Leave a comment

Rainwater for Drinking – Considerations

So you are considering using rainwater as a backup or emergency water supply. Rainwater is a great solution for both however there are things that need to be considered prior to installation. 

One major item for consideration is whether you have public water supply to your property. If you have public water supply anywhere located on your property, then you must have backflow prevention properly installed. This avoids the situation where rainwater mixes with city water into the public supply or the public supply mixing with the rainwater you have in your cistern. If the rainwater system is being installed for non-potable use, prior to any conversion to using in the home for potable use, the backflow prevention device must be installed. If you do not see this as part of the quote for the installation or conversion, then you as the property owner, should be asking where that information is. This expense can be a larger fixed expense due to needing a plumber or someone who is licensed to perform this connection (some irrigation licensing does have this endorsement) and having to pay their rates on the length of time it takes them to perform the installation as they generally charge by the hour as well as trip charges in some cases. 

While rainwater is the safest form of water available to us, this is prior to it hitting the ground and/or touching other surfaces. Rainwater can become contaminated just like any other water source. In order to ensure the rainwater is safe for drinking or potable use in the home, a filtration system which includes separate filters and a UV light should be used. This ensures that the water is properly disinfected for potable use. We recommend gutter foam in the gutters, a first flush diverter as well as using the filtration system because the cleaner the water is going in, the cleaner it will be for it’s intended use. In some cases, tree limbs may also need to be trimmed to allow for less organic matter in the water. 

We will discuss filtration topics in separate blog posts in the future but in the meantime, here are 2 great resources we found that discuss filtration of rainwater in great detail:

Potable Rainwater: Filtration and Purification

Rainwater Quality and Filtration

In conclusion, rainwater is a great source for primary water supply, emergency water supply or a backup water supply. Please do your research and ensure you abide by your local regulations for rainwater harvesting in your area before you install a system. Water safety is all of our concern and responsibility. 

As always, comments and/or questions are always relevant and welcome. 

RainDrop Harvesting Solutions, LLC

Leave a comment

Another 500 Gallons Installed

We always enjoy the privilege our customers allow us by sharing their personal property space with us. We get to go into their yards and land and see what their needs are. We get to bring their ‘rainwater vision’ to life. 

Below are a few before the installation pictures. These were taken 3 weeks prior to the installation. The tanks are made locally in our state of Texas so we are thrilled to be part of keeping Texans working. The tank the customer chose was a light brown which is a custom color (dark green and black are standard colors that are readily in stock) so we had to order and wait for it to be produced. It was well worth the wait as you will see in pictures further down. 

This is one view of the site the customer had in mind as to the optimal location for the tank. We agreed with the location for what the customer will be using this for. They want good water for plants and for his fish tanks. Below is another view of the tank location prior to the installation. 

For this installation, we had to level out the pad location and remove this one small tree to give us enough space for the tank pad we planned. In addition, the customer had a run of gutter put on the front of the house to add to the collection amount they would be able to get for this tank. Based on the roof space we are collecting from, we estimate the customer should get 488 gallons from one inch of rain. So this 500 gallon polyethylene tank should be large enough for 1 inch of rain collection. The overflow is into the flowerbed similar to where it was going prior. Below is one of the pictures of the completed installation. 

So as you can see above, there is a nice rectangular pad around the tank. Gravel base and sand are in the pad under the tank. There is a water level monitor calibrated for empty and full. To the left is the water coming into the tank and the First Flush Diverter. To the right is the overflow. This tank and pad matches very nicely to the existing landscaping and home exterior. We are extremely pleased with the look of this system.

Given the fact that College Station averages 35 inches of rain annually and the estimation that the customer will collect 488 gallons with one inch of rain, this customer should be able to collect 17,080 gallons over the course of the year. This tank will overflow, especially in large rainfall events but at least they have taken the first step in conservation. We can always come back in at a later date and trench to a larger tank. We would replace the existing overflow pipe and run that to a larger tank as the new overflow location and then that tank would also have an overflow. So if this customer decides they want to capture more at some point, adding on is very easily accomplished. 

This is about the largest tank we would put in this location. Any larger would not fit properly in the space allotted, and would look out of place due to the diameter and height required to store the volume of water. 

Stay tuned for more pictures as we keep helping customers conserve water in the Brazos Valley and surrounding areas in Texas!

As always, comments and/or questions are always relevant and welcome. 

RainDrop Harvesting Solutions, LLC

Leave a comment

Rolling Rain – Rainwater Harvesting Mobile Demo

As part of our education efforts and giving back to the community, we wanted to come up with an interactive way to teach about Rainwater Harvesting. We wanted something fun and easy to transport both for booths and events as well as taking to schools for education. 

We went through  many different ideas and designs, including large and small scale before settling on our final design that is shown below. We even considered a doll house model before deciding that would not really meet all the criteria we wanted to accomplish. 

With our business centering on Water Conservation, we take a sustainable approach to everything we do. With that in mind, we strive to re-use items when it makes sense. The demo pictured above has the following as new components: Gutter, Corrugated Roof, 100 gallon tank, First Flush Diverter, Water Level Monitor, Pump, PVC and connection hoses. We re-used pallet wood for the base, a metal cart with wheels, paint, and a small piece of plywood for the roof. 

This small but functional demo illustrates in real time most of what Rainwater Harvesting is about. We had a constant stream of people stop to learn more about Rainwater Harvesting and uses for Rainwater in general at our inaugural run at Brazos Valley Earth Day 2014. 

For demo purposes, we have the water running in a continuous loop out of the tank ‘raining onto the 12 sq ft roof’. The water runs into the gutter and down into the First Flush Diverter and drips slowly illustrating the first flush of water from the roof in a rain event. Once the First Flush Diverter fills up, then the cleaner water from the roof runs into the tank and is harvested for the end use of the property owner. These uses can range from drip irrigation for landscape and garden, to large scale irrigation of plants or lawn, watering of livestock or animals, car washing, and can even be used for drinking water inside the house once the proper filtration and UV light system is installed. 

This demo is now available for future events as well as education in conjunction with many types of lesson plans at our local schools. We would love to come out and teach your group about Water Conservation, Rainwater Harvesting, the rain cycle and the many uses of Rainwater. All of these topics can be covered concisely or you can choose the one that best fits your lesson plan currently. Contact us today to book your dedicated time on our calendar.

As always, comments and questions are welcome below. 

Leave a comment

Rainwater Harvesting: What is a Dry System?

There are a few types of Rainwater Harvesting Systems. I expect that there will be more variations as we learn more in the future. In a nutshell, a Dry Harvesting System takes water from one downspout on a partial roof area of the catchment surface. A catchment surface is most often a roof. It can be any type of roof: on a home, on a barn, an area over a bench to shield from water. Any surface that can be guttered can effectively harvest rainwater.

A Dry system is so named because no water stands in the pipes except for the First Flush Diverter which empties within 24 to 48 hours. All the water collected goes into the cistern or tank. If the tank is not large enough to hold all the rainwater collected, then the overflow diverts water to a pre-designed area for the runoff. This allows for a more orderly use for the rainwater and overflow. If you have drainage issues, collecting rainwater and designing the system properly can alleviate many of those issues.
Systems can be designed with the purpose of adding additional storage at a later date, however it is far more economical to attempt to estimate how much water you can collect over a period of time and purchase the most storage at that time. It is far cheaper per gallon to design the system that way from the initial install than add on at a later date. Adding on later can cost more depending on several factors, the first of which being inflation. However it is a viable option for those wishing to spend less now and still capture rainwater.

A Dry system is the simplest system to install. Many homeowners simply install a rainbarrel. These are great to have, however since an inch of rain on a 1000 sq ft roof yields 623 gallons of water approximately, a typical rainbarrel will overflow in a hurry.

A system, custom designed to fit your needs is a great alternative. Our systems are designed in such a way that there is no issue with mosquitos since the pipe flows directly into the tank. We listen to what you want and design a system that meets your unique needs. Rainwater harvesting systems can be beautiful and efficient. Contact us today to start your custom design.
Questions and comments are welcome below.

RainDrop Harvesting Solutions, LLC