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.
Poorly designed and maintained rainwater harvesting systems can be more than unpleasant.
As many others did, I built a house in the Puna district of the Big Island of Hawaii in the 1980’s. The inexpensive properties of the subdivisions above Hilo provided an opportunity for home ownership to those who could not otherwise afford to build. The subdivisions were created in the 1960’s and 70’s as agricultural, with little infrastructure, certainly no water source. As everyone else did, I built my own rainwater catchment system, designed based on what everyone else was doing. The county provided “city water” stops along Kamehameha Highway, for drinking water for those on rainwater catchment. All other household water use was provided by the catchment system with little filtering and no real disinfection. UV disinfection was not available for small water systems at that time.
Many systems were owner built and consisted of a “pool boy” – an above ground swimming pool with a non potable liner. There were some corrugated steel and a few cement or wooden tanks. Many of the roofs were asphalt shingle, causing a bit of a sheen on the water surface during the hot day. A sediment filter prior to the pump was the typical filtration train and, as mentioned, no disinfection. But, no one was drinking it as far as I knew.
For decades there were no regulations for rainwater catchment systems in Hawaii. Systems were built with not much consideration of public health. Essentially, a large community with no oversight to standards or safe practices. Now, many of these antiquated systems are being contaminated by slugs and snails which have been found to carry “rat lungworm parasite”, a potentially devastating disease. Please see below article.
Water Catchment Systems Need to be Properly Maintained
Rainwater catchment can be a safe, viable alternative to ground water “IF” proper best practices are followed. The industry has grown considerably, along with most states having some type of regulations and permitting.
ARCSA/ASPE/ANSI 63 has been adopted as code by most municipalities that allow rainwater collection for potable use. ARCSA Accredited Professionals are trained and must participate in continuing education in order to keep their accreditation. Designs for permitting are being submitted to Health Departments for plans review. Inspections by county plumbing inspectors during construction of systems is common with bacterial sampling required by some.
It is not the 70s and 80s any longer and rainwater catchment for potable use has hit an all time high here in Washington State. Systems are being designed and installed by professionals that have the training and experience needed for the well-being of their customers. Check with your contractor to be sure they are ARCSA Accredited and know the code requirements. By doing so, you will be assuring that your water source is safe for you and your family.
RainBank Rainwater Systems has broken through the barriers that have restricted rainwater collection as an approved water source for single family residences in Skagit County.
With the instream flow rules, many property owners in the Skagit River Basin were unable to develop their properties. WA State Department of Ecology encouraged Skagit County to adopt the practice as a solution that would benefit the river and salmon habitat, while providing a viable water source. Limited permitting for the affected areas was considered as recently as 2015.
A group of residents from Guemas Island petitioned the county to accept rainwater for potable use for homes that were experiencing salt water intrusion in their wells. RainBank Rainwater Systems, along Tim Pope, ARCSA educator and past president, met with Skagit County in January 2017 to encourage acceptance of potable rainwater collection as a viable alternative source, not only in the instream flow rules affected areas but to those who are experiencing other hardships regarding potable water.
RainBank Rainwater Systems is pleased with the recent design approvals from Skagit County for potable residential RWC systems outside the instream flow rules, allowing for more property owners in Skagit County. We look forward to assisting Skagit County residents with their dreams of developing or purchasing properties with limited water resources.