FAQs Polyethylene Water Tanks

by | Jan 27, 2022 | FAQ

Polyethylene is one of the most widely produced plastics in the world.


Polyethylene is commonly categorized into one of several major compounds, the most common of which include LDPE, XLPE, and HDPE. (source)

Clarion Tanks proudly carries a wide range of XLPE and HDPE tanks for a variety of uses. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions:

Q: Can PE tanks be buried?
A: Most above-ground tanks can be dropped into the ground to a depth of 20% of the tank height without issue. This allows the drain to be located below grade and buried, to help prevent damage.

Underground tanks are designated as cisterns or septics, and can be buried completely with up to two feet of dirt cover unless otherwise noted. Underground tanks are heavily ribbed or are ball-shaped to resist ground pressure. We also made a video on this topic, which you can see here.

Q: How do I deal with algae in a PE tank?
A: Algae growth can be greatly reduced by locating the tank away from sunlight, choosing a darker tank colour, and by disinfection.

Q: What is the thickness of PE tanks?

The wall thickness varies from top to bottom on a tank. The bottom base of the tank is the thinnest part of the tank and is made that way to flex when the tank is empty or full. Generally the sidewall is thicker at the bottom of a vertical tank and becomes thinner toward the top.  This is done to increase resistance to head pressure created by the height of the liquid in the tank.

Q: How long will PE tanks last?

There is no good way to determine the life span of a polyethylene tank. Many variables can have an effect on the tank, icnluding, the solution being stored in the tank, if the tank being used strictly for stationary storage or for transport, and the location of the tank (indoors or outdoors), to name a few. Each of these factors will have an effect on a polyethylene tank.

Clarion tanks include standard warranties on our tanks, ranging up to 10 years without defect. Please check with us to confirm your specific tank’s warranty and limitations.

From Extreme Heat to Extreme Cold

Q: What happens if my PE tank freezes?
A: 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 extreme cold. We recommend in these cases, to only hold 80% capacity of liquid to allow room for expansion.

NOTE: Piping and connections 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.

A PE tank can be insulated with waterproof insulation and have heating equipment installed if freezing is a concern.

Q: What is the maximum temperature PE tanks can hold? 

Polyethylene storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 120 degrees F (48.9C). Contents with a temperature in excess of 120 degrees F can weaken the tank’s structural integrity and make it susceptible to deformation and failure.

Q: What fittings come with a PE tank?
A: Most above-ground water tanks are fitted with a 2-inch female threaded pipe connection at the bottom and a 16-inch access cap at the top. Access caps have breather valves that let air in and out as the water levels change.

Q: What about collecting water in a PE tank?
A: Clean rainwater collected can be used for large volume uses such as toilet flushes, laundry, showers, washing cars, and watering gardens. Water for drinking, cooking, and dishwashing must be boiled or disinfected first.

Some of our selection of PE tanks are NSF compliant, and ideal for potable water storage. This depends on the plant of manufacting and the resins used in the specific tank.

NOTE: We have a playlist all on rainwater collection which you can view here.


We hope this answers your most commonly asked questions about PE water tanks.

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