently visited a school in Northern California that wants to install a large, round 1,500 gallon tank on a hill above the playground for decent gravity feed. They felt that steel was a sturdy, durable choice. What’s wrong with this scenario?

The Problem
There’s a reason many steel tank manufacturers do not sell in California – and its all about rock ‘n roll. Well, actually its slip ‘n slide as the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate grind together. When the ground moves abruptly under a large or medium body of water contained in a tank the top section of water sloshes, and the bottom section moves with the tank body, effectively creating some very powerful shear.  A riveted tank might just pop its rivets, pouring around 6 tons of water down onto the playground.  A welded tank attached to a stiff foundation could shear in the middle.

The Solution
The volume the school wants to store is not a viable project for Rainwater HOGs, so I recommended daisy chaining two 660-gallon round Bushman tanks with a secondary fastening system to the ground, and allowing room for an additional tank when funding became available.  Daisy-chaining smaller tanks has a number of advantages to the monolith proposed:

bushman tank 660 gallons big1. It acts as a baffle to prevent the water mass gaining too much momentum in a seismic event, giving the system more chance of surviving an earthquake without spilling.
2. It facilitates a progressive installation as funds become available.
3. It prevents large scale failure – in the event that a tank fails (this is known to happen with some thinner walled tanks, although a Bushman quality tank means that it probably won’t), there is still functional storage in place.
4. It is less expensive and a more residential-scale installation of compacted gravel vs. the large scale concrete or other substrate that a big tank requires.

Click here for real time earthquake monitoring. And click here for more answers from Dr. HOG.

Emergency Preparedness: Back to School with a Plan

October 2011

Edna Maguire Elementary Emergency Water Supply

“A small investment [and a] smart move,” says former elementary school emergency coordinator Ken Campbell of the choice to use one 50-gallon eHOG to shore up his school’s emergency water supply.

Edna Maguire Elementary School in Mill Valley, California (where Ken acted as emergency coordinator for five years)  teaches 338 kindergarten through fifth graders. The school has a shipping container that holds emergency supplies for the school, including first aid kits, radio communications, tents, food and water. An olive green eHOG sits near the front door of the container, holding an emergency water supply.

The eHOG holds pride of place (and 50 gallons of drinking water) at the entrance of the container.

“It’s a good measure as a secondary device,” says Ken. The eHOG is supplemented by gallon jugs of water, which provide a transportable water supply. The American Red Cross recommends one gallon of water per person per day in the case of an emergency.

Edna Maguire Elementary School keeps their emergency supplies in a shipping container.  

Other benefits of the eHOG to Edna Maguire:

reduced environmental impact – our 50-gallon tank can be re-filled from the tap, reducing the waste of discarding expired gallon water containers.
reusable -The eHOG can be used like a water fountain, or the kitchen sink, to re-fill water bottles that people already have.
space-saving – The small footprint of the eHOG allows more room for remaining emergency supplies.
increased safety – in case of a natural disaster, the eHOG will not roll (as would a barrel), ensuring the safety of any kids in the path.

The Whole HOG: October 2011

October 2011

2011 ARCSA Conference

Simon Dominguez, CEO of Rainwater HOG, is freshly returned from the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) conference in Portland, Oregon. He met with old friends (including Tom, Dean and John)….

Tom Sparga of RainSaucers            Dean of BARR Plastics (left)                                                       with John of RainHarvest Systems

…and made some new ones. We’d like to welcome our newest readers to The Whole HOG!

We received great feedback from folks at the ARCSA conference, and wanted to extend the conversation to you. What do you want to see more (or less) of in our monthly newsletter The Whole HOG? Comment to tell us what you think!

Emergency Preparedness (and Waterless Gas Heaters)

February 2011 found New Zealand reeling from a devastating earthquake in the city of Christchurch. All five of the city’s water reservoirs were damaged. Whole blocks of the city, using waterless gas heaters, were without any emergency back-up supply.

Many cities and power companies offer rebates for the more sustainable waterless gas heaters. They are almost 20% more energy efficient than traditional tank water heaters. Efficiency is a measure of heat transfer from the energy source to your hot water. For small houses and nearly all apartments, water heater tanks provide the only back-up emergency water supply. The problem is they are too bulky and inefficient to use.

Hence, to live sustainably, you need a waterless heater – and a decent back-up supply of water. The eHOG has you covered when it comes to an emergency water supply. Read on to find out how everyone from local elementary schools to one of the nation’s largest homebuilders have incorporated eHOGs into the plan.