How to Build a Rainwater Collection System – Part 5

This is Part 5 in the series “How to Build a Rainwater Collection System”.  Click to see parts onetwothree and four.

How to Build a Rainwater Collection System - Part 5Steel water storage tanks for rainwater collection are generally bolted together grain silos adapted for this use. Made of galvanized corrugated steel panels, wall panels average 17 – 20 gauge with the galvanized roof panels being high rib or flat seam with a center hatch at the top and an access hatch near the bottom of the roof. A felt pre-liner is used between the steel and the main liner to protect it from abrasion. Liners are usually polyethylene and NSF approved when used for potable application or PVC, which is generally used for non-potable. However, PVC can be used for potable, as long as it is NSF approved.  RainBank recommends polyethylene for this application.

Steel tanks need to be built on a engineered cement slab with hold-down anchor brackets designed for the seismic zone where the tank will be placed. Plumbing for overflow, suction, discharge and any cross over lines used in multiple tank applications can either be PVC flanges, polyethylene or PVC boots if coming up through the cement slab. If penetrating through the side of the wall panels, PVC flanges will need to be used.

How to Build a Rainwater Collection System - Part 5Steel water storage tanks offer durability and protection of the liner from UV rays, plus offers an industrial or rural architectural look. Many commercial applications use this type of storage for both of these reasons. Overflow lines can be installed on the outside of the tank, but it is recommended that any pressurized lines be underground and frost protected in our Washington climate.

Accessories include exterior ladders, platforms, and level gauges. The galvanizing does not need painting although if properly prepped, tanks can be painted to suit.

Assembly can be difficult for the homeowner or contractor, so it is recommended that a trained installer with the proper tools and knowledge be used.

Are you interested in building your own water harvesting system?  Leave a comment below.

Should You be Concerned About Storm Water and the Seattle Environment?

Should You be Concerned About Storm Water and the Seattle Environment?Storm water is a concern in the Puget Sound area. Storm drains are overwhelmed during a large event resulting in sewage being released in our waterways. Fish, shellfish, and marine animals experience the brunt of these spills. Plus, toxins from roof run-off enter our storm water systems with every rainfall. Roof runoff carries oil from our driveways into the drain system and into the Puget Sound. Pesticides, fertilizers, and pet fecal matter is carried from or roof runoff into the street drainage system and into the storm water resulting in these pollutants entering the ecosystem.

By collecting the rainwater from our roofs and redirecting it to be used for irrigation, laundry facilities, toilet flushing, and potable whole house usage, residential runoff can be greatly reduced causing less impact on our environment.

The State of Washington has allowed rainwater collection for residential and commercial usage since 2009.

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Can Rainwater Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water?

Can Rainwater Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water?Here in the Seattle area we are fortunate to have enough rainfall to sustain a rainwater collection system year-round. Whether a rainwater catchment system is designed to supplement city water usage, or a larger system designed at the sole source of water for your home, a rainwater collection system will save money on water bills and provide good clean drinking water for your home.

Do you know that with 36 inches of annual rainfall a year, an average home with 2,000 sq ft of roof can produce over 44,000 gallons of water?

In rural areas of the Pacific Northwest, where there is enough room for larger amounts of storage, rainwater storage of 10,000 gallons or more can be constructed to get a household through the summer months.

Can Rainwater Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water?In urban areas, or within Seattle city limits where space is more of an issue, smaller volumes of storage can be used with buried water tanks or slim line design water storage tanks. As little as 3,000 gallons of storage can supplement a house as much as 70 to 80%.

With more concerns of water quality from our municipal water supplies, rainwater can provide clean, safe drinking water for your family. Rainwater, unlike surface water is relatively free of contaminants to start with. With proper storage, filtration, and treatment, clean, safe drinking water  can be achieved for your household for years to come at a cost that is affordable.

RainBank Rainwater Catchment Systems has been providing designs and installation of sustainable water systems for more than 10 years in Washington State and is now designing and installing systems in the Seattle area.

“Drop On Leaf” courtesy of winnond /