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benefits of rainfall collection

 
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Thanks Rob.
Its very common in Australia.
We do not have the freeze issues that exist in North America, so if you don't have a big freeze problem it will be ok.
Do you want to describe in more detail your plans and I can comment.

Concrete domes usually do not have anyway of catching the water from the roof, unless they are designed and built in from the start.
A lot of the freeform homes build with earth tubes, earth blocks  or even a lot of Middle Eastern houses do catch rainwater.
 
John C Daley
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I found this You tube link to an Off Grid bloke that has managed to catch and use rainwater
He covers freezing ect
capturing rain in the USA
he is in Missouri

Essentially he has the tanks in a building that he heats, with not a lot of fuel according to him.
He will insulate the shed soon and hopes that will reduce the heating needs.
Somehow his taps in the paddocks do not freeze, I can't work out how that is the case.
He states that he doubts the tanks would freeze, but the heating prevents the pipes and valves from freezing.
He keeps the room at 43 deg F

His comment about mixing rain water with town water causing problems, puzzles me, I have never seen that problem.

His reason for catching rain is multiple;
- wells cost $10,000
- wells need power and he is off grid
- it works
- his system cost $3000, and previously he paid about $120 per month for water, so on this property after 4 years he is in front, financially.
 
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John C Daley wrote:

Concrete domes usually do not have anyway of catching the water from the roof, unless they are designed and built in from the start.
A lot of the freeform homes build with earth tubes, earth blocks  or even a lot of Middle Eastern houses do catch rainwater.



That's a good point that I mulled over, too. I'm in the initial information gathering stage so I don't have plans.  I've been interested in concrete domes for a couple reasons.  One, we have hurricanes/floods, and two, I think it will be easier to get past the city building inspectors.  (I'm probably building within city limits.)

If I went that way, and wanted to collect rainwater, I'm thinking about building in a trench around the perimeter so that any rain that hits the dome would fall into the ground gutter.  Then be diverted to the tank.  Anyway that is my half formed idea after reading your post.  
 
John C Daley
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Any trench based collection system will be prone to more detritus than a gutter system.
Any gutter system would not need to be in steel, it could be free formed channels that are up the wall above any tank height.
Also, a trench system would need pumps and that is something you should try to avoid, simply because of the expense and potential loss of water if that system fails.
 
Rob Lineberger
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Thanks again.  I should have clarified.  I have full control over everything because it is completely undeveloped land.    I was thinking of having the tank (5000 gallons or so)  in the basement.  Making concrete trenches all around the perimeter of the home at the "base" of the house, which would run to a grate, then some sort of percolator (activated carbon?) before it reached the tank.  Then water would be pumped to a higher tank for use in the home.  Again I am just mulling over ideas based on your post but this is a very interesting topic to me because we get huge bursts of rainwater followed by drought here.
 
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John C Daley wrote:I think the time has come for me to teach the known world about the benefits of capturing rainwater for domestic use.

And to start a discussion about why it should be used, anybody who suggests it is unhealthy, just has the wrong information.



I have to agree that people have a weird sense about rainwater being unhealthy, or needing a gazillion techie gadgets to make it work.  Granted, this is an n=1 report only, and we do not pump/run it into the house. I simply haul it in from the back yard

Our well pump lost its prime back in March, and I can't get anyone to even come look at it to fix it, even the people I paid over 2K in repairs in the last year.  Contacted the city to find out about connecting to the existing infrastructure, it's a 5K pop for them to drop a meter, and then another 500-1K for me to get line run to their connection.  I don't have kind of money currently.

So my DIY rainwater collection is totally primitive.  It meets the needs of me and an 8 year old boy(this gender has some benefits here, lol) plus a geriatric Jack Russell terrirer   YTD we have 23.99 inches of rain at my location.

I put a 150 quart marine cooler (used from a junk shop 25.00) up on cement blocks.  I covered it with stainless steel screening to screen detritus.  I don't have gutters, so I just picked a place where the water flows down off the metal roof in a rush with each rain, and I have an additional  33 gallons of assorted buckets, plus 40 1-gallon jugs.  I leave the lid off of the cooler, because the one time I didn't the water got very funky and was only good for toilet flushing.  It was at a high pollen count time and I think the lack of air let that stuff get wayyy out of hand.  I do leave the screen on all of the time (held on with little clamps).  I fill jugs or buckets from the drain hole in the cooler, which is about 1 inch above the bottom.  Sometimes I've had algae growth - didn't seem to impact anything except for the color.  When  I know a big rain is coming through, I'll usually empty the cooler into the garden, wipe it out, and let it air dry in the sun if the algae seems excessive.  Lately I've been thinking of adding a second cooler in some kind of stepped set up with a hose to the drainholes (since I couldn't move a full cooler by myself to just put another one under the flow area).

My homemade elcheapo  filter is a plastic fast-food cup of sand and gravel, with a piece of felt on top, and an activated charcoal flat filter below (total cost I think is roughly 10.00)  It takes me about three minutes to filter one gallon of water.  That goes into a Brita pitcher in the fridge for a second filtering.  We've been drinking this for months with no digestive or other upsets.  

I use straight unfiltered rainwater in the electric kettle for my coffee and tea. We bathe in a stock tank with untreated water or, sometimes when we're really flush with water (hah!) I'll run the camping bucket shower for a real splurge.  I've even used it for a sprinkler substitute for the boy to play in outside from time to time.

Until recently, we had received regular weekly rainfall so keeping stock was no big deal. Then, we went to 102+  degree days and a serious lack of rain for about a ten day period.  We got down to our last 12 gallons of water, which was a mix of 'flush' type and drinking type.  I do have a kindly neighbor who will allow me to fill my cooler with his city water, but I've only had to do that once when the well pump froze up over the winter.  Had we not had rain today, I would have probably had to go this route.  I did go to the laundromat this past week due to our water stores.

We have no running water in the house - everything is done by bucket or jug - dishwashing, manual clothes washing, toilet flushing and bathing/teethbrushing, etc.

My garden is really very small, but I've never run out of water in the 13 gallon trash pail that I use for garden hand watering (herbs, greens, a few fruit trees and such)


Hopefully I'll be able to get something done for permanent water before winter comes.  Otherwise I'll have to come back and update on how the cooler method does with snow and below freezing temperatures


Water is something I used to use with abandon, never really even giving it thought.  Now we survive and thrive on what the sky drops down.  It does take thought - every bit of water usually gets used twice except for any grease-filled water.  Bathing water gets dumped to another bucket for toilet flushing, along with dish and clothes washing water.  I even collect the condensation from our one window unit and use it to flush the toilet as well.  

Having adjusted to this method, I did have a giggle when the city said the base monthly billing price ONLY included 768 gallons a month.  I simply hope to keep this mindset when we do get a permanent solution.  Just because water is there today, doesn't mean it always will be.  Anyone could try this simple and cheap method just to see how it works for them.
 
John C Daley
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We go months without serious rain here, its normal.
Funny to hear about no rain for 10 days.
Do you have any photos of your place, I may be able to help design something?
Can you get an IBC, one of those 1000L shipping unit?
Some of those are Ok for water to drink and they can be put on top of stacked pallets.
 
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John C Daley wrote:We go months without serious rain here, its normal.
Funny to hear about no rain for 10 days.
Do you have any photos of your place, I may be able to help design something?
Can you get an IBC, one of those 1000L shipping unit?
Some of those are Ok for water to drink and they can be put on top of stacked pallets.



I have always lived in rainy climates, so it's difficult to remember at times what other parts of the world experience as normal.  I suppose that does sound funny to you guys, lol, a mere ten days.

The term IBC unit wasn't familiar to me, so I looked it up.  I've not seen any of those appear on Craig's list locally. There used to be a lot of those blue food grade containers listed, but I haven't looked recently to see if they are still around, I think they were 55 gallon, at about 20.00 each.  Those would probably be more easily found than the caged larger containers.

What did you want photos of, the area where I currently harvest the rainwater or...?  

Thank you for your input.
 
John C Daley
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Perhaps the roofs etc where you hope to capture the water from.
IBC are handy because if you get the ones with valves you can screen things too they are easy to work with.
Some have fittings that are hard to find, and expensive to purchase.
 
Rob Lineberger
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John C Daley wrote:Any trench based collection system will be prone to more detritus than a gutter system.
Any gutter system would not need to be in steel, it could be free formed channels that are up the wall above any tank height.
Also, a trench system would need pumps and that is something you should try to avoid, simply because of the expense and potential loss of water if that system fails.



I see.  So I can put the gutters higher up on the wall.  Makes sense.  I do not understand what you mean about not needing pumps.  If the tank is under the house, no matter what, some type of pump will be needed, won't it?  Thanks again, this is really helpful.
 
John C Daley
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Not having pumps to get the tank filled is the trick, of course you will need them to use the water.
I see I was not clear about the way I wrote the note.
Are you in a frost zone, is that why you are putting the tank underground?
 
Rob Lineberger
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John C Daley wrote:Not having pumps to get the tank filled is the trick, of course you will need them to use the water.
I see I was not clear about the way I wrote the note.
Are you in a frost zone, is that why you are putting the tank underground?



Im not in a frost zone. It's a matter of gravity. In a dome house the widest collection area is at the bottom. Therefore the tank must be below that.
 
John C Daley
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As the building curves to the ground, the area of catchment lost if you draw water off at say 5 ft would not be much, because the walls are close to vertical at that point.
Volume lost would not be much but the benefit of cleaner water would be worth it I believe
 
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Perhaps a way around the freezing water tank issue is to have it architecturally designed into the interior of the house where the sun can hit it through windows in winter – thermal mass for heating, cooling and potable water storage all in one?

Surely it’s been done somewhere, Mr/Ms Google may provide further answers.

In regards to Aussie tanks, traditionally the water offtake is several centimetres from the bottom of the tank to ensure no sediment pickup. Whether it’s galvanised steel or concrete, once the tank ecology stabilises, there are no issues.

Buyer beware though: most steel tanks these days have a lining of plastic film to increase longevity, concrete tanks may have plasticisers in the mix that assist in strength but a potential hazard to humans, poly tanks for human consumption are suspect – I don’t trust long term storage in plastic.

In our climate, water security has always been an issue so IMHO there’s no such thing as too much storage, with the potential for a bore connection for added protection.

In regards to mercury, lead, or other (natural) contaminants in rainwater, town water remains a cocktail of chemicals to ensure it’s safe, sparkly, clear and good for our teeth; so, it’s all a matter of how far people want to overkill a topic.


 
John C Daley
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The use of Archetects is not needed to have a water tank inside the building line.
As for contamination of water by the tank materials, plastic, concrete, steel etc is something always brought up but never substantiated.

As a water Engineer facts rather than assumptions are important.

Half the people in rural Australia would be sick as dogs if there was any truth in those contamination claims.
 
John C Daley
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Collecting dew

These are great ideas Harvesting Dew for potable water

“Collecting rain water is simple, but harvesting dew is very challenging,” Prof Roy told India Science Wire in an interview. “The dew condenser designed, developed and field-tried by us is novel.
Condensers are planar panels made of high emissivity plastic film insulated underneath. They get cooled by re-radiation at night and can harvest 15 mm of dew water in the season.
While condensers are specifically engineered to condense dew, rain can be routinely harvested using the same surface.”
 
John C Daley
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It is a fantastic idea, just plan and move with it.
My partner has family in Zimbabwe and they mentioned the town water supply at their farm is intermittent.
They are white farming folks.
Rose has heard me lecture about the topic of rainfall collection and mentioned the concept to them.
Surprisingly they had not thought of it!!
There is good rainfall in their area, and having installed tanks, they now can wash, shower and bathe etc.

They are amazed how successful it is.
I am amazed it was not normal practise.

The Enemy of progress is the hope of a perfect plan
 
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I drain my tanks in the late fall and leave them open until spring. Otherwise the tanks would burst. Since I use city water for all inside uses it's not a big deal. I mainly use the collected water for the gardens and trees. If it became necessary to use them year round I'd be sunk anyway, because of municipal limits on water collection and the lack of water in the area. The tanks were empty by the end of July last year, and weren't refilled until late August.

My "first flush diverter" doubles as a downspout during the winter so there is no water drain into the tanks until I close it in the spring.
 
John C Daley
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I am intrigued by the limits you speak of , with water collection. Can you expand on that please?
With 12 inches of rainfall, would you collect much water anyway?
 
Lauren Ritz
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John C Daley wrote:I am intrigued by the limits you speak of , with water collection. Can you expand on that please?
With 12 inches of rainfall, would you collect much water anyway?



Sure. I have three 250 gallon tanks and a roof. The tanks usually fill entirely in the first spring rains, then the rest of it goes into the ground. I just have to stop collecting during the winter so the tanks don't freeze. I'm already over the municipal limits (100 gallons without a permit), so adding more tanks would be problematic (although I have considered putting them in and just leaving them unconnected until needed).
 
John C Daley
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Why are there limits for the volume of water you can catch?
 
John C Daley
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UTAH STATE LAW:
To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the use with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.
A person may collect and store precipitation without registering in no more than two covered storage containers if neither covered container has a maximum storage capacity of greater than 100 gallons.
The total allowed storage capacity with registration is no more than 2,500 gallons. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land on which the water is captured and stored.
There is no charge for registration.
When you submit this form, your browser will be redirected to the Rainwater Harvesting Registration certificate, which you should print for your records.

MORE INFO
it is not illegal to collect rainwater in America (the United States). ... Ten states have rules specifically allowing the unrestricted collection of rainwater. Only four states have specific restrictions against collecting rainwater : Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah.

So the issue is logical in some ways, but because people interpret things, its logical in another way
FOR EXAMPLE
Most people think of tanks etc when thinking of rainfall collection
But that's not the problem.

The problem is when people build reservoirs over hundreds of acres of private property to "collect rainwater," they actually disrupt the behavior of water ecosystems.
This is why water law and water rights management gets very complex.
With a series of dams and ponds, one landowner amassed 13 million gallons of water that would have otherwise flowed to the watershed.

Most places have an exemption for modest amounts of collection for personal use, but the question becomes "where do you draw the line?"
Colorado currently (2016) has zero tolerance for any rainwater collection (It is actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home​)

HERE IS ANOTHER INTERPRETATION
If you’re talking about putting a barrel on a rainspout running off your roof, that’s not illegal anywhere. It cannot substantially impair anyone’s surface or underground water rights.

Whoever told you that doesn’t understand what they are talking about. To get in trouble with the law you have to collect rainwater on a mass scale: many, many acre-feet of diversion. You have to collect so much rainwater that you’ve usurped an entire watershed, and streams and springs and wells on other people’s property dry up. In that case, if you don’t own all the water rights from that watershed, then you’ve interfered with someone’s water rights just as surely as if you put a diversion dam in the stream, or pumped out an entire aquifer on which someone’s well relies. If you don’t understand why that’s illegal then you must not live in a dry climate, or you’re a city-dweller who thinks water comes out of a tap.

Water is a funny sort of property because it runs downhill, over and under boundary lines, but it is still subject to the law. The details of enforcement of water rights varies from place to place, but it is generally regarded as stealing, and you’ll be ordered to stop doing it or go to jail.
 
Lauren Ritz
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John C Daley wrote:UTAH STATE LAW:
To collect, store, and place the captured precipitation to a beneficial use, a person must register the use with the Utah Division of Water Rights as detailed in 73-3-1.5.
A person may collect and store precipitation without registering in no more than two covered storage containers if neither covered container has a maximum storage capacity of greater than 100 gallons.
The total allowed storage capacity with registration is no more than 2,500 gallons. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land on which the water is captured and stored.
There is no charge for registration.
When you submit this form, your browser will be redirected to the Rainwater Harvesting Registration certificate, which you should print for your records.
...
HERE IS ANOTHER INTERPRETATION
If you’re talking about putting a barrel on a rainspout running off your roof, that’s not illegal anywhere. It cannot substantially impair anyone’s surface or underground water rights.

Whoever told you that doesn’t understand what they are talking about. To get in trouble with the law you have to collect rainwater on a mass scale: many, many acre-feet of diversion. You have to collect so much rainwater that you’ve usurped an entire watershed, and streams and springs and wells on other people’s property dry up. In that case, if you don’t own all the water rights from that watershed, then you’ve interfered with someone’s water rights just as surely as if you put a diversion dam in the stream, or pumped out an entire aquifer on which someone’s well relies. If you don’t understand why that’s illegal then you must not live in a dry climate, or you’re a city-dweller who thinks water comes out of a tap.

Water is a funny sort of property because it runs downhill, over and under boundary lines, but it is still subject to the law. The details of enforcement of water rights varies from place to place, but it is generally regarded as stealing, and you’ll be ordered to stop doing it or go to jail.



In order to get in trouble with the law you just have to draw attention to what you're doing. I am NOT registered with the Division of Water Stupidity, and likely will never be. I could be fined for not being registered and still collecting "their" water, even though that water goes straight into the ground. People have been fined for collecting more than the allowed amounts without registration, although I'm not aware of anything more than fines. One lawsuit, which the state lost, after which they implemented their asinine 100 gallon rule (OK, 200 gallons in 100 gallon containers). Prior to that water collection was entirely illegal. The information put out by the DWR says that it's to prevent people from storing large amounts in unsafe conditions that then cause a problem downstream. Water has always belonged to the state in the Western US, and they defend their rights religiously. Using water you do not have the rights to is a criminal offense, even if it comes off your own roof.
 
John C Daley
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Wars have and will be fought ovr water.
Where I live in Australia, massive volumes have been stolen from catchment areas, such that rivers have stopped flowing, so world wide water ownership is challenging.
 
John C Daley
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Rob, how have your plans to use this concept been progressing?
 
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Addressing concern about mercury in rainwater, a search online using key words "orthomolecular" chlorella binds with mercury returns positively provocative data beginning with these two.

Page 8:  https://tinyurl.com/yyrgo2fg

Action items: 1.Neurotoxin bowel binding program to remove the neurotoxins into the feces (out), reduce oxidation and inflammation of the bowel: chlorella, red/ green clay, charcoal, IMD



Page 2, column 2:  http://www.mbschachter.com/latitudescheltherapy.pdf

So, chelation helps minerals to get into the body, while “chelation therapy” generally refers to the binding of minerals to remove them from the body. One accepted use of chelation therapy is to remove toxic met-als like lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic, which tend to be relatively toxic even at low levels.



Page 5, column 2:

NDF stands for nanocolloidal detox factors. It is a dietary supplement, without sulfur, made from whole food products. NDF reportedly binds to heavy metals using the algae chlorella. Typically, chlorella is thought to mobilize heavy metals through the bowel, and those who developed this product claim it can also eliminate metals through the urine. I can’t speak to whether research supports this. It is available without a prescription, but I would suggest checking with a doctor before its use.

 

It should be said that natural sources of chlorella and chlorophyll should be easy to find on walks or in our gardens, and in algae and seaweeds.  It can be grown in a pool, same as chlorella / chlorophyll manufacturers do inland.  If a concentrated amount is desired, there are organic sources and sellers, and the cost need not be exorbitant to be effective.

Also this, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734693/ which describes how chorella was used to absorb radiation at Chernobyl.  A bit off topic with consideration for mercury and heavy metals in rainwater, yet nonetheless fascinating how nature seems to provide an antidote to most of what humans throw at her.

There is much more to be found on the topic of detoxification from mercury and other harmful heavy metals.  Most of us know chlorophyll is in dark green vegetation.  However, over decades natural solutions have been so naysayed that some people have difficulty giving something so simple as a "green pigment in plants" a diligent try.  Yet the importance of sun, air, and water demand acknowledgment without our full understanding of the magic they bring to our lives.  It certainly does not hurt to try 'green plant pigment' :.)

Personally I can say I beat a watch and wait blood cancer (1 year deadline supposed for 2007) without chemo or radiation because, thankfully, western medicine practitioners don't believe in directly poisoning or cooking blood - only organs.  I did it with diet and a handful of supplements, from which I give most credit to rest, home made water, chlorophyll, and vitamin C + lysine + hydrolyzed collagen.  Combined over a time and only as needed, these also fixed other things that had been out of whack.  One deficiency creates a chain reaction that appears like a group of symptoms.  Two or three moderate to severe deficiencies can look and feel like proverbial hell  Now, I am down to activated charcoal for incessant black mold exposure where I live, and vitamin C daily because our bodies don't make it and I get enough of other nutrients through diet except vitamin C.
 
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I have my doubts about Poly water tanks being a good choice for me here in Western Oklahoma where it gets near 100F and stays there for 3-1/2 months. I'm a super-taster- I can tell you if things with oil in them are rancid - nuts, flour, oil and also plastic. I can't drink bottled water that has been sitting in the sun or in a warm car for very long as I taste the plastic and sometimes right off the grocery store shelf too. To that end, I've been wondering about steel tanks. I see many of them in my area; they have been pulled out of the gas fields. I'm wondering if they can be 'scoured' and safely repurposed for water?
 
John C Daley
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Its interesting to read your opinion about poly tanks.
live in a similar climate, and have not had any issue with any of my 6 20,000L poly tanks.

BUT, I am open to facts.
Steel tanks were popular until Poly came along, but they do rust over time.

Are plastic tanks safe
 
denise ra
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A neighbor told me yesterday that the fracking industry uses clean water and has dedicated semi-truck tankers for hauling clean water. Since the gas field is playing out(decreasing) in my area he suggested they might be for sale cheap.Otherwise, perhaps concrete or ferrocement or steel would work for me. I need to have my well tested as this same neighbor said many in the area have died of cancer or had it. Of course they are farmers and ranchers and have probably been using chemicals without proper PPE their whole lives. I suppose I would want to test my rainwater too if I was to drink it because of my near neighbor's open pit disposal of gas field chemicals.
 
John C Daley
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Testing the water is sensible.
Concrete tanks have problems as  well, cracking if the foundation is not good.
But it can be repaired.
But generally I have seen many working well.
 
John C Daley
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A DETAILED RESPONSE TO A QUESTION WHICH IS LISTED BELOW
Wow, I have heaps to tell you.
I may add some of my answers to my other link later.
My background is as a Civil Engineer I worked with Town water supply systems and construction.
I have lots of experience with farm and household water systems in rural parts of Victoria, Australia.
I also have a 20 acre farm in Bendigo [18 inches rainfall ] which I have lived for 38 years.

I will list some websites that are helpful and then I will share my experience of the claims made about water treatment systems sugestted.
IE De-bunk recommendations made by many people.
filtration

I will add my comments to your post in CAPITALS, I have deleted some of your post to make it clearer.

"We're looking to split land with my parents and my dad has spoken with a local rainwater system company but I have not.
WHEN YOU SAY SPLIT, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SHARE LAND ETC

I can't believe the guy is saying it would cost $40,000 to get the system we need! We also looked into a well; a well would be about $30,000 and go 700 feet (213 meters) deep.
I DOUBT HIS QUOTATION IS REALISTIC, HE MAY BE TRYING TO GET YOU TO GET A WELL

Our ground water here is very hard due to a plethora of limestone, so I presume rainwater automatically is healthier.
YES SUBJECT TO A FEW QUALIFICATIONS WHICH CAN BE DEALT WITH.
ABNORMAL NUMBER OF BIRDS ON THE ROOF, DUST FROM FARMING OPERATIONS OR A ROAD, OVER SPRAY FROM A FARMING NEIGHBOUR

And, the ground water comes from an aquifer which many lawmakers seem superficially concerned about drawing from.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Naturally, the concern was greater in the 2000s when we were in drought here. AQUIFERS GET OVERLOADED AND DRAINED IN DROUGHTS

I know there are a number of endangered species that live in the aquifer and springs, so I'd be happy to leave it alone by using a rainwater system, but $40k!?
AQUIFERS ARE UNDERGROUND, WHAT DO YOU MEAN ABOUT SPECIES LIVING IN THEM?
DO YOU MEAN RELY ON THEM WHEN THEY BREAK THE GROUND SURFACE?

Since getting into permaculture (just this past April) it only made sense that a rainwater system would be more economical, so I feel like there may be some excess spending going on with this $40k system.
MANY IN THE WORLD RELY ON DOMESTIC CATCHMENT
THE WHOLE WORLD RELIES ON RAINFALL!!!


From what I know, the system we got an estimate on involves a tank to hold 3 months supply, a filtration system at the tank, another filtration system at each of the houses (2), and corresponding pumps to move it.
3 MONTHS IS REASONABLE, PRIMARY FILTRATION IS REQUIRED, SECONDARY FILTRATION MAY NOT BE REQUIRED PUMPS ARE NECESSARY

This would be one main system that we would use to get water to two homes since my parents and I are both looking to build on this property.

Your thread has shown me the filtration system at the tank is probably unnecessary and maybe even the in home filtration system.
I HAVE ADDED THE NEED FOR PRIMARY FILTRATION SINCE THE WHOLE MATTER CAN BE CONFUSED. I EXPLAIN WHET IT MEANS ON MY PAGE.

Regardless of where I get my water, I want to put in a re-mineralization filter in for our drinking water so I'm wondering if we would need ANY filtration systems that are related to the rainwater tank or if just this one for our drinking water is sufficient.

You make rainwater sound so simple and cheap... NOTHING IS LOW COST, THERE IS ALWAYS A COST WITH ANY SYSTEM BUT IT CAN ALWAYS BE AFFORDABLE- I WILL EXPLAIN LATER

maybe even having two separate systems for each of our homes would be better- so we don't have to move the water up and down hill. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS MORE CLEARLY.
NORMALLY ITS BEST TO HAVE ONE COMPLETE SYSTEM AT EACH HOUSE.
BUT IF THERE WILL BE WORKABLE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE HOUSEHOLDS A COMBINED SYSTEM MAY BE BETTER.
THE 200FT ELEVATION DISTANCE MAY BE A DEAL BREAKER!

I forget the distance at which we are building our homes, but it's close enough to share a septic system. WHAT TYPE AND HOW

There is maybe a 200 foot drop between the two build sites as well since the property is on a hill. THIS MAY BE AN ISSUE, WHAT LINEAR DISTANCE WOULD BE BETWEEN THE HOUSES?


So, onto my questions.
How much does rainwater really cost? RAINWATER IS FREE, HOW YOU STORE AND CIRCULATE IT COSTS MONEY

You indicated it is cheaper than wells, but in our example it is coming out to be more.. even though the well is so damn deep.
I WOULD SEEK A SECOND OPINION ON THE COST OF WATER TANKS ETC.

Do we really need filtration systems? PRIMARY FILTRATION PREVENTS A LOT OF RUBBISH AND DUST ENTERING THE TANKS.
SECONDARY FILTRATION FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION IS NOT ALWAYS REQUIRED BY NECESSITY BUT MAY BE REQUIRED BY LOCAL LAWS!!!

Because of our hard water, it is typical to have water softening systems installed- I assume that is unnecessary for rainwater?
TESTING WILL SHOW WHETHER ITS NOT NEEDED, I WOULD BE SURPRISED.

Would it even make sense to have one larger system or would one smaller one for each home make more sense?
APART FROM THE 200FT HEIGHT DISTANCE A SINGLE SYSTEM IS VERY VIABLE AND BETTER BECAUSE THE TANK WOULD BE BIGGER

Does rainwater still work for larger families? YES, THE BIGGER THE FAMILY THE BIGGER THE ROOF AREA CATCHING WATER IS NEEDED.


For context, we're looking at Startzville, Tx. 36 inches annual rainfall, no snow"

MORE TO COME



Standard Practice for Household Use. MY RESPONSES IN CAPITALS

A common practice in off the grid homes is to CAPTURE RAINWATER IN A SMALL TANK  VIA A PRIMARY FILTRATION SYSTEM AND FIT A PRESSURE WATER PUMP AND  then store it in a small pressure tank.
From the pressure tank the outgoing water is MAY BE split into two separate paths - one path for potable and the other for non-potable water.

A purification process is added to produce potable water. POINT OF CONJECTURE The major advantage of this approach is that it requires a much smaller unit and costs less, since it treats less water than a whole-house unit.

But the disadvantage is that it requires a dual plumbing system – one to supply filtered but non-potable water to the toilets, clothes washer, irrigation faucets, etc., and one to supply potable water to the faucets.
NOT NEEDED, THE SYSTEM CAN BE SPLIT PRIOR TO THE FILTER SYSTEM AND KEEP THEM SEPARATE

An apparently low-cost, entry-level system OF FILTRATION is a countertop or pitcher type unit for potable water.
However, when measured on gallons of water processed between changing filters, these units tend to be much more expensive in the long run.
For example, a typical faucet unit available at most large hardware stores needs its filter changed every 100 gallons.
For a family, this would be more than once a month and each filter costs about $30. This could cost nearly $500 a year, just for filters!

Before investing in FINAL filtration or purification equipment, invest in removing particulates before they enter into the system by installing gutter screens, leaf screens and roof washers.
[ PRIMARY FILTRATION ]
Removing materials before they enter the system is far easier and less expensive than dealing with them afterwards.

There is no perfect solution for disinfecting water, as all solutions have some environmental cost.
Some require substantial energy, some create harmful by-products and some waste water.

To save money, test your water (have you heard that before?) VERY GOOD AND AN ESSENTIAL IDEA and get the right unit to solve your specific problem.



 
John C Daley
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FROM why collect rainwater , Texas paper

16. What are some of the benefits of rainwater harvesting?

There are a number of benefits to using water from rainwater harvesting systems:

• The water is practically free: the only cost is to collect and treat it.

• The end use is located close to the source, thereby eliminating the need for costly distribution systems.

• Rainwater provides a source of water when a more traditional source such as groundwater is unavailable or the quality unacceptable.

• The zero hardness of rainwater helps prevent scales from building up on appliances and so extends the life of appliances.

• Rainwater is free of sodium.

• Rainwater is superior for landscape use and plants thrive on rainwater.

• Rainwater harvesting reduces flow to storm sewers and the threat of flooding.

• Rainwater harvesting helps utilities reduce peak demands during summer months.

• By harvesting rainwater, homeowners can reduce their utility bills.



7. How much does a rainwater harvesting system for a typical single-family home cost?

A complete rainwater harvesting system for a typical single-family home will generally cost between $8,000 and $10,000. The single largest cost in a rainwater harvesting system is the storage tank. As expected, the cost of a tank depends on its size and construction material. On a per gallon basis, this cost can range from about 50 cents for a fiberglass tank to more than $4 for a welded steel tank. Other components such as gutters, downspouts, roof washers, pumps, and pressure tanks will add to the cost of the system. Professionally installed systems can further increase costs. If the intended use of the system is to collect water for drinking, costs for disinfection must be added to the total cost.

 
John C Daley
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This is a partial response to a question

POTENTIAL COST OF EQUIPMENT FOR RAINFALL COLLECTION
Poly tanks come up to about 20,000L in Australia they cost about .........$2500 *
Tank base and preparation...................................................................500
First flush systems  [primary filter] ......................................................400
gutters etc .....................................................................................1000
pipes etc ........................................................................................1000
disc filter on discharge line prior to pumps [ SECONDARY FILTRATION]....300
floating discharge pipe system............................................................200 **

Good pump and pressure tank...........................................................1500
TOTAL .........................................................................................$5900 [ excluding remote delivery and labour]

* I dismiss naysayers comments about food grade poly tanks study the facts and form your own opinion.
** allows water to be drawn from just under water surface, rather than bottom of the tank
Basic details
Large tanks allow water to settle
Install 2 inch fittings at tank and then a T piece with 2 ball valves fitted. One to drain tank, the other to cut supply to pumps if required.
DO NOT USE GATE VALVES, THEY USUALLY BREAK
tank base is usually sand or fine gravel levelled out flat. [ rabbits don't dig into gravel ]





 
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John,

Fun fact, we do have a salamander that lives in the cavernous stone of the aquifer. Check out Texas Blind Salamander.

That's what I mean by critters living in the aquifer :) Ya, they're probably closer to the surface and not at the greatest depth of the aquifer, but they live in the caverns of the aquifer, still.
 
Rebecca Blake
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John C Daley wrote: Its interesting to read your opinion about poly tanks.
live in a similar climate, and have not had any issue with any of my 6 20,000L poly tanks.

BUT, I am open to facts.
Steel tanks were popular until Poly came along, but they do rust over time.

Are plastic tanks safe



Do you have a favorite resource you reference when discussing that poly tanks are indeed acceptable for rainwater storage?

I thought that was what this article was, but alas it was critical of the poly tanks. Much of what they said about the water bottles- particularly those really flimsy ones- I'm completely onboard with. Anyone who takes the time to pay attention can taste the plastic once it has been left in a hot car.
 
John C Daley
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primary filtration
strainer basket
First flush system
ball valves
ball valves
Rainwater tanks, just a different range of sizes and heights to fit under gutters I believe
tanks
SECONDARY FILTERING
Disc filters come apart to clean and provide more surface area in the event of algae contamination.
Screen filters are available in different micron densities and are specified depending on contaminating particle size

In my opinion disc filters are a better all round product

Images of disc and screen filters
 
John C Daley
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This is a review of tanks from a reputable association that does not sell tanks
I am a member.
I have had Polytanks for 38 years and have seen no degradation  at all.

Rainwater tank buyers guide- Australia

General discussion googled response
Range of discussion essays on tanks

IN ALL CASE YOU WILL SEE CONTRADICTING COMMENTS ABOUT TANKS, WHATEVER THEY ARE MADE FROM.
BE SURE TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE AND ARE NOT PASSING ON A RUMOUR THEY HEARD OR ARE TRYING TO SELL YOU THEIR PRODUCT.
 
Rebecca Blake
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I'm very interested to hear more about where you got the calculation for how much water you would need to hold for 3 months supply. You say 26,000L for a typical family of 4. (A little under 7,000G)
I have found multiple local resources that indicate a family of four would need to store WAY more water for a 3 month supply.
For example:

A water conserving household will use between 25 and 50 gallons per person per day. (Pg 33)



This same document later says:

The results of a study of 1,200 single family homes by the American Water Works Association in 1999 found that the average water conserving households used approximately 49.6 gallons per person per day. (Pg 33)


49.6!

So if you have a family of four with each person using 50 gallons a day (a water conserving household, apparently, according to that document), you would need 6,000 gallons (~23,000L) just for a month's supply of water. Now, to store 3 months worth to get by dry periods you would need 18,000G (~68,000L)

You sound like you have helped countless families with their rainwater systems, so riddle me this... Why the disparity? This difference is HUGE. And of course it's creating a household battle here as we compete to find evidence of how much water a family REALLY needs. I'm inclined to believe it's way less than my other family members.

Are we, as Americans, just really THAT wasteful?
 
John C Daley
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Some more calculations for somebody
OK. lets deal with your first house of the two being built on the one property.
Size of  house and garage will be approx 1800 plus about 600 sq ft= 2400 sq ft-- 240 sqM
allow average rainfall all year, 36 inch = .9M
total annual volume will be 240 x .9 = 216 cub metres which is 216,000 L of water per annum.
Thus average monthly inflow is 18,000L

Assuming water consumption is at the rate quoted earlier of 2000L per household
Consumption may be 4000L per month.
So a dry spell of 3 months would mean you need a storage of at  least  12,000L to be held over in addition to any other extra you keep.

So a 20,000L tank should be ok.
If that is located at # 1 house, 120 feet higher than #2 house  it will supply both houses. The advantage of a larger tank will be that water is in store for longer and will allow more settlement time.

I would suggest a direct supply to your #2 house initially with, with a 2 inch main and a big stop valve before it gets near your house. Say a 3 inch ball valve to prevent any restriction if you ever want a large flow.

I have not allowed for any garden watering, and that may be best supplied by a separate tank so the garden and domestic supply are kept separate

You could consider a separate  20,000l tank at your #2 house for garden, fitted with a pressure pump and pressure tank, otherwise you would not be collecting any water off the #2 house.
 
John C Daley
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PIPES AND VALVES AROUND GARDEN
In all cases the pipes should be at least 25mm poly
In the garden it is better to run a circle around the whole area to be watered to ensure there is not tap at an end that has little flow.
Use minimum 25mm poly pipe and use 3/4 inch garden houses, not the standard 1/2 inch hoses.
The circle system can be 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 for better water pressure.
Garden taps should be 25mm ball valves again for better water pressure and you can look at them and know if they are on or ioff.
 
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