All posts by 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.

What is the Most Common Use of Collected Rainwater?

Do you know that the most common use of collected rainwater is not for drinking? Here’s a prior post, which helps answer this question – and explains why non-potable use of rainwater is so popular – and sustainable.

The most common use of rainwater collection is for non-potable use. Irrigation, water features, wash down, toilet, and laundry are all non-potable uses that can have a positive effect on water conservation. A properly designed and installed rainwater collection system will provide enough water to support these desired uses with less impact on our water supply.

Rainwater is essentially free of pollution, so it can be stored without much more than screening. Storage can be underground, above ground, metal, plastic, or fiberglass. If irrigation is the desired use, keep in mind that approximately .623 gallons per sq ft of planting, per week is required for the healthy growth of plants, therefore storage volumes can be a concern in design due to space and costs. Conveyance can be gravity if there is enough head. Head is .4 lbs per foot of elevation. A pressure pump might be necessary to achieve the desired pressure needed. Sediment filtration for a simple irrigation system should be all that is needed to ensure emitters and soaker hoses perform as expected.

Water features such as fountains can recirculate the water being used, so very little storage would be required. Sediment and carbon filtration would be needed to keep pumps and nozzles working properly. A carbon filter would be helpful to keep odor to a minimum.

Wash down facilities can use rainwater collection and save money on their water bills by using rainwater collection as the rinse water. With enough storage, a large fleet can be washed with recycled wash water and rinsed with collected rainwater. Again, sediment and carbon filtration would be the only filtration needed. Wash down of equipment, whether construction or farming, can benefit from rainwater collection.

Toilet and laundry facilities for residential and commercial applications are becoming more popular with new construction. Rather than infiltration, which is mandated, why not use that water. Simple pumping and filtration of stored water is all the treatment needed. A return on investment can be achieved within a few years.

There are a wide range of uses for rainwater collection. With a little bit of imagination, you might come up with a use for rainwater collection that could save you money.

So, the next time you think collecting rainwater for drinking purposes is most common, think again – there are many more uses that are beneficial and sustainable.

Potable Rainwater Collection Adopted in Snohomish County

Snohomish County adopts rainwater collection for potable usage for single family residence.

In September 2015, we published a post recommending that both Snohomish and Pierce Counties adopt rainwater collection for residential potable usage. The necessity for adoption was presented considering a 30% reduction in water availability was predicted in the next 35 years.

The Seattle Times reported about the Hirst Decision and its effects in rural development in many counties throughout Washington. These counties should follow the lead of counties before them by providing a sustainable, viable water rights decision on single family residences that allows for potable rainwater systems. It is the only fair decision to be made.

We congratulate Snohomish County for having a progressive approach to water conservation.  Adding to our list of firsts, this week, we will install the first potable residential system in Wahkiakum County upon their acceptance of a RainBank Rainwater Systems design.

RainBank Rainwater Systems has been Designing and installing Rainwater collection for residential potable usage for over 16 years. We will continue to promote, advise, and educate rainwater collection as a viable, sustainable water source in all counties in Washington State.

We look forward to helping those in Snohomish County achieve water rights for potable usage using rainwater collection.

With Complex Permitting, Choose the Right System Designer / Installer

At the beginning stages of planning a rainwater system, be sure to choose a system designer / installer who will work with you to design and build the most effective and efficient system for your needs. You especially want a company that knows how to navigate the complex permitting process.

Here is some information we originally published last year, which, if you are new to our blog, can be helpful as you plan your own system.

RainBank Rainwater Systems is a full-service rainwater systems contracting company offering design, permitting and construction throughout Washington State and surrounding areas.

RainBank’s rainwater systems are custom designed to meet the expectations and needs of our customers. Whether commercial or residential, potable or non-potable, RainBank works closely with architects, designers, builders, and individual homeowners who appreciate face to face consultations and flexible / scalable solutions. Rainwater collection is appropriate for small scale residential needs and large scale commercial applications. Rainwater collection can help mitigate stormwater runoff, while providing a viable water source for irrigation, wash down, toilet and laundry facilities. With proper design rainwater collection can supplement city water usage for both residential and commercial demands. If properly filtered and disinfected rainwater can provide whole house potable usage in many Washington State counties. Rainwater collection and use can be integrated into a drainage plan to meet the new 2016 storm water codes.

Underground Tank Construction3Permitting can be complex and sometimes frustrating, especially when the rules change. RainBank Rainwater Systems meets all requirements of permitting and engineering for our customers from city, county, and state agencies. We stay up to date on changing codes and permitting requirements, taking the guesswork out of the process. RainBank designs and assembles customized kits and plans for the do-it-yourselfers. Providing detailed designs and components with support from our engineering department.

FiltrationAll onsite management and installation are by ARCSA accredited installers and licensed plumbers. RainBank offers turnkey solutions and we guarantee our work. We specify and order all materials and components, delivered to your location and install, finalize and test your system. We only specify and install the most reliable components that meet our experience of over fifteen years installing systems. We train our customers on how to maintain their systems so they become their own purveyor of water.

Contain Water TanksAdding to our full-service philosophy, RainBank is a distributor of Contain Steel Water Tanks, carrying an unmatched 20-year warranty. We offer other products as a distributor or dealer including:

  • Wisy Products
  • Davey pumps
  • Premier plastic water tanks
  • GC Solenoid valves
  • National water testing
  • Filter cartridge replacement
  • Cascadian Back flush devices
  • Tuffy Screen basket Liners

Contact our team today.