Drinking Rainwater

Think Before You Drink

People who think about drinking rainwater have a good idea, but their main concern is usually the rainwater quality. Rainwater in and of itself is not usually a problem, however Mother Nature does use water as a way to clean the sky as well as the rivers, lakes and streams. There are dangers and there are safety measures that must be taken, in today’s world of modern industry. First of safety measures, is the catchment system (area where water is caught, collected, directed and accumulated). Second is the filtration system (area and equipment used to make water potable). Third is the storage system (area where water is kept for sometimes long periods during consumption.

Pollution in the sky, dust particles, tar on roofs, chemical products that may be used for anything upon/of/within the catchment surface can end up in the rainwater tank. Water is more than life giving liquid; water is a substance that latches on to just about anything, that could be harmful (or even tasteful). The first step in understanding how rainwater quality can be achieved to the point of drinking it is the concept of hygiene. Water must come in contact with as little contaminants from the time of condensation in clouds, to the time it finally hits the human organism and if it does it must be filtered.

Keeping rainwater quality to the point of drinking it, means using a catchment system that is low impact; where, roof, gutters, downspout and primary containment areas, all have as little influence on the water as possible. Vinyl is good alternative for gutters and downspouts but all gutters can harbor bacteria. Asphalt is absolutely not a good choice, however unfortunately what is most found on the roof so the filtration process chosen must be effective.

Drinking rainwater that comes from a clean and well kept catchment system is still not acceptable for today’s standards of rainwater quality due to air pollutants that poison the water. Mechanical filters like screens and closed gutters, French drains, gravel, sand, sumps, grates, and wire mesh, and first flush units are all first steps in filtration. Just remember to always concentrate on bigger to smaller debris, and the filters will always be placed correctly in the catchment system.

Second step to achieving good rainwater quality from a catchment system is finer debris filtration. To really be sure that rainwater is suitable for drinking, the water must filtered. Do not take chances! Even if you live in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest, pollution can get into your rainwater. So unless you are a specialist and know everything there is to know be sure and use something like a reverse osmosis system to ensure pure water quality. If you need to take out bad-news chemicals, the chemical filter is the best choice.

Storing the rainwater for drinking later means SSS. (Safe, solid and sealed). Safe, is water that comes into the storage facility after being fully filtered. Solid, is water that cannot escape or cannot be tainted by anything from outside the container (hence the word solid). Sealed, is water that does not float away due to evaporation.

Quickly going over drinking rainwater, we see that there are three parts to the whole process, catchment, filtration and storage. Each part needs to be given the proper attention. And the biggest rule is “don’t get water dirty in the first place”, and you will always know it is good for you but for most this is not possible. If you are going to drink rainwater filter rainwater, check places like ebay.com for complete reverse osmosis and other filtration systems and make them you last step to ensure pure water quality.


Posted in Harvesting by Administrator on October 3, 2005.

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