Q.: I would appreciate any design and construction literature you have pertaining to concrete water storage facilities. I am particularly interested in specifications for watertightness and information on making joints watertight. Does concrete impart any taste to the water, and if so, what treatment can be used to overcome the taste?
A.: Concrete is commonly used without coatings for reservoirs and cisterns. Although some minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium hydroxide may be slowly leached out of the concrete, these appear in such tiny amounts in the water that they are likely to have less effect on the taste than the minerals the water already contains.
Our April 1981 issue contained an article, "Waterproofing: Who Needs It?" beginning on page 305. It emphasized the desirability of using concrete with a low water-cement ratio. This can be achieved by using a high cement content or a low water content or both. Other articles in the same issue discuss waterproof coatings. Although you would not necessarily need a coating, an interior coating capable of bridging any cracks that form in the future might be worthwhile.
The American Concrete Institute has a good publication, "Guide to the Use of Waterproofing, Dampproofing, Protective and Decorative Barrier Systems for Concrete," ACI 515R-79. It is a 44-page brochure available for $17.15 from the American Concrete Institute, Box 19150, Detroit, Michigan 48219. The same Guide also appears in the ACI Manual of Concrete Practice, Part 5, 1981 edition, and in the November 1979 issue of Concrete International.
The subjects of joints, joint sealants and waterstops is covered in a 29-page reprint collection "Concrete Joints, A Vital Part of Concrete," available from Concrete Construction Publications for $4.