Category Archives: Residential Rainwater Collection

Good News for Skagit County Property Owners

Click to enlarge map
Skagit River Basin Instream Flow Rule Area. Click to see enlarged map.

Good news for some Skagit County property owners affected by Washington’s Department Of Ecology 2001 In Stream Flow Rules. According to an article in the Skagit Valley Herald, Ecology’s Kristin Johnson-Wagner says, “The county now has the authority to allow wells as a legal source of water for the purpose of issuing building permits.”

The 56 square mile area within the basin extends from Bayview South to La Conner and as far as Sedro-Woolley. Other areas outside the designated area are still subject to the 2001 ruling with hopes that more areas will be relaxed as well.

According to the state’s website, there is an interactive map tool (iMAP) which will help you learn if your property is affected by the Skagit River Instream Flow Rule . Under “Map Categories”, choose “Planning and Development” and then choose “Skagit Instream Rule Area”.  The area affected by the Instream Flow rule will be shown.

Skagit County Water Source

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.

Quality of Harvested Rainwater

Whether your rainwater harvesting system is for non-potable or potable use, there are key factors that dictate the quality of that collected water and the success of your system.  Collection surfaces should be compatible with intended usage.  While an asphalt shingle roof may lend itself for collection of a non-potable demand, a baked enamel, metal roof would be preferred for potable use.

Rainwater that has been collected in a manner that reduces debris and contamination will store better than that which has not. Bacterial growth can be kept to a minimum by prescreening and aerating rainwater entering storage. Diffusing, or calming water entering storage will reduce disturbance of any sediment, allowing microorganisms to do their job by eating bacteria. All inlets and outlets of cistern(s) should be screened and protected from insects and vermin entering the storage tank.  Mid-level in the water column is the cleanest source of water to be delivered to the pressure pump and can be achieved with a floating/screened suction.

Properly designed and installed conveyance and storage should require little maintenance, but should be looked after by the purveyor. Gutter system and screens should be inspected and cleaned as needed, especially during pollen season. Debris in the gutter should not be allowed to enter the conveyance lines. Periodic inspections will reduce the buildup of unwanted debris that may cause odor or discoloration of your stored water.

By conveying and storing your harvested rainwater properly, your pressurizing and filtration system will operate to its greatest potential, producing quality domestic water for both non-potable and potable demands.