Tag Archives: rainwater harvesting

Rainwater Collection in Washington State: Where to Begin?

gutter-484684_640We want to keep our families safe, but when we read stories about sustainability, water conservation, saving the environment, aging infrastructure, even poisoned public water systems – how on earth are we supposed to know where to begin when it comes to rainwater collection?

Here are some tips that can help you decide where to begin. We originally discussed this in a post from 2014:

Whether you are designing your own rainwater catchment system or having one designed by a professional, success of your rainwater catchment system design is dependent on some key factors.

What do I want to accomplish with my design of a rainwater catchment system?

Irrigation, toilet and or laundry facility, supplementary to well water or city water, whole house usage, and sole source are the main purpose of designs.

How much rainwater can I collect from my roof? Will it be enough to supply my needs?

One inch of rainfall per 1,000 square feet of roof will yield approximately 623 gallons of water. Evaporation, wind, and spillage account for 15 – 20 % of loss. A 2,000 square foot roof with 36″ of annual rainfall may yield 44,856 gallons. With an efficiency of 85%, that equals 38,128 gallons.

One inch of rain is needed for the healthy growth of plants. This equates to .623 gallons per week for 1 square foot of planting, which can add up rather fast, so keeping your irrigation needs small and giving consideration to drought tolerant plants is recommended.

Toilet and laundry facilities account for 49% of household usage. Designing and building a system for this purpose alone can cut your water and sewer bill in half. New construction is the best time to implement this type of system however, retrofitting plumbing in an existing home can be accomplished.

Rainwater Catchment System Key FactorsIf the collection area is small or available space for storage is restricted, a supplementary system can be achieved with “slim line” style of cisterns or buried tanks. A small roof can still be effective in collection if used for a supplementary source to well water or city water.

Whole house usage, or potable water, can eliminate dependency on city water or well water, where you can still have city or well water as a back up during dry times. With the advanced filtration and UV disinfection offered today, safe, reliable drinking water for whole house usage will exceed the quality of most well and city water.

Now that you are considering what usage of collected rainfall would best suit your needs, we will discuss sizing, configuration, implementation, and maintenance of a designed rainwater catchment system in upcoming posts.

When you are ready to begin, RainBank will come to your site, discuss your needs and prepare a feasibility study – customized to your usage. There is a fee for this, which would be discounted from the cost when you contract with us to design or build your system. Use the form below to request a quote.

Will Wahkiakum County Be Next?

Possibly anWahkiakumother county in Washington will adopt rainwater harvesting for potable use in single family homes.

As an ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) Regional representative, part of my job is to educate the public and authorities on the use and benefits of rainwater collection. While many counties have adopted RWC for potable use in single family homes, there are still a few that have not recognized the practice and its benefits.

Recently, I was contacted by a potential customer from Wahkiakum County that would like to collect rainwater for whole household usage. He has water rights to a spring dating back to the early 1900,s, but the water is high in chlorides and irons, and not very desirable. To drill a well would surely produce similar results based on existing wells in the immediate area. The customer would like to build a retirement home in this beautiful area, but is unable to do so since the well test results do not meet the county standards.

I had a nice discussion with the Wahkiakum County Health Department, who seemed to be genuinely interested in the concept. I sent the department numerous case studies as well as links to State Ecology, King County Health, ARCSA, and a host of information on the subject. I think I struck a chord with King County’s acceptance and hope to continue the conversation with them soon.

Has your county adopted RWC for potable use? If not please contact me using the form below.  

Rainwater Systems Designs

ruler-1030968_640RainBank Rainwater Systems designs potable and non potable rainwater catchment systems throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

RainBank’s experienced team provides customers with an integrated, progressive approach to sustainable, premium water systems.

Our customers include;

  • Eco-friendly homeowners seeking to add rainwater collection or integrate into plans for a new premium or custom built residence
  • Architects developing plans for premium residential projects
  • High-end building contractors specializing in custom builds
  • Commercial contractors where rainwater harvesting is a component to the scope of the project

We work closely with our clients early on in the project to insure the system design will meet the client’s needs and desires. We spec only quality components, chosen based on our 15 years of experience, ensuring performance for years to come.

RainBank is a full service LLC with in-house engineering, design team, and licensed plumber. Our designs meet all county and state plumbing codes and their requirements. RainBank is familiar with the permitting process in most counties and will process the permitting to alleviate the guesswork for our clients. Our designs include;

  • Calculations of domestic demands & supply, MIDs, & sizing 
  • Drawings from down spout to storage, cistern placement, conveyance, filtration train, connection to household  and civil
  • Complete list and specs of components along with manufacturer cut sheets
  • Operations and maintenance manual
  • County permitting from health department

We install our own designs to ensure the system will meet the high standards we have set in the industry. We offer inspections of other systems for evaluation, real estate and insurance transactions, always with a detailed written report including sampling results and photos for submittal.

RainBank’s team is ARCSA  Accredited & ARCSA  Inspector Specialists.

Need more info? Contact us below: