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Rain barrels - Rain collection

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/15/2012, 11:06 am

Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  kittykat on 4/15/2012, 11:08 am

Thanks for your post, Michelle! I'm interested in what you find out.


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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  GWN on 4/15/2012, 11:16 am

Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

Not just goofy, .... scary.!!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/15/2012, 11:17 am

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

You must get plenty of rain then Very Happy Like camp said, water rights are a very sticky subject if you live in an arid environment. Unless you're buying it, it's not your's around here.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/15/2012, 11:20 am

@RoOsTeR wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

You must get plenty of rain then Very Happy Like camp said, water rights are a very sticky subject if you live in an arid environment. Unless you're buying it, it's not your's around here.

Yes....sometimes I do get plenty of rain. However last year was too dry around here. Everybody's lawn looked like brown carpets.

I certainly don't want to sound disrespectful, but it's odd to me that water is controlled that much. I know more now than I did a few minutes ago.

Thanks for that. What a Face

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  RoOsTeR on 4/15/2012, 11:29 am

I certainly don't want to sound disrespectful, but it's odd to me that water is controlled that much. I know more now than I did a few minutes ago.

Ohh, not at all TTT Sorry if I came across that way. But yeah, it's really a nasty matter. Being in an arid environment, rain is very important just like anyplace else. Most of our water doesn't come from rain however. It comes from the snow pack in the mountains to add to the complications. When we hit periods of drought, it gets even uglier.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/15/2012, 11:33 am

@RoOsTeR wrote:
I certainly don't want to sound disrespectful, but it's odd to me that water is controlled that much. I know more now than I did a few minutes ago.

Ohh, not at all TTT Sorry if I came across that way. But yeah, it's really a nasty matter. Being in an arid environment, rain is very important just like anyplace else. Most of our water doesn't come from rain however. It comes from the snow pack in the mountains to add to the complications. When we hit periods of drought, it gets even uglier.

When people around here complain about having "all of this snow" in the winter time, they don't understand that if we didn't have the snow, we'd be in trouble once the summer rolls around.

That's one reason why I love snow. What a Face

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  givvmistamps on 4/15/2012, 11:51 am

@RoOsTeR wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

You must get plenty of rain then Very Happy Like camp said, water rights are a very sticky subject if you live in an arid environment. Unless you're buying it, it's not your's around here.

Until you brought this up, I hadn't realized that even rainwater was being regulated. I mean, if it falls on your property, seems to me like you should get ownership rights as to where it goes, and when it goes there. However, I do know that for as long as Caucasians have been in North America, water rights have resulted in some pretty severe battles over the centuries. That's something that's talked about in many environmental science and ecology classes, so it was sort of beaten into my head.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  givvmistamps on 4/15/2012, 12:21 pm

@kittykat wrote:Thanks for your post, Michelle! I'm interested in what you find out.


As soon as I get some definitive answers (if any exist) I will post that information. I know all of us affected by water issues will want to know...and even those of you who have those lovely mountains helping give you plenty of water will have some interest from an educational standpoint. I'm really hoping my former professor in NC will know something, but if he doesn't he'll probably have to consult some people he knows in the industry side of environmental science.

Thanks to all these conversations about water, and what little research I've managed to do so far, I now also know that my tap water isn't something I want my family drinking without using two different filtration processes. (Carbon filtration followed by reverse osmosis is what I'm looking at right now.) I take baths more often than showers (and encourage my family to do the same) because I knew chlorine could be especially harmful when aspirated rather than ingested. This chloramine is sounding even less safe. And I don't remember learning about chloramine in my water and wastewater treatment classes. I'm going to see if I kept that particular textbook later to see if it's mentioned in there at all. The city where I took that class used chlorine, so I don't even know if it was covered because we concentrated on local and state standards. I just found two Material Safety Data Sheets for chloramine, so will study those, find out how much chloramine (and which form of it) is in my city water, and then ask the professors questions about what I find in those documents.

I don't want to seem alarmist, I really just want to know what's what and how safe this stuff really is. So far my research is showing that not many studies have been done on these two subjects.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  martha on 4/15/2012, 12:26 pm

Rooster, what is the negative effect of collecting rainwater?

Re: snow - yes, I enjoyed the convenience of having virtually no snow this winter. And I certainly enjoyed skipping the plowing bills for the restaurant. But, no, I am not happy about it at all. Neither are my employees as I become the "don't throw that water out" drill sergeant.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  camprn on 4/15/2012, 12:26 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:Not being able to collect rain water sounds goofy to me.

You must get plenty of rain then Very Happy Like camp said, water rights are a very sticky subject if you live in an arid environment. Unless you're buying it, it's not your's around here.
It is SERIOUS stuff.
However, for a good summer read....
The Milagro Beanfield War

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  kristinz on 5/16/2012, 7:36 pm

We just set up our first rain barrel today. After reading these posts and going to one of the websites, we have decided to only water flowers and shrubs, better safe than sorry and sick...it will nonetheless help our water bill this year though. Thank you to all who contributed, the information and insight was quite helpful!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Dunkinjean on 5/16/2012, 8:32 pm

It is really sad that when you try to conserve water by using a rain barrel, it opens a "can of worms." I purchased a rain barrel on sale last fall and hubby set it up about a month ago. I was very excited when we first purchased it so we can conserve our water since we have "city water" and have to pay for it. But then I started doing a little research along with reading this topic with everyone's opinion and I am becoming sad that I may not be able to water my vegetable garden with the rain barrel water. It seems to me to be a catch 22 - just like when it also comes to using city water opposed to well water. In our town we have a combination of both. I grew up with well water but when we purchased a home in town, it was city water - I assumed everyone had well water! What frightens me is that well water was considered the best water - but now with all the contaminates in our ground I worry is well water really better? There seems to be problems either way. Basically, when it comes to a rain barrel connected to our roof, again there are problems. Some people will have a rain barrel but not connected to anything.....hopefully that is better....but who knows?! I am concerned in using the rain barrel for my garden, so in the meantime I will have to break the news to hubby that I only want to water the flowers and shrubs for now.....Tks for the info everyone....

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/16/2012, 9:26 pm

Hey, let's be sensible here. Do you run out and direct rainfall away from your garden? No? Then why would rain in a rainbarrel be more contaminated than plain rain (unless you have, say, asbestos shingles)? Here we're more worried about wind-borne agricultural and forest sprays. No way to protect from that. We just do the best we can to grow as organicaly as possible and avoid highly processed foods--think: pink slime.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  camprn on 6/11/2012, 10:15 pm

DIY Rain Collector Barrels

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  walshevak on 6/12/2012, 7:45 am

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Hey, let's be sensible here. Do you run out and direct rainfall away from your garden? No? Then why would rain in a rainbarrel be more contaminated than plain rain (unless you have, say, asbestos shingles)? Here we're more worried about wind-borne agricultural and forest sprays. No way to protect from that. We just do the best we can to grow as organicaly as possible and avoid highly processed foods--think: pink slime.

+1

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  mtottle on 6/12/2012, 11:24 pm

@Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Hey, let's be sensible here. Do you run out and direct rainfall away from your garden? No? Then why would rain in a rainbarrel be more contaminated than plain rain (unless you have, say, asbestos shingles)? Here we're more worried about wind-borne agricultural and forest sprays. No way to protect from that. We just do the best we can to grow as organicaly as possible and avoid highly processed foods--think: pink slime.

It's a legitimate concern though. When you think about it, the roof is a catch basin for icky stuff. Namely lots and lots of bird poop that you don't want in your barrels. Around here there's a lot of dirt in the air that settles on everything too. Birds do carry diseases, and a barrel full of warm water provides great incubation. You're then watering your vegetables with germs and sewage.

Ideally you use a 'first flush' system to divert the first several gallons of runoff away from the barrel. This first 'flush' has the highest concentrations of contaminants as the roof is washed, so it should not be used. But once the initial rainfall has carried away the sludge, the rest of the water is relatively clean.

First flush filters are basically a large, capped off piece of pipe with a float and a drip drain, and a T fitting. As the first rain comes down the pipe, it goes straight down the T into the capped off pipe. A ball float rides up the water level and seals the T, automatically diverting the water into the barrel. Once the rain stops, the chamber automatically empties via the drip drain, resetting for the next rainfall.


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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/13/2012, 10:44 am

Clever, the first-flush trap. Do you know how long to make the stem of the T to get best "flush"? inquiring minds want to know.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  mtottle on 6/13/2012, 2:31 pm

It depends on the diameter of the pipe and the area of your roof. General rule is 1 gallon per 100sqft roof area (2 gallons if the roof gets highly contaminated). So a 1500sqft roof would need 15 gallons of first flush capacity. Divide this by the number of downspouts to get the flush capacity for each barrel. So if you have 3 downspouts, you'll need to trap 5 gallons at each.

You can use smaller diameter pipes to make longer less conspicuous traps (you can also use two or three traps in succession if needed due to a short roofline/small diameter), or you can do shorter fat traps. That's all up to you.

I would not go smaller than 2½", because then you start to get into ridiculous length requirements to contain a small amount of water. Here's the capacity of each commonly available PVC pipe (sch40) diameter..

2½" - .25 gallon per foot
3" - .39 gallon per foot
3½" .52 gallon per foot
4" - .66 gallon per foot
5" - 1 gallon per foot
6" - 1.5 gallons per foot
8" - 2.6 gallons per foot

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 6/13/2012, 5:17 pm

Wow, thank you, mtottle. You've given me much to consider. In Western Oregon, we only need to supplement water to the garden during latter part of July, all of August, and about 2 weeks of September. Not that much, but, when you need it, you really need it. Nonna

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  mtottle on 6/13/2012, 5:36 pm

Yeah here the rain is hit or miss all summer. I have to irrigate daily, especially when it gets hot. The problem is when we do get rain, it's not the 'rainy days' like you guys get, it's in the form of torrential downpours. So we get a ton of rain all at once (we've gotten 4-5" in less than half an hour on more than a few occasions) which does no good because it all winds up in the drainage ditches then it could be days or even weeks before we get more.. That's why I've been investigating rain harvesting. I can get the 275 gallon IBC totes for dirt cheap, so I'm considering about 2000 gallons worth. Wink

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Turnip on 2/6/2013, 11:23 pm

I have been thinking about installing rain barrels for years..I bought a house in the fall that has numerous downspouts where I could install a rain barrel. However, I read that they need to be emptied and stored during the winter due to freezing temps. This would mean water could only be collected between frost dates..which may be fine for most people but we get very little rain here in the Central Valley of California after April until late October. So I'm thinking maybe rain barrels here wouldn't make a lot of sense?

Please give me any feedback on this. I have two areas where the downspouts are hemmed in by the foundation and the walkway to the front door..and they would be ideal for a barrel that looks like a rock (think WaterStones)

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Goosegirl on 2/7/2013, 6:48 am

@Turnip wrote:I have been thinking about installing rain barrels for years..I bought a house in the fall that has numerous downspouts where I could install a rain barrel. However, I read that they need to be emptied and stored during the winter due to freezing temps. This would mean water could only be collected between frost dates..which may be fine for most people but we get very little rain here in the Central Valley of California after April until late October. So I'm thinking maybe rain barrels here wouldn't make a lot of sense?


Turnip - from my experience living in NorCal, the kind of sustained freezing temps that are required to cause your water barrels to freeze solid and expand may not be an issue for you in Sacramento, but you should be able to find some organizations locally that could help you out with the details. Your main concern will probably be the connecting pipes and spigots - areas of small diameter that can freeze solid more quickly than the whole barrel - and can easily be wrapped to control/insulate.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  plantoid on 2/7/2013, 10:46 am

[quote="Turnip"]I have been thinking about installing rain barrels for years..I bought a house in the fall that has numerous downspouts where I could install a rain barrel. However, I read that they need to be emptied and stored during the winter due to freezing temps. This would mean water could only be collected between frost dates..which may be fine for most people but we get very little rain here in the Central Valley of California after April until late October. So I'm thinking maybe rain barrels here wouldn't make a lot of sense?

Please give me any feedback on this. I have two areas where the downspouts are hemmed in by the foundation and the walkway to the front door..and they would be ideal for a barrel that looks like a rock (think WaterStones)

Turnip

You can get a down pipe interrupter that allows 90% of the rain water to go down the drain and feed the 10% into your barrels

I live in the UK and when I see the weather forcast if it was for a hard frost I just open the tap on the barrel and leave it open for the duration of the forecast hard frost period . I closed it yesterday morning and now have a good 200 litres .

For most of the time a single 8 hours of a nights light frost of 30 oF or minus 1 oC is not usually enough to cause any problems but if it extends to a full 24 hrs or more then is the time to drain down so it won't slpit your barrels

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Lemonie on 2/7/2013, 12:35 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:
@Turnip wrote:I have been thinking about installing rain barrels for years..I bought a house in the fall that has numerous downspouts where I could install a rain barrel. However, I read that they need to be emptied and stored during the winter due to freezing temps. This would mean water could only be collected between frost dates..which may be fine for most people but we get very little rain here in the Central Valley of California after April until late October. So I'm thinking maybe rain barrels here wouldn't make a lot of sense?


Turnip - from my experience living in NorCal, the kind of sustained freezing temps that are required to cause your water barrels to freeze solid and expand may not be an issue for you in Sacramento, but you should be able to find some organizations locally that could help you out with the details. Your main concern will probably be the connecting pipes and spigots - areas of small diameter that can freeze solid more quickly than the whole barrel - and can easily be wrapped to control/insulate.

GG

I was wondering the same type of thing. We get some freezing moments in the winter, but it's usually mild and thaws quickly. Our neighbors float empty milk cartons in their pool to prevent any expansion from freezing to cause damage and it seems to work. Wondering if this would work in a rain barrel for my climate? Has anyone tried anything like that?

And thanks for sharing the water diverter image! I was trying to find out how I could make my own down spout diverter for inexpensive instead of spending the $50-60 for the ones online. This may give me a good start....thinking I could use a golf ball & PVC?

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