015 Collecting Rainwater Illegal or Legal and Conserving Graywater

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collecting rainwater illegal or legal and conserving graywater

I discuss collecting rainwater, whether it is illegal or legal in your area (I don’t care).  I also talk about reclaimed water in a graywater (or greywater, however you may spell it) system.


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Listener call in: Michael from Mississippi

Discussion: Collecting Rainwater and Conserving Graywater

  1. I tell people to collect water in soda bottles, because they are great and extremely cheap
    1. Stacks well

    2. Durable

    3. 2-liter bottles can keep freezer cold

    4. Great in coolers

    5. Thaw, now drinkable water

    6. We begin working on bottles but other stuff as well

  2. As time goes up in a disaster, so does the need for water storage, jugs don’t last too long.
    1. After starting the bottles, work on other stuff

  3. Rain Barrels
    1. 50 bucks at Lowes

    2. Here’s one on Amazon with hose connection and overflow for &69

    3. Place under downspouts

      1. Screen on top for mosquitos

      2. Can get some chemicals from shingles

        1. Use a first catch diverter flush method

        2. Filter in top of barrel

        3. Berkey Filter on kitchen counter

    4. Water great for gardening because rainwater catches nitrogen from the air as it falls

    5. Extremely simple Rain Barrel

      1. No filter, just a screen

      2. No first flow

      3. Don’t drink without treating

      4. Steps

        1. Use barrel, trashcan or Rubbermaid tub

        2. Cut hole in lid

        3. Place screen over hole and possibly hold with bungee cord

        4. Install a spigot on the side and elevate the barrel above a sink

          1. Sink then flows into a similar collector made from 5 gallon bucket

        5. Close to top of barrel, place a PVC overflow to drain into the sink

  4. 50 gallons per barrel, 250 gallons per IBC tote
    1. Roof Top calculation

      1. If you have 1200 sqft home and only half of it empties into a 50 gallon drum, it would only take .13 inches of rain to fill it up!

      2. so the same home would only take .65 inches of rain fall!

      3. figure it out on your own: not done in show

        1. 1 gallon = 231 cubic inches ≈ .1337 cubic feet

        2. 1 square foot = 144 square inches

        3. Surface area of the roof draining into barrels (Hint: you do not need to take into account the pitch, or slant, of your roof. You do have to take into account what fraction of your roof is emptying into rain barrels.For example, if you have a simple roof, say a rambler style house, and all the downspots in the back empty into rainbarrels, then the surface area emptying into rain barrels would be approximately 1/2 the width of your house times the length of your house. If you have two downspouts in the back and only one empties into a rain barrel, than it might be more like 1/4 the width times the length.)

        4. Equation:

          1. (total capacity of barrels in gallons x 231)/(surface area in inches of roof draining into barrels)= # of inches of rainfall to fill

    2. Elevation for pressure

      1. Typical Tap pressure is 50-70 psi

      2. Each foot of height provides 0.43 PSI

        1. Need 10 foot of elevation to meet same as city water, but just 5 feet would give near 20 psi, which is plenty.

    3. Pressurized cistern with city water, use city water to pressurize it.

      1. Water goes out, you have a reserve

        1. Pressure

        2. Contamination

      2. If in attic, remember how heavy water is

        1. 8.33 pounds per gallon

          1. 50 gal is 416.5 pounds!

          2. 250 gal is 2082.5 pounds!

          3. These calcs are without the tote weight

      3. In ground as well, but no pressure

  5. Not much compares to a good well that doesn’t dry up.
    1. Always have backup hand pump for wells.

  6. Keep water by using swales and ponds to efficiently keep water on the land.
    1. This and good yard mulching helps the ground retain a lot of water for plants

  7. Don’t forget natural sources of water
    1. Rivers, lakes, streams, underground springs

      1. Usually minimal bacteria in these

    2. Bad or sketchy water source, and in a jam, just use purification tablets (I carry this set in each B.O.B).

GrayWater Systems

  1. Greywater is water that has been used by a home service that isn’t typically used for waste management
    1. No urine, and no crap

    2. Sinks, bathtubs, washing machines

  2. Reclaim graywater
    1. Why?

      1. Typical Home Water Use

        1. 26% is used for flushing toilets.

        2. 23% is used for the laundry room.

        3. 20% is used for showers or baths.

        4. 15% is used for faucets in your kitchen and bathroom.

        5. 13% is lost due to leaks and drips

        6. and 3% is used by the dishwasher

      2. Just shower and bathroom faucet cuts water use by 25%

      3. Graywater makes great irrigation because the alkaline pH.

    2. Quick systems

      1. Tank under bathroom sink going to toilet

    3. More detailed

      1. Collect rain

      2. Bathing and washing

      3. That water can be used for interior plants

      4. Then drained water is used for toilet water

      5. Then sent outdoors (septic or botanical cells)

Here is the safety blurb:

  • Don’t contact or consume greywater

  • The microorganisms that treat the greywater are very detrimental when breathed in, so don’t atomize the water or use sprinkler systems with it.

  • If you wash cloth diapers, or your water is generated by infectious people, divert it to septic or sewage.

  • If the system is designed for you, it is for you, not a party of 30 or even 3.  Divert to sewage of septic so you don’t overload the system.

  • After 24hrs, the water should be considered blackwater.  Rid of it.

  • If you don’t want it in your septic, on your plants, or in your soil, don’t use many household cleaners.  There are many organic and even edible cleaners that work very well now.

  • Discharge into a mulch-filled basin so you don’t contaminate the surface water.


Related posts from my survivalist blog:

water purification, clean water, sources of water, water resources, conservation of water, how to save water, water collecting, barrels, how to store water

water reclamation, water conservation, to irrigate, how to preserve water

collecting rainwater, use rain water, use rainwater, collecting rain water, gray water reclamation

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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