Tag Archives: ARCSA

Poorly Designed Rainwater Harvesting Systems

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.

Create Your Own Water Supply

As we’ve written many times over the years, you can create your own water supply, not just for drinking, but also for laundry, toilet and irrigation in a commercial and residential environment, depending on where your home or business is located.

Here’s an article we shared in June 2014, about how rainwater collection is a reliable water supply alternative to city or well water.

“Below are some notable findings on rainwater collection compiled by ARCSA from the 2013 Report Card on America’s Infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Water Companies:”  read more

2016 Was a Good Year for Rainwater Systems

Seattle’s RainBank Rainwater Systems would like to thank our customers and partners for their support this past year.

It has been our pleasure to be part of so many quality projects, residential and commercial, throughout the Pacific NorthWest.

Closing this exciting year we have developed new approaches in design and expansion of our services. Always keeping with our progressive approach, we have gained new alliances within the industry so we may better serve our customers. We are proud to have introduced competition in the steel water tank market, not only in Seattle but in eight Western States with our distributorship of Contain Water Systems Inc. 

RainBank Rainwater Systems has become a Living Building Challenge certified designer/ builder of rainwater collection systems with the construction of Heron Hall, the home of Jason McLennan, CEO of the Living Building Challenge, and one of the world’s greenest homes.

Our very own Chad Lindsly has volunteered to be a co -ARCSA NW regional representative; which means he will serve on a few ARCSA committees in 2017. 

We look forward to another great year in serving our customers and communities. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us about your rainwater collection needs. Use the form below; we look forward to working with you in 2017.