8 Tips for Maintaining a Rainwater Harvesting System

maintenance-1151312_640Captured for drinking, laundry, toilet flushing, irrigation, fire suppression or wash down, since this post was first published in 2014, under the title How to Maintain a Rainwater Collection System, homeowners, businesses and government agencies have embraced the benefits of collecting rainwater as a sustainable alternative to water from aging public systems.

Whether your rainwater collection system consists of simple rain barrels or whole house potable usage, maintenance of your system is essential to its successful operation. Simple tasks will keep clean water flowing for years to come with little effort.

Here are eight tips for maintaining a rainwater harvesting system.

  1. Gutters should be kept free of leaves and pine needles so as not to create tannins or discoloration of the water.
  2. If possible, cisterns should be placed in a shady area so as not to promote algae growth. A screen basket at the entrance of the cistern to keep debris from entering should be cleaned as needed.
  3. If a sump tank is used for transferring water to cisterns, periodic cleaning will help keep the water in the cistern cleaner.
  4. Any PVC pipe should be painted for UV protection and protected from freezing.
  5. Filtration elements should be changed as needed with canisters cleaned at time of changing elements.
  6. If the system is for potable use, the UV bulb should be changed per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  7. Shocking the system with chlorine during UV change will help keep the plumbing lines disinfected.
  8. Finally, keeping a log of maintenance will help keep a schedule of your tasks.

You can click here for a free copy of RainBank’s recommended maintenance schedule.

Ken Blair
A rainwater collection systems designer and consultant, Ken has designed and installed residential and commercial systems, primarily in the northwest United States for more than 10 years and, in 2014, began consulting and managing builds in other states. Ken is an accredited ARCSA Professional Designer / Installer and Life Member, the Northwest Regional ARCSA representative and advisor to its education committee and is available to speak about Rainwater Collection Systems design and builds.

Ken is a United States Navy veteran, having served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. He attained the rate of E-4 Machinist Mate.

A career entrepreneur, Ken created a new business focus with a commercial dive company in Hawaii in the mid 1980′s to respond to and clean up oil spills, oil spill equipment training, service and maintenance for the oil co-op service industry. Ken is passionate about having a positive impact on the environment and is also a founding director of BANK-ON-RAIN (2011-2014), whose mission is to create grassroots solutions for rainwater collection for consumption and agriculture in developing areas of the planet.

3 thoughts on “8 Tips for Maintaining a Rainwater Harvesting System”

  1. I appreciate your tips for keeping a water tank clean and functional. I think that it’s imperative to give your plants a good quality of water so that it helps the most. I believe that it’s also good to find the specific water tank that you need in your situation.

  2. It’s interesting to learn that when it comes to maintaining a rainwater system that there are a lot of different things we can do to make sure that everything is done properly. I am glad you pointed out that we need to make sure that we need to change the filtration elements as needed. This is one thing that we will keep in mind so that we will be able to keep things up and running properly when we finally get our own tank.

  3. My wife is wanting to start a garden this spring, so we were thinking of getting a rainwater harvesting system to cut back on water costs. I like that you suggest placing the cisterns in a shady place so algae doesn’t grow. We’ll keep this in mind when clearing a spot in the yard. Thanks for the help!

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