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Can harvested rainwater be used for bathing?

 
                              
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Wondering about good and not-so-good uses for harvested rainwater.

I don't have a system in place yet, just gathering notes. 
 
                            
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If you can keep it clean in storage, rain water is great for bathing.
 
Jami McBride
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And for extra soft hair  my Grandmother would collect just enough to wash her hair in.  She just couldn't stand what city water did to her hair.
 
Leila Rich
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As long as your roof and storage system are suitable for potable water, rainwater is good for averything
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Adding a little chemistry to the discussion:

The big design manual recommends keeping two cisterns, one soft, the other hard.

Soft water is slightly acidic, and great at dissolving minerals, soap, etc. It's great for washing, but it would also tend to deplete your bones & teeth if you drank it. It also tends to pick up heavy metals from plumbing and other surfaces it might encounter.

Hard water is the reverse: helps build up skeletal, dental, nervous health, but leaves a soap scum and mineral deposits on whatever you wash with it.

Rainwater is naturally soft, and pollution has made it even more so. The soft cistern doesn't need any extra effort.

Hard water can be made by adding a bag of limestone chips to the cistern. The water drops off any heavy metals at the surface of the limestone, and picks up calcium as any acidity is neutralized.
 
Al Loria
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Location: New York
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Joel, a question regarding soft water.  If you use water that is softened through a salt exchange water softener on your home water supply, does it have the same effect on the body with respect to bones, teeth and so forth?  I know the added sodium is not a good thing.



Al
 
                        
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I also have a question about soft water; can it be used for plants or will  the salt do them in?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Naturally soft water is what most plants are adapted to.

Eating calcium-rich foods like leafy greens or dairy is enough to supply what soft water lacks. Dietary calcium also helps your body to handle any dose of heavy metals, past or future. But I think it would theoretically be better to have a non-softened tap for your drinking water.

I have read that sodium in irrigation water can become a serious problem, especially if evaporation exceeds precipitation. It should be easy to figure the amount of sodium you're adding to the soil by dividing your rock salt consumption by your water consumption, and multiplying back the volume of irrigation water.

In dry climates it might make sense to use chemically-softened greywater for irrigation of only salt-tolerant plants like asparagus, beet, and barley, and set aside other plots for irrigation with stored rainwater or hard municipal water.
 
C Shobe
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Leila Macbeth wrote:
As long as your roof and storage system are suitable for potable water, rainwater is good for averything


Would it be a horrible idea to consumer rainwater collected from a standard sort of shingle roof?  I'm just renting a house right now and wonder if the water would be usable.  The alternative is well water that goes through a water softener.
 
                      
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Lots of people in Puna (Hawaii) live on catchment.  I've been washing dishes and clothes and people with rainwater for 25 years.
 
Jami McBride
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Joel, do you have any numbers on the ratio of lime chips to water?

And there are mineral drops to add to water for drinking - if this (healthy drinking water) is your concern.  Directions for how much to add is on the bottle.
 
                    
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We drink our rainwater, unfiltered and no chemicals added. Nothing tastes finer  We're a family of four and all the locals do the same as we have no other source of water. Obviously we bathe in it too.

In rural Australia water tanks catching water from the roof is the norm. I get the feeling it is less common in the US for some reason.
 
Tyler Ludens
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No problems from parasites from dirty birdie feet or anything?

 
Paula Edwards
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Yes, even in the suburbs it was usual to live on rainwater for a long time in Australia. But then the authorities got crazy and ruled rainwater out. Now rainwater is in once again. But before they really told you to rip your tank out (so much to private ownership of land).
Mains water is treated with several chemicals like chlorine , fluoride. Who knows what this does to you if you consume so much chlorine over years?. What is if chlorine reacts with the metal of the pipes? I'm not firm in chemistry, maybe someone is more knowledgeable.
If you drink rainwater you should keep your gutters clean. and a dark tank seems to be better. You can build a first flush diverter out of usual PVC pipes: your outlet of the gutter is the diverter. You cut it off above the ground, maybe 20 cm and put a screwable lid on it. Poke a hole into the lid. On the top end of the "downpipe" insert a t and a knee and this is the pipe to the tank. So first the rainwater goes into the "downpipe" with all the dirt. Only when this downpipe is filled up clear water goes to the tank. You should open the lid every now and the to leave the dirt out.
 
C Shobe
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ediblecities wrote:
If you drink rainwater you should keep your gutters clean. and a dark tank seems to be better. You can build a first flush diverter out of usual PVC pipes: your outlet of the gutter is the diverter. You cut it off above the ground, maybe 20 cm and put a screwable lid on it. Poke a hole into the lid. On the top end of the "downpipe" insert a t and a knee and this is the pipe to the tank. So first the rainwater goes into the "downpipe" with all the dirt. Only when this downpipe is filled up clear water goes to the tank. You should open the lid every now and the to leave the dirt out.

Do you have a picture of this?  I think the picture in my head isn't right.  But it sounds like something I could add on to a rented house as long as I was willing to put it back the way it came when I leave as the cost wouldn't be more than a couple pieces of drainpipe.
 
Paula Edwards
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here's a picture. It shows only the upper part, but the rest is only both tubes prolonged. the left tube on this picture does have the screw lid. The right tub goes to the tank.
It goes under neath the house and then up to fill the tank. This is not the best you can do as you may have standing water in the tubes,
water.jpg
[Thumbnail for water.jpg]
 
Paula Edwards
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and I realized that a washing powder did not work, because there where residues on the fabric and our machine is a really good one. I use liquid detergent since then and only little (it is better for the machine anyway).
 
Matt Ferrall
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Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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I collect rain water in food grade 55gal drums with a spigot a couple inches off the bottom to allow stuff to settle below.I have a overflow nossel at a couple inches below the top.I connected a garden hose to the overflow and use that to clean stuff with or pour into my wood fired hot tub which I just ran my first trial run  on last night.The problem with rain water catchment and bathing for me is less in the bird germs and more in the people germs.Trying to conserve the  water because its limited means more people in the  same water.
 
                              
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Forget bird feces, watch out for raccoon feces. 

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20129

Raccoon Roundworms - "No effective cure is available"
 
                      
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anyone know of a list of where (in usa) its legal to use rain water for drinking?
i want to since we get plenty of rain use it and a unground or under basement polyethelene tank or 2 with a filter and uv filter tween the 2 tanks.
also as for my own use i would opt for ABS over pvc pipe pvc is nasty stuff to be drinking from , i relize some peoples plumbing is made of pvc .. not mine lol

also clorine water + sanitizers = cloro dioxins
 
Paula Edwards
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what does this mean "sanitizers" do they put sanitizers in the water?
You don't get anything else here than PVC.
 
Al Loria
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Location: New York
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ediblecities wrote:
what does this mean "sanitizers" do they put sanitizers in the water?
You don't get anything else here than PVC.



According to the EPA;

Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.
 
Al Loria
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Location: New York
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forgot to mention that chloramines are also formed when chlorine is introduced to water containing organic matter.  This is not a desireable compound, and if memory serves, is a carcinogenic.
 
                      
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i was referring to some of the anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners they combine with clorinated water to form some nasty cloro.. dioxins that are later ejected into waterways. i would look into ABS pipe i searched real quick and there are several ABS pipe manufactures / companies in austraila Durapipe, Philmac, Tyco, Eurapipe thats only the first few listing as i dont want to look too hard
 
Delilah Gill
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Location: Southern Georgia
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I use 2 rainbarrels to collect water for my plants so it really doesn't matter if its contaminated by dust and things from my metal roof. If I wanted to drink it, say during a flood or hurricane and had no other source, I'd just bring it to a boil first thus killing off any harmful bacteria or other things. I teach survival skills and bringing water to a hard boil is the best method of ensuring the water is potable for human consumption other than adding chemicals (which personally I don't like the taste of).
I built a small 12 x 12 X 4 ft gold fish pond with shelves and water plants for my aunt to enjoy several years ago. It collects rain water from one portion of the roof where there is a valley from the porch and drops into the pond (creating a grotto effect). It usually fills it to overflowing. I also built a dry stream bed where the over flow that then waters a bog garden, my fruit trees and many other plants that I added specifically to that location before finally draining off to a ditch and on to the local river. I wanted as much as possible to stay on the property and be used for plants.
There are many uses for collected rainwater; the same ones for other sources of water obtained in any other way.
 
Jason Long
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Location: Davie, Fl
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rbrgs wrote:
Lots of people in Puna (Hawaii) live on catchment.  I've been washing dishes and clothes and people with rainwater for 25 years.


When I lived on Opihikao Rd (Pahoa, Hawaii) dishes, clothes, myself, and watering of plants was all rainwater. We also built a system with a 4x7ft glass window, with 6inch walls around it, pitched at a slant, with a rainwater barrel underneath it for drinking.

I never had the water Ph tested (nor anyother testing), however it tasted super fresh and clean!
 
                        
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yes perfectly good for bath water and laundry water, we have a tank and drums, we use tank for all of house, and drums for laundry. see our permaculture essay page for pic of our set up the drum remains sealed from mossies. each drum covers 9 loads of washing includes rinse water.

len
 
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more ...   2016 PDC and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs http://richsoil.com/pdc
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