Tag Archives: rain barrel

Colorado Legalizes Residential Rainwater Collection

barrel-837976_640Until May 12, 2016, it was illegal for a Colorado resident to capture rainwater from his or her roof for any reason, not even to water plants or a garden.

A step in the right direction, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1005 into law that allows for the limited harvesting of rainwater. The law takes effect on August 20, 2016. The issue of water collection has been a hot topic for years; other attempts to make residential rainwater collection legal have failed in the state legislature. Why? Businesses in the agriculture industry and other water rights holders feared that there wouldn’t be enough runoff for their use.

Why now? According to Pueblo Rep. Daneya Esgar, in a quote from a story from CBS Denver, “We just want to make sure we’re not the only state in the union where this is illegal. I think that’s why it gained so much national attention, even international attention”.

Now, residents can collect rainwater – but with limits. The law allows for harvesting of up to 110 gallons and the collected water must be returned to the homeowner’s property – perhaps to water a garden or wash a car. However, the only way the law could be passed without pushback from the agriculture industry, was to include a provision that if farmers and ranchers can prove that as a result of the new law, there is not enough water for their use, the number of barrels allowed could be reduced.

There are different restrictions, depending on the type of residence you have. Colorado State University has written guidelines on how and how much rainwater you can collect if you are a Colorado resident and Colorado State University Extension has developed a fact sheet with additional details on rainwater harvesting.

How do RainBank’s readers feel about this law? We value your feedback. Leave a comment with your thoughts about the new Colorado law allowing limited residential rainwater collection.

Proper Installation is Key for Rainwater Collection System

Chad InstallRainwater collection systems can be a simple as rain barrels or as complicated as whole house potable usage. Still, proper installation is imperative.

Even with the simplest design, like a rain barrel garden system, proper installation is the key to a successful system.

Screening the roof runoff before it enters your storage is essential for water quality. Organic matter entering your storage will decompose and add an odor and possible discoloration of your water. A simple downspout screen upstream of your storage should suffice for small non-potable systems. For household use systems, gutter screening, so debris does not enter downspouts and conveyance lines, achieves best results. This should be followed by prescreening or filtering for smaller particulate, which can be accomplished by a screen basket placed in a sump on top of cistern. All screening requires inspections and cleaning as needed. A vortex filter is a device that replaces a sump or tank screen, which requires less maintenance and cleaning. These devices are available in downspout application, replacing downspout screens, as well as larger vortex filters that are generally installed before cisterns or sump boxes.

Water that is drawn from the cisterns to pressurization, filtration and use is best taken from mid level in the cistern. This can be accomplished with floating suction. Water in the mid water column is the cleanest water in the cistern. Any particulate in the storage tank is either floating on the surface or sinks to the bottom. In addition, if water entering the cistern is aerated and sent out horizontally, it will not disturb the sediment at the bottom of the tank. The aeration of the water will help keep bacteria to lower levels.

Tight line from downspouts to sumps or cisterns should have a drop of 1/16″ per ft. so as to keep standing water in the pipe. The same holds true for gutters. Standing water, if not aerated and free of particulate, can begin to go sour and not only create more bacteria, but can cause an unpleasant odor. Therefore, conveyance lines should be kept away from direct sunlight, have a gentle slope, and kept clean of organic matter. This may cause more work during installation, but is well worth the time and money to do so.

Wisy products, including a vortex filter, calming device, floating suction, and overflow device will keep your water clean and particulate free for storage. Routing your conveyance lines so they are kept from UV light, sloped, with no bends greater than 45 degrees will help water entering your cisterns as clean as can be with the end use being cleaner safe water, whether it is for potable or non potable.

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Welcome to Washington’s Rainy Season

Seattle Downtown After RainOctober 1 is the official start of the rainy season in Washington State and even though annual rainfall met expectations, another dry, warm winter is predicted for the region. This means that the snowpack – the summer rain bank (see what I did there?) will be missing in action for another year.

According to the Department of Ecology’s drought page, “despite recent rains and some boost for stream flows, extreme drought still covers two-thirds of Washington state.”

Now would be a good time to come up with a personal drought contingency plan, since Mother Nature isn’t going to provide relief any time soon. Washington state’s drought plan, released in 1992, refers to fish and timber harvesting, but makes no mention of rain harvesting.

When planning a rainwater collection system, you must account for the amount and intensity of the average rainfall in your area. That information is usually available at the county level, but can also be captured via National Oceanographic and Atmospheric, Administration (NOAA) and the National Climatic Data Center.

For a small system, you can head to your local hardware store, purchase a rain barrel, hook it up and, at the very least, can collect water for your garden.

For a whole house, or commercial system, work with a pro that knows how to design and install the most thoughtful system, which is customized to your specific needs. Ask questions; provide information about your roof size and materials, family size, whether you want to capture water for drinking, irrigation or laundry, etc.

When you work with an accredited professional rainwater harvesting installer and designer, the outcome will be a system to meet your water needs for years to come – and it will add value to your home or business.