Paint your Plastic Water Tanks to Prevent Algae Growth

Plastic water tanks are an ideal solution for keeping potable water on-site, but algae growth may be a problem in some locations and seasons of the year. However, you can readily-control algae by painting your tank to keep out light. It takes a little preparation and priming, but it's a simple and relatively inexpensive procedure. Below are the materials and supplies needed and a step-by-step procedure to paint your water tank:

Materials and supplies needed

  • Angle grinder
  • Flap-disc sanding wheel (100-grit)
  • Eye protection
  • Plastic primer
  • Exterior latex paint
  • Foam brushes
  • Water hose and spray nozzle
  • Wire brush

Step-by-step procedure

1. Remember safety and health first – Before starting, be sure you are wearing eye protection when using the angle grinder and be sure you are familiar with its operation. If you wear gloves, be sure they fit tightly; loose gloves can be caught in the grinder's disc and cause a serious hand or finger injury.

In addition, be sure to plug the tank's openings with a clean cloth or other cap to avoid introducing plastic shavings or chemicals into the interior. If any contamination occurs, flush it out with copious amounts of fresh water before using.

2. Roughen the tank's exterior surface – The tank's surface should be roughened to allow the primer to adhere. Most plastic tanks will have a smooth finish that may resist your primer applications. To begin, attach a flap-disc sanding wheel with a 100-grit paper to the angle grinder. Begin sanding lightly across the exterior surface of the tank and keep the angle grinder moving to avoid creating thin spots. You should create a uniformly roughened surface with no remaining smooth areas. Be careful when sanding around fittings or threads so you don't remove vital material that permits the tank to be attached to hoses.

3. Thoroughly rinse the tank's exterior surface – With a water hose and nozzle, remove all sanding residue from the tank exterior. Use a wire brush, if necessary, to remove stubborn strands of plastic.

4. Prime the tank's exterior surface – once the tank is completely dry, begin applying a coat of plastic primer to the tank. Cover the tank evenly, but avoid applying the primer too thickly. If there are thin areas remaining, allow the primer to dry to the touch, and apply a second coat. Allow the primer coat to dry overnight before proceeding.

5. Paint the tank's exterior surface – After allowing the primer to dry overnight, apply a high-quality exterior latex paint. Keep in mind that dark colors will warm the water inside the tank, while light colors will reflect sunlight and keep the water cooler; otherwise, color choices are a matter of preference. Once you have finished applying a first coat, allow the paint to dry for a time period directed by the manufacturer's instructions, and apply an additional coat.

Search online to learn more about portable water tanks in Fort McMurray or other areas.