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Working with IBC totes

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An IBC tote in the foreground with the SALIRAJA Yurt Project in the background
IBC totes getting ready to be used on Swaleny

IBC totes are typically around 1 cubic meter which is 1000L (in the very congruent SI system) or 264 gallons. The most common volume is 275 gallons.

IBC totes are a fantastic resource for many water systems, especially Rainwater harvesting. In order to get the benefit of working with an IBC (called cubitanque in Spanish), there are few important details to keep in mind:

  • There is a large capped opening at the top.
  • The cap at the top is usually 6" with a smaller 2" bung hole plug embedded in the cap.
  • IBCs typically have a 2" outlet at the bottom of the front face with a butterfly or ball valve to open and close it.
  • Often there is a cap with a hole and a removable cover for the outlet.
  • Often there is a nozzle accessory for evacuating the liquid
  • Often people would like to attach other fittings to the valve outlet for better infrastructure, but devising the right plan can be difficult.
  • The pressure is related to the head (the height difference of the water). So a full IBC will exert much more pressure than a full 5 gallon bucket. That pressure will reduce as the IBC drains.
  • Used IBCs may have been made as food grade, but subsequently had toxic chemicals stored inside. If using for a water project make sure that the IBC is food grade and new, or that you know what has been store inside.

Valve outlet sizes[edit]

The outlet size refers to nozzle directly after the valve where the liquid will evacuate. As opposed to the #valve connection sizes which is where the valve connects into the IBC.

Typical outlet sizes include:

  • 2" NPS male nozzle

Valve connection sizes[edit]

  • 2" BSP female

Cap sizes[edit]

Typical cap sizes include:

  • 2" BSP bung hole female



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