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#225308 - 06/06/11 07:28 AM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
A couple of interesting sources, also follow links in page:

http://www.irc.nl/page/29189#information

http://dfwnetmall.com/energy/rainwater-catchment/first-flush-diverter.htm

Suggests a first-flush setup may do little good:
http://www.harvesth2o.com/first_flush.shtml

A complicated version:
http://www.slowsandfilter.org/first_flush_diverter.html

http://www.harvesth2o.com/RainwaterHarvestingManual_3rdedition.pdf

A thesis exploring various forms of first-flush. evidently the agree upon terminology, devices. An interesting read but a bit tedious:
http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/Justin%20Mechell%20Thesis.pdf

Reading/scanning most of that I'm struck by how little hard information there is that is applicable to any system any average homeowner is likely to build. Also how much overlap there is in sources, and how much deciding on a system is going to be pretty much like it was twenty years ago when it was handymen and backyard tinkers assembling systems based on their own intuition and estimations.

Yes there are some guidelines and lots of good ideas and things to think about.

I suspect that the safest course would be to use collected water for drinking only after it is chemically treated. I might give it some basic testing. Or simply make coffee or tea out of it so there would be far less chance of microbes being an issue.

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#225314 - 06/06/11 01:07 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 817
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Originally Posted By: sotto
My provision for overflow is a new system that NASA developed as part of their REALSIMPL interplanetary human occupied travel ship (IHOTS) program. The theory is that as the level of the water rises in the tank, it reaches a point where it's total volume exceeds the volume of the container, and at that stage a physical gravitational principle kicks in and, via a built-in surface tension-fed mechanism, the excess fluid travels down the outside of the storage container (thus providing some built-in much needed self-cleaning action) until it strikes the soil surface where I have deposited a large quantity of fescue (grass) seeds thus turning the entire system into a generally redundant extremely expensive nutrient (GREEN) project which made it eligible for federal funding by an agency started by Al Gore called SPILL (Special Projects In Licensed Larceny). A side benefit of this system is that it self backflushes the debris screen in the top opening of the tank rendering the entire system practically maintenance-free.

Dear Lord: forgive me for this post.


Hilarious! But I guess you don't really need to direct the overflow away from the foundation like we do here in the North. We have basements, and one of the main reasons to have gutters is to direct the rainwater away from the house, so it won't flow into the basement. You probably don't have a basement, so it's not a big deal.
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#225334 - 06/06/11 03:54 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: Art_in_FL]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Thank you both for the links, I'll have to go through them.

One thing I have noticed about discussions on rainwater harvesting is that people are worried (possibly excessively) about contamination, automatically comparing it to what they think comes from their tap. They don't seem to realize that most municipal water supplies aren't providing pure water. Even chlorinated tap water isn't perfect, it simply reduces pathogens and contaminants to what is considered a safe level.

For instance, here are the test results for Los Angeles (2010)

It shows that there are still fecal coliform bacteria in the water. It shows that there is still Acrylamide, Epichlorohydrin, Aluminum, Arsenic, Barium, Nitrates, Radionuclides (like uranium), plus the stuff they add to disinfect the water: Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic Acids, Chlorine, Bromate.

The bottom line with rainwater harvesting is that it can be the difference between having water and not having water. If you store water, great. With rainwater harvesting you can bathe and wash clothes. If the disaster is extensive and you run out of your stored water, you've still got options.

Sue

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#225352 - 06/06/11 09:17 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: Susan]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1874
Loc: Colorado
Be sure and keep the setup hidden behind a fence. In some (many?) municipalities, you do NOT own the water rights on your property. Even to collect rainwater. I've never heard of that being enforced around here, but I know it's the law in my area.

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#225362 - 06/06/11 11:14 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Susan - of those links you might want to go over this one first. It is a guide from Texas and it pretty well covers all the basics and, IMHO, would serve as both introduction and overview.

http://www.harvesth2o.com/RainwaterHarvestingManual_3rdedition.pdf

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#225369 - 06/07/11 12:36 AM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: GoatRider]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Originally Posted By: GoatRider
Originally Posted By: sotto
My provision for overflow is a new system that NASA developed as part of their REALSIMPL interplanetary human occupied travel ship (IHOTS) program. The theory is that as the level of the water rises in the tank, it reaches a point where it's total volume exceeds the volume of the container, and at that stage a physical gravitational principle kicks in and, via a built-in surface tension-fed mechanism, the excess fluid travels down the outside of the storage container (thus providing some built-in much needed self-cleaning action) until it strikes the soil surface where I have deposited a large quantity of fescue (grass) seeds thus turning the entire system into a generally redundant extremely expensive nutrient (GREEN) project which made it eligible for federal funding by an agency started by Al Gore called SPILL (Special Projects In Licensed Larceny). A side benefit of this system is that it self backflushes the debris screen in the top opening of the tank rendering the entire system practically maintenance-free.

Dear Lord: forgive me for this post.


Hilarious! But I guess you don't really need to direct the overflow away from the foundation like we do here in the North. We have basements, and one of the main reasons to have gutters is to direct the rainwater away from the house, so it won't flow into the basement. You probably don't have a basement, so it's not a big deal.


GoatRider: Only a crawlspace, and even that's up towards the front of the house. Back by the tank it's just a concrete slab. I know what you mean about the basement issue, though. In the springtime, I could fish in my old basement back in Iowa.

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#225375 - 06/07/11 01:53 AM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
stevenpd Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/07
Posts: 81
Loc: SoCal
Thanks Art! All good information. Provides a great deal of food for thought.

It does look like there is some guess work still involved in determining first-flush volume. In this case it would be the old axiom, "Better safe than sorry". Especially if you are going to consume it rather than use the water as "gray" water.
_________________________
“Always remember the 6 P’s”
(Prior Preparation Prevents [censored] Poor Performance)

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#225388 - 06/07/11 11:54 AM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Nice looking setup sotto ... and I have a general question about this. I am looking into catching the rainwater from my own gutters for use as gray water. Is there any advantage of a system like sotto has over just an ordinary rain barrel?
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#225392 - 06/07/11 12:31 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: sotto]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1403
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
addition of one of the Sawyer .1 micron filters would strain out the critters, but not virus or anything dissolved in solution, but not much does.. possibly clear glass aquarium type container or coil of clear tubing to get some UV help... might try a final activated charcoal can (aquarium supply house)for halogens....

first volume dump
biomass slow sand
UV exposure
Sawyer
charcoal

might have something...


Edited by LesSnyder (06/07/11 04:36 PM)

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#225394 - 06/07/11 01:04 PM Re: Gutter-fed Emergency Water Supply [Re: LesSnyder]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5797
Loc: southern Cal
Following this thread reminds me that in the 1930s the Coast Guard constructed the Mother of All Water Reclamation Systems, which included a flat sloping concrete apron, roughly fifty yards by twenty yards. This collected the winter rains for the use of the newly erected lighthouse and quarters on Anacapa Island.

Unfortunately, it also collected the physical residue deposited by the thriving flock of sea gulls which inhabited and bred on the island, making the water distinctly gray. Eventually the system was abandoned and potable water was (and is) shipped to the island and stored in conventional tanks.

Today the catchment basin makes a really fine helicopter landing pad.
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Geezer in Chief

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