Seattle Waterfront Park

Truths and Myths About King County Rainwater Harvesting

Seattle Waterfront ParkI have been designing and installing rainwater harvesting systems in King County and throughout Washington State for 15 years and am still amazed and dismayed at the misinformation that is presented to the pubic when inquiring about the legality, procedures, and permitting for rainwater harvesting.

TRUTH: Rainwater collection is legal throughout Washington State

Washington State Department of Ecology issued an interpretive policy statement clarifying that a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting. As described by Washington State Department Ecology, Clarifications of Washington State Rainwater Law Pol 1017 in reference to RCW980.03 & RCW90.54 and the Environmental Protection Agency’s paper on Rainwater Harvesting Conservation, Credit, Codes, and Cost Literature Review and Case Studies

False: Rainwater harvesting is not allowed for drinking water in Washington State.

It is up to each county and city in Washington State to allow for potable usage of rainwater. King, Jefferson, Whatcom, San Juan, Skagit, and Island are counties that currently allow potable use of rainwater for a single-family residence. It is the health department of those counties that are the typical authorities for regulations and permitting.

Here are some resources for gathering information about rainwater collection guidelines in Washington:

As Washington State counties are recognizing the benefits of rainwater collection and the fact that rainwater can provide a viable source of water for potable usage, other counties will adopt RWC as an alternative water source.

RainBank Rainwater Systems is the leader in rainwater collection system designs and installations in Washington State and president Ken Blair is the NW Regional Representative for The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA). RainBank is committed to helping customers and counties understand the benefits, standards, and policies of rainwater harvesting in order to provide a clean, safe, viable source of quality water.

Seattle waterfront park photo is courtesy of Nicola under Creative Commons

Ken Blair
A rainwater collection systems designer and consultant, Ken has designed and installed residential and commercial systems, primarily in the northwest United States for more than 10 years and, in 2014, began consulting and managing builds in other states. Ken is an accredited ARCSA Professional Designer / Installer and Life Member, the Northwest Regional ARCSA representative and advisor to its education committee and is available to speak about Rainwater Collection Systems design and builds.

Ken is a United States Navy veteran, having served on active duty during the Vietnam War era.

A career entrepreneur, Ken created a new business focus with a commercial dive company in Hawaii in the mid 1980′s to respond to and clean up oil spills, oil spill equipment training, service and maintenance for the oil co-op service industry. Ken is passionate about having a positive impact on the environment and is also a founding director of BANK-ON-RAIN (2011-2014), whose mission is to create grassroots solutions for rainwater collection for consumption and agriculture in developing areas of the planet.