Tag Archives: Rainwater collection

7 Misconceptions About Rainwater Collection

Trying to navigate the internet for information about rainwater collection can produce confusing results. You might find misleading or false information – or even outdated information, since this industry has changed considerably over the past few years as rainwater harvesting moves from niche to mainstream. Here is a list of 7 misconceptions about rainwater collection:

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Rainwater systems are expensive and hard to maintain.

Depending on the design, a potable rainwater system can be approximately the same cost as a well. Maintenance of a well-designed system requires very little maintenance. Hire only those who have experience in designing and installing RWC systems to ensure a system that operates properly.

  1. MISCONCEPTION: It is illegal to collect rainwater for usage.

Many states have revisited water rights laws and have or are passing legislation concerning RWC.

New York, Virginia, Florida, Rhode Island, North Carolina, US Virgin Islands, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California, Oregon and Washington have all passed some type of legislation legalizing rainwater collection. In many, it is up to the county whether collection for potable use is allowed. Check with your county building department.

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Rainwater collection is new idea.

Rainwater collection dates back as far as 2600 BC in India. Many cultures have harvested rain for usage since then.

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Rainwater is dirty and should not be used for potable demand.

Rainwater is relatively clean compared to surface water. It has not come into contact with contaminants before storage other than the roof. Proper design and installation of storage, conveyance, filtration and disinfection results in exceptional water quality.

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Aquifers and streams will not be recharged if rainwater collection is allowed.

Rooftop collection and use enhances recharge of aquifers and streams due to infiltration. Rather than evaporating, the collected rainwater is used and then infiltrated into the ground through the septic system, and as a result, percolating back down into the aquifer or in stream for future use.

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Water is infinite, so what’s the big deal?

The natural cycle of water is constantly changing from ocean to atmosphere, to rivers, lakes and aquifers. It is best explained by an article from Our Blue Planet at Infinite Water

  1. MISCONCEPTION: Rainwater collection can’t possibly provide enough water for my usage.

For every 1,000 sq. ft. of collection area, per inch of rain, 623 gallons are available for collection. A 2,000 sq. ft. home can collect over 44,000 gallons annually.

To learn more about rainwater collection, visit www.arcsa.org

This article was originally published under the title:  Myths of Rainwater Collection

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.

The Greenest Residence in the Country

Seattle based RainBank Rainwater Systems is a proud participant in the construction of the greenest residence in the country.

Heron Hall, designed by Jason McLennan, included rainwater collection as its sole source of water for his residence.

RainBank Rainwater systems installed a 15,000 gallon Contain Water Tank, along with filtration and ultra violet disinfection for potable household use. Much of the vetting of materials were already part of RainBank’s design theory and were easily appointed for this project.

“Tracy and Jason F. McLennan discovered their front door in a corner at Earthwise Architectural Salvage in Seattle. Before serving as a department-store display, it was hand-carved in Afghanistan. “People were a little shorter then,” says Jason. “I’m 6-2. I had to build a pedestal for it.” Eventually, that pedestal will hold a quote: “All that can save us is a sustained awakening of the human heart.” (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)”

RainBank Rainwater Systems is pleased to be part of this worthy educational project.

Click here to read more about the resources used, as published in the Seattle Times.