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Rainwater collection vs. pigeon poop

 
Posts: 11
Location: Auvergne, France
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Hi,

I live in a ground-floor appartment in a small town in France. I have a garden. The gutter from the house's roof passes through my garden, so I've routed it to a 1000 L IBC container.
There happen to be many, many pigeons living on the roof of the house and nearby.
I've put some mesh at the beginning of the section of pipe that goes into the tank, to prevent mosquitoes from entering or leaving the tank.
The problem I have is that every time it rains, a lot of pigeon poop falls down the gutter. It ends up covering the mosquitoe mesh. Water overflows from the horizontal gutter, and very little enters the tank. At the moment I have to go out in the rain (sometimes inmy pyjamas) and manually remove the pigeon poop from the gutter.  Not a very sustainable system indeed.
Does anyone know how I could catch the pigeon poop and let the water flow through the mosquito mesh ?
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Posts: 826
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Plants love pigeon poop, it's a form of nitrogen and probably a few other minerals.  Don't worry about watering your plants with it.

If you wanted this for drinking water, that's not good.  But plants, they love this stuff *s*
 
master pollinator
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Some sort of coarse strainer or collander could help capture the large material before it reaches the fine mosquito mesh. A stiff, coarse mesh inside the entire eavestrough, with spacers underneath, is another option.

Personally, I would be cautious about putting pigeon poop water on any plant part that's eaten raw (e.g., lettuce leaves). Salmonella is a natural companion to most birds. Careful application on the ground/roots should be okay though.
 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I would fit a leaf catcher or a first flush unit in the system.Here is a company that makes them,
rain harvesting gear

The first flush system can catch the poo and hold it within, you would need to empty it every now and then.
 
Cristo Balete
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Right, right, it shouldn't go on food you eat.  I was thinking landscape garden.

Is the only place the pigeons land is on those roof tiles and on that white gutter?  Could you stop them altogether by hanging laundry lines ofold  CD or DVD discs that flash and twist in the breeze?  Or laundry lines of red foil flash tape, that scares birds.   Or buy some of the spikey strips that restaurants use to keep birds from landing on roof surfaces, put a couple strips on the tiles and one on your gutter.
 
Pierre Ma
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Thank you all very much for your replies. I don't think I can use a first flush diverter because my system is too small (and I also don't have the budget). But I'll try the mesh over the eavestrough, and I'll talk to my landlord about installing the spikey strips.
 
John C Daley
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Maybe I can design one you can make. Give me some time.
 
John C Daley
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Economical first flush unit

HERE is an idea.
Where you have the elbow replace that with a T piece.
Run pipe from that T across to your tank.
Below the T, add a 450mm length of pipe with a screw cap glued to the bottom.
That cap needs a hole drilled of say 12mm diameter to allow drainage of the trap.

It will work in this manner;
the first flush of water containing much of the poo will drop into the trap, and cleaner water will flow through the T to the tank, once water haas filled the trap.
The hole in the cap will enable the trap to drain and be ready to capture the next first flush when it rains again.
The trap needs to be cleaned by unscrewing the cap when ever you see the need.
 
Pierre Ma
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John C Daley wrote:Economical first flush unit

HERE is an idea.
Where you have the elbow replace that with a T piece.
Run pipe from that T across to your tank.
Below the T, add a 450mm length of pipe with a screw cap glued to the bottom.
That cap needs a hole drilled of say 12mm diameter to allow drainage of the trap.

It will work in this manner;
the first flush of water containing much of the poo will drop into the trap, and cleaner water will flow through the T to the tank, once water haas filled the trap.
The hole in the cap will enable the trap to drain and be ready to capture the next first flush when it rains again.
The trap needs to be cleaned by unscrewing the cap when ever you see the need.



Thanks for this John. I wonder where my mosquito mesh would go in your design ?
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 1292
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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In Australia its possible to buy a mozi filter that fits in the plastic pipe.
If you are using mesh, I would insert it inside the T branch that heads to the tank.
So poop will head down the trap and water will pass sideways through the branch, good luck.
 
Pierre Ma
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Dear all,

I ended up making a sort of DIY leaf catcher with some spare PVC pipe and mosquito mesh. I installed it on top of my existing mosquito mesh. After a couple of mild rain storms it seems to be effective at catching pigeon poop while letting the water flow into the tank. I believe that it mostly slows down the flow in the horizontal portion of the pipe. Two consecutive layers of mosquito mesh probably slow down the flow too much, though. It might overflow during a bigger storm.
But anyway it did the job while I was away on holiday, and though it still requires some maintenance (i.e. regularly removing the poop around the leaf catcher), it was cheaper to make that a full-blown first-flush system.  
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Douglas Alpenstock
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Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.
 
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