Seattleites are Singing in the Rain

Transporting Water TankIt’s not just Seattleites that are having rainwater collection systems installed before the end of this long and extensive rainy season. RainBank has been traveling up and down the I-5 corridor from Portland Oregon to Bellingham Washington this winter. Interest in residential rainwater harvesting is seeing an all time high in the region. Water quality concerns, last year’s drought conditions, and the green movement all have consumers looking for alternate water supplies for potable and non potable demands.

Customers are reporting that storage volumes in their water tanks are remaining full, and with expected rainfall amounts to stay high through Spring, Seattleites and others are “singing in the rain”. Commercial interest in rainwater collection also remains high. Many projects, large and small, are choosing to use rainwater for irrigation and toilet flushing and recognizing cost savings. RainBank Rainwater Systems has met this demand by becoming Pinnacle and Contain Water Tank’s Northwest Master Dealer offering dealerships throughout the region.

RainBank Rainwater Systems is the ARCSA Northwest regional representative and offers workshops for education and promotion of rainwater collection. The mission of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) is to “promote sustainable rainwater harvesting practices to help solve potable. non potable, stormwater and energy challenges throughout the world.”

Ken Blair in Sierra Leone, Africa with Bank on Rain
Ken Blair in Sierra Leone, Africa with Bank on Rain

RainBank Rainwater Systems has met this mission statement for years by developing and promoting rainwater collection best practices throughout the Pacific Northwest and abroad as a founding director of Bank on Rain, a non profit organization with a mission statement to establish ecosystems in developing countries.

Interested parties are encouraged to use the form below to contact Ken Blair to arrange an ARCSA workshop.

Good News For Washington Drought Watchers

flower-768115_640The drought that hit Washington state in 2015 has been nearly eradicated due to heavy rains and snow to ring in 2016. According to the the U.S. Drought Monitor, the south-east corner of the state is still in moderate drought, but with a high percentage of Washington’s water supply coming from snowpack accumulations and which statewide are more than 100 percent of normal for this time of year, most Washingtonians are sitting pretty when it comes to water supplies since forecasts for the April-September runoff period are within the normal range.

What does this mean for the future of water conservation in Washington state?

According to its website, “The Water Supply Availability Committee (WSAC) will continue to meet in 2016 to evaluate current and forecasted water supply conditions and to consider whether drought conditions are likely to be in effect spring and summer.  This web page is provided to track the meeting information for this group.

The 2015 statewide drought declaration expired December 31, 2015.  Forecasts for January thru March 2016 are for warmer, drier conditions as a result of El Niño. Ecology will continue to evaluate conditions and monitor water supplies.”

What does this mean for folks who use water in Washington state?

RainBank had a busy first quarter designing and installing rainwater collection systems in the Puget Sound area and Portland, OR. These were projects where residents and businesses wanted to capture the El Niño driven rains for drinking, irrigation, toilet and/or laundry facilities. Some will use their systems to supplement well or city water, while others are able to go completely off-grid and use rainwater to supply all of their needs.

We don’t have to wait for drought to set our conservation plans in motion. Be proactive and contact RainBank today to learn how you can include rainwater harvesting in your new construction or remodeling project. We work closely with general contractors and architects to design and construct the most efficient, well-constructed system you can find anywhere in the country. We stand by our systems, many of which are still operating after 15 years.

Flint Opens Floodgates for Testing Water Quality

Exemplary pictures looking into Flint drinking water pipes, showing different kinds of iron corrosion and rust (Photo: Min Tang and Kelsey Pieper)
Exemplary pictures looking into Flint drinking water pipes, showing different kinds of iron corrosion and rust (Photo: Min Tang and Kelsey Pieper)

We at RainBank have been writing about declining water quality in public systems in the United States since we started sharing information in 2014. Aging infrastructure is an issue that has been known for quite a long time, but only recently has been brought to greater awareness because of the Flint lead poisoning crisis. Older public water systems are typically comprised of galvanized pipe and can be 70 or more years old. This issue of contaminated water is not new, but has been building over many years and is becoming more widely known because more testing is being performed.

A recent article in USA Today, Beyond Flint: Excessive lead levels found in almost 2,000 water systems across all 50 states, the jarring results of an independent study found that of water systems tested, lead levels beyond EPA standards were found. Overall, these systems provide water to 6 million people, a percentage of which supply drinking water to facilities where children gather or reside – and where some of the highest levels were found. Additionally, some didn’t even notify the public.

Coast to coast, water quality awareness is being raised and tests are being performed. At, it was reported that a hospital in Morristown, NJ recently learned of rising lead levels in its water supply, reporting, Twenty-eight out of 39 samples tested by the hospital on Feb. 22 were above the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s action limit of 15 parts per billion…” Also in Newark, NJ, the largest city in the state, the school system is testing students for lead because, not only was it discovered the levels were high, but it has been known for years – and not reported. (Read more from The NY Times Newark Schools to Test Pupils for Lead as Officials Cite Longstanding Problem)

The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children.

And it’s not just lead. In the Puget Sound, drugs were found in salmon from fouled wastewater. “Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, even cocaine. Those drugs and dozens of others are showing up in the tissues of juvenile chinook, researchers have found, thanks to tainted wastewater discharge.” Additionally, common over the counter pharmaceuticals like Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol were present, along with Paxil, Valium and Zoloft, Tagamet, OxyContin and Darvon. Nicotine and caffeine, fungicides, antiseptics and anticoagulants and Cipro and other antibiotics – were also included in this toxic mix. According to the Seattle Times, “the findings are of concern because most of the chemicals detected are not monitored or regulated in wastewater, and there is little or no established science on the environmental toxicity for the vast majority of the compounds detected.”

Of course, we believe the best solution is rainwater collection. Water harvested from roof runoff is relatively clean and can be used to bypass or supplement city or well water. It has commercial and residential applications that run from drinking to irrigation, toilet flushing, vehicle wash down  and more. Contact us for more information.