Aquaponic Gardening

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I've been offered a great deal on 3 IBC totes.  All three for $100.

When asked what was shipped in them the seller told me "the soap they use to make disposable baby diapers and feminine products absorbant".  I'm thinking perhaps it's some sort of liquid polymer crystals which aren't toxic.


He gets a new supply periodically.  He said he's sold at least 50 of them, they rinse out easily, no odor, etc.  He uses them himself to water his cattle and chickens.  .


It's only about 20 minutes from my house so I'd be thrilled if I could use them.  I've been searching and searching for some but they've been hundreds of miles away.


Normally I wouldn't even think of taking the chance.  However, if it's something used in the making of baby diapers and such it must be fairly safe.


Please share your thoughts.  Take care and many thanks..





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I hear ya Johnathan, and it's not that I don't agree...but chances are much better (meaning worse) than 1 in 100,000 that you're exposing yourself to even worse things than Lertisan HD20/3 or Lertisan HD50 every day...just by being alive in America (or wherever really). That still doesn't make it good. 

If Bobby was thinking that "perhaps it's some sort of liquid polymer crystals which aren't toxic", well, he might be wrong, but whether or not he or his family will suffer negative consequences as a result of using those IBC's in an AP application is another story...And a decision he must make. Hopefully one not based on fear, nor on naive trust either...

How many people here use Rubbermaid stock tanks in AP? How many folks even after hearing/reading/realizing that in all likely-hood BPA/phalates (known toxins of a particularly nasty variety that do leach) are in all likely-hood used in their manufacturing (since they are not intended for use by humans) have bothered to check it out? A simple phone call, letter, e-mail to the company whatever? None yet that I'm aware of...And I am not going to be the one to burst any bubbles...I don't use them, and I'm not on a crusade, if those using them are OK with it, why would I (who isn't affected either way) not be?.... A few have brought it up here and have largely been ignored. Weird. Until you realize that US industry uses those very same chemicals (banned elsewhere) in things like hospital I.V. tubing, baby bottles, kids toys, pencil erasers, personal care products...the list is endless...Denial, whether on an industrial national level, or personal one seems like a wonderful luxury.

Washing out some Lertisan seems potentially better/safer than using a product that may leach BPA year in year out. (All things being relative, and that statement being just an opinion of mine).
Personally, I wouldn't/don't use either, but I have a family member who is super hyper sensitive to many things that the rest of us are exposed to on a daily basis with no negative effects.

Bobby's choice is in effect is the same one that industry is often presented with...

A risk deemed unacceptable would mean hassle and additional expense. The best we can do is make our own choices, hopefully based on solid information, neither fear nor sheepish trust, and one that is in line with our personal constitutions.

I'd probably pressure wash the thing, use sodium percarbonate, or perborate, then scrub with a simple base like water and baking soda. (Though honestly, I'd not use it on principle alone, but again that has nothing to do with anything really)...

Jonathan Kadish said:

I was hoping you would chime in Vlad, your depth of knowledge is deeper than mine with these chemicals. My thinking is that if there is a 1 in 100,000 chance that one molecule of this stuff get in the DNA of one of my cells and then that cell goes rogue... that is too risky for me. We don't know these kind of probabilities in a situation like this. I play poker and I have had Quad Aces beat by a Royal flush. That is supposed to happen less than 1 in 800 million hands you are dealt... it does and can happen.

I think we're more alike than you can imagine !
Bradly said:

Ok Bobby, I need to tell you what I tell all my friends... don't listen to me  :-)

I usually operate outside the box !!  :-)  

Are totes that had syrup in them good for a aquapoincs system?

I'm not an expert, but if the totes are food grade, then most likely they can be cleaned and used.  The others can correct me if they've run across any kind of food grade totes that were not usable.

buy them.

Clean them, pressure wash, whatever

Do a soda wash.

fill with water and throw some manure in them to feed algae growth. if algae grows will absord bad juju as well

top with some duckweed. duckweed will remove lots of bad juju. throw the duckweed away

reclean and deploy.

HDPE is a pretty good material for tanks and will not be so absorbant on chemicals, the issue is how to remove the fine particulates that may remain and not infest your system.

We make so many mountains out of molehills, generally.  for instance we worry about the container and add chlorinated, brominated, aweful government approved poisons to tap water to the tanks and only want to let the chlorine offgas.. arghhh ignorance compounds when the truth is stifled

But this is just my ranting opinion.

do let us know how and what transpires

I've always thought along the same lines as what you are suggesting Don. If you can grow alge etc in something that it would remove / dilute / clense some of the toxin's from the plastic. But, is there any hard evidence? Is anyone aware of a trail being done to verify this idea?



We used IBC's in Afghanistan to store potable water.  To clean them we used 1 cup of bleach per 100 gallons of water. Fill tanks to top with water and bleach seal and store for 48 hours in the sun.  Drain leave all vents open for another 48 hours.  Fill tank and take water sample for testing for DOD certification for use as potable.  The test should only have a pH, no ammonia, nitrites, or phosphorous.  If container contained any type of petroleum product, distillates or surfactant destroy and discard.

This from our field guide for storing potable water and acceptable containerization practices, DOD and Surgeon General.  So basically if any thing slick, slippery or oily we tossed it, just not worth the risk.

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