Tag Archives: water collection

Is Acid Rain a Concern in Rainwater Collection?

raindrop stock photoWhy worry about acid rain? pH level is a quantitative measure of hydrogen ions with a level of 7 being neutral. Anything less than 7 is considered acidic, with anything above 7 considered alkaline. In the Pacific Northwest pH of our rainwater is typically 5.5.

Drinking acidic rainwater is not normally a health concern, however lower pH levels can cause blue/green staining in sinks and tubs, and sometimes in severe cases, may cause leaching and damage to copper plumbing. Simple pH testing strips can indicate the pH levels in collected rainwater. Generally, the smallest amount of buffering can adjust levels to a nominal 7.0 , or neutral. Adding 4 ounces of baking soda in solution to every 1,000 gallons of stored rainwater is an effective method of adjusting pH. It is recommended to start with the minimal amount, then test again and increase if necessary.

Neutralizing filters typically contain calcium carbonate, which dissolves as it interacts with untreated water, increasing pH values to appropriate range through addition of neutralizing materials, increasing to 6.5 pH to 8.0 pH although spikes in hardness may incur. Chemical pumps can inject calcite into the water flow after filtration and are effective if placed upstream of the pressure tank or day tank.

It is advised that testing pH levels at the storage site, as well as at the tap be conducted before adjusting. Variables such as temperature and materials used in the water system itself can have effects on pH levels, so it is good to know where your baseline is. Sampling can be done by a lab for accuracy if required.

The key is to know, maintain, and service your rainwater collection system for best results.

Rain Drop Stock Photo courtesy of samuiblue / www.freedigitalphotos.net

Rainwater Collection is a Simple Source for Decentralized Water

decentralized waterRainwater collection, a simple source for decentralized water, can be the answer to our aging, centralized water systems. With expected increased demand from high density development and the high cost of upgrading infrastructure to meet those demands, water will become the new commodity. Much has been discussed about privatization of water districts in order to fund these expenses, turning these districts into “for profit” businesses.  Large corporations such as Nestlé are actively pursuing this new business model.

What effect will privatization and profit generating water companies have on water supplies? Will Wall Street play a part in the trading, much like oil or any other commodity? What then will happen to the average consumer? What level will supply and demand hold on the price and pricing of water?

Rainwater collection and use can play an important role in not only supply, but potentially help keep costs down for the consumer and water districts. Simple water conservation, along with  collection can decrease supply and demand by supplementing centralized water. A rainwater collection system used only for toilet flushing and laundry facilities can save the average home 50% of its use. Commercial buildings can supply their irrigation and toilet flushing needs with rainwater collection while saving thousands of cubic yards of centralized water consumption.

The supply and demand of centralized water can be mitigated with rainwater collection on a large scale by small supplementary rainwater collection systems for commercial and residential use.