Submitted by McClarinJ on Mon, 04/28/2008

Due to the likelihood that FEMA or other government agents will enforce restrictions that violate citizens’ rights to own guns, ammunition, food reserves, and precious metals in the event of a severe depression or other calamity, some outlaws might consider burying at least some of their cache of survival items in well-sealed, unbreakable plastic containers.

Large PVC pipe sections with glued-on end caps might be used for smaller items like guns, ammunition, and precious metals. Guns could be wrapped in oil-drenched rags and inside plastic bags. When gluing, these scofflaws would know to swab surfaces with PVC primer first then make sure to quickly and thoroughly slop lots of PVC glue on the parts to be joined, speedily join them, rotating a partial turn, and hold them tightly in place for at least five seconds, ensuring a watertight capsule. Some might use a clean-out plug for easier opening, well sealed on both threaded surfaces with sticky wax from a wax toilet ring after the cache capsule is loaded for burial.

Where might they bury these capsules? Scofflaws realize that anything metal (gold, silver, guns & ammo) buried in their yard or hidden in their wall or attic can be easily located with a good metal detector and they could be prosecuted for noncompliance or conspiracy to withhold contraband if detected. Therefore they are apt to select an off-site location that is free from prying eyes as they bury, a site also unlikely to be bulldozed in the near future. First they would select a spot that aligns with permanent features so they could relocate it. They would use a small tarp to protect the surface from soil spillage and load one or more plastic buckets with their excavated earth. Before digging, they would carefully set aside any surface debris so they could replace it afterward to disguise their digging location. A smart illegal hoarder would tamp the earth well as they covered the cache capsule so it will not settle, leaving a telltale depression.

Since anti-hoarding statutes may entail house-to-house searches for food reserves, expect illegal hoarders to hide at least part of their food reserves underground. This presents a more complex challenge than burying smaller items. One likely if surprising ruse is to hide food reserves in a septic tank. Let me explain.

The hoarder realizes he needs a strong, waterproof, good-sized chamber for storing sealed plastic buckets full of storage foods underground. I have recently researched polyethylene septic tanks and suspect they are already in use for this purpose. They are light enough to be transported by pickup and carried or dragged by two people. They come equipped with manhole covers that could be sealed using the toilet ring wax method after they are stocked with provisions, plus they are non-metallic so a metal detector cannot be used to find them. These tanks are available for about a dollar per gallon capacity. You can judge for yourself by googling “plastic septic tanks” or follow some of these links to investigate:

Many suppliers also sell underground cistern tanks that might also be used in this fashion, not to mention as rainwater storage tanks for which they are intended.

Those who conspire to hoard foodstuffs are sure to select long-term storage foods, adequately protected against moisture and insects. LDS church members have lots of information on storage techniques, which outlaws should be able to locate online.

Here again, care is probably taken to conceal signs of recent excavation, so lots of tarps are no doubt laid down, topsoil set aside for later replacement, and grooming/planting/littering to resemble the surrounding terrain as the final touch. The manhole cover would be buried at least as deep as the top of the tank is wide to avoid any hollow sounds. A sheet of plastic covering the manhole would protect against earth intrusions when the chamber is opened. Let’s say illegal hoarders planned to bury a 1,000-gallon tank. They would need to remove at least 300 five-gallon buckets-full of earth. That’s a lot of digging over several days so they would pick a location hidden from view and unlikely to attract visitors. They could be slowed down or even thwarted by big boulders, bedrock, or tangled tree roots, plus they would have to find a home for their excess dirt away from their cache site. They would be sure to have a couple pairs of tough, comfortable gloves and a good, stout long-handled shovel before they begin. It would be a bit of a workout.

Now that you know the details of how criminal hoarders are apt to try to thwart federal authorities you will be better able to spot suspicious activity and turn them in to the proper authorities. Go get ’em!