I plan on putting in 2 rain barrels this year. Actually I guess you could call them rain tanks as I am looking at using 125 gallon plastic tanks sold at the local Tractor Supply. Also have considered the idea of greywater. Anybody have any experience with rain/greywater?
I use rainwater while we have it, I have 3 barrels taking water from the greenhouse roof and shed rooves, one doesn't get much from one side of a greenhouse so I should really move it to take water from 2 sides of the other 2 greenhouses. One barrel was already here, a recycled plastic one with a lid and metal clasping band to hold it, I think they are industrial barrels about a 40 gallon oil drum size (I grew up with that as my father was a farmer!), some may not know what that looks like. A pipe going from the roof guttering to a hole cut in the lid, with a brass tap inserted near the bottom. It takes water from one side of the greenhouse and the adjacent shed.
You need to stand them on something to give some height to put the watering can under. I got the other two from the local tip when they used to sell things cheap (don't sell now), or not as cheap as I think they should have sold it! One is the same industrial barrel which are dark blue, we painted them green, bought a brass tap which is used for brick walls with side entry, added washers whatever you can make or find to stop leakage. That fills up very quickly from one sloping roof on the garage. All you need from the rain gutter is a converter to join to a round pipe, we used an angled elbow part way down to direct the pipe to the barrel and another to direct it down into the barrel. I could take pics!
Thank you both. Yes Wallaby please, pictures would be wonderfull. My biggest question is how fast do your barrels fill up? The reason I was considering the 125 tanks is when I started figuring how much water would be coming off of the roof serviced by the downspouts it seemed a 50 gallon drum would not be very much. One downspout comes from a 14x55' roof area not including extra area added by slope. The other roof area is 12x36'. Now if you figure you get 1" of rain during a downpour which is not at all unusual here and that seems like one heck of a lot of water. Anyone know of a formula to convert sq' surface area per 1" of water = how many gallons? I have never seen this subject addressed before, the amount of water that can be expected from ones roof area in regards to rainbarrels. Anyone seen this anywhere? I have a well and get my water basicly for free, however it is very cold and contains tons of sulfer, most of my plants don't seem too fond of it. I could run it through my water treatment system to remove the sulfer however this seems like a big waste, using treated water on plants and I doubt it would be any healthyer for them. Rainwater seems like just the ticket, taking advantage of Gods gift which in Michigan we get a decent amount of. Problem being, when I will want to be using the water will be during summer when there has been lack of rainfall. Here in SE Michigan in summer we quite often get large summer storms followed by extended dry periods and my soil is sandy loam. I mulch heavily yet there are still times and certain plants that could use supplemental watering. So I would like to be able to have a decent storage capacity appropriate for at least 1" of rainfall. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I have also considered stting up a greywater irrigation system. ie using water from washing and my sump pump and running it to certain garden areas, anyone done this?
Oh yea and where have you folks gotten your diverters to direct your water from the downspout to the barrel?
I did use bath water and washing water many years ago when there was a dorught and hosepipe ban, that problem seems to be not so bad now, and I live elsewhere, my only reservations on using grey water on a constant basis would be the build up of detergents.
I use my barrels mainly for all the pots I have with plants in, in the summer it can be dry and water can run out but now with more barrels it doesn't take many small downpours to have enough until the next one, but I do think I could put another one next to the house for pots I have there. A good downpour and water goes over the end of the guttering where two different angled rooves meet with a gully between.
The existing barrels which take water from rooves do fill very quickly, the garage roof has been rebuilt to join with the shed roof, so it only has one slope which is around 16' x 9', the shed is a similar size. I have thought of putting another barrel next to the ones there with an overflow, it seems such a waste when water is need when there isn't much coming from the skies! I do use some water even over winter in the greenhouses, late winter into spring is sometimes dry too and some of the pots outside need watering, I know I was watering late in autumn to winter last year.
We rarely get even an inch of rain at one time, so considering your roof sizes and the rain you get, plus using it on the ground, you will need the biggest storage containers you can get your hands on. I would like to be able to hook up a hose pipe too but would need more space, larger containers.
The calculations would be a tricky one of how much rain you would get, rain gauges are normally fairly narrow tubes so how that would compute to shed rooves I have no idea! Now if you could measure what volume you had in a certain amount of time, no that wouldn't work either, rain falls at different rates of 'heaviness', think I'll pass on that one!
You should be able to get diverters from a DIY store, we have B&Q here where you can get all manner of DIY goods, building materials, garden items, kitchen units, flooring, tools, plumbing, you name it. As you have already got a downspout you would require a diverter, without a downspout it's just a matter of what we have done, making it go in the right direction.
In the pic the barrel next to the garage, the other two can just be seen, the black top only of the other side in view, the one at other side of the greehouse has a home made wooden top as it had no top. It was a purpose made water butt from the tip, with a very slow running plastic tap, and a leak in the bottom! A thick blob of silicone sealant fixed the leak.
The windows in the rebuilt garage were free too from our neighbour who does building jobs, they are old aluminium patio doors. Well one does need light for the plants to grow in there!
I plan on installing a rain collection system this year at my summer place in the forest. I got some ideas from a local guy who hooked together several 50 gal drums. He joins them close to the top and when one fills it spills into the next and so on. He has them elevated with spigots on the bottom of each. I also use wash water for my trees to help abate bark beetles.
Florida Energy Conservation has a good web link for cistern collection... but I cannot find it at the moment.
I had 55 gal. barrels under the 2 downspouts on the front of my house in Asheville, NC. They filled up fast even in summer... but I didn't have enough lift/slope to easily water my garden from the hose bibbs I put at the bottom of each barrel.
Here, I plan to install a solar powered shallow pump into my spring to transport water up the hill to holding tanks which I will use as gravity-fed water for my garden.
Wow! Thanks henryr10! I printed that and added it to my favorites in case I lose it. I thought we were talking about a LOT of water. Looks like my 125 gallon idea will let me collect about 1/4" of rainfal on my downspout serving the largest roof area! Looks like I would need to have about a 500 gallon capacity to meet my goal of capturing 1" WOW! This is much more water than I was imagining. OK, back to the drawing board. I think I will try the 125 gallon tank on the smaller roof area and in the meantime and try to dig up maybe a used 500 gallon tank for the larger area if this goal of 1" seems realistic. Think I will look up the average rainfall for my area in the summer months, the only time I really need any irrigation normally. The bummer is I think our summer storms can produce more than an " easily. More research to do. But thank you so much, I couldn't think of how to do a search tpo come up with that info.
So there you have it folks, look at all of that free water dropping from the sky!
I didn't have the patience to find or retrofit barrels so I went with the pricey option from Gardener's Supply: 2 linking green plastic barrels w/combined capacity of 150 gal. http://www.gardeners.com/Two-Rain-Barrels/default/32-226.prd
Since I'm on a well & septic, plus can pump as much warm, mucky water out of the river as I want, waste & water aren't huge issues for me right now, but what I want to do with the barrels is use them as a pumping station by filling them from the river from time to time and having the water available gardenside. That way I don't have to trench a line, I can just lug hoses around.
I'm hoping to lay soaker hoses for the first time and really cut down on watering chores.
Our old neighbor ran a downspout horizontally over to his above ground pool.
It pivoted so when the pool was full he could drop it back down to vertical.
We take showers then soak in clean water.
That water is obviously heated so we leave the water in the tub.
Overnight that water gives heat (which we already paid for) back into the room.
Come morning the water goes to water the plants (we have 100's inside in the Winter) or outside to the ponds in the growing seasons.
We pay for water on the formula ...where c is the cost of water in... Water Bill = c+ 2c
The 2c is sewer tax... so every gallon we use in the garden from the hose still gets taxed for sewer
By using water from the ponds and bathtub we save 100's of dollars a year.
The runoff spout from our roof goes into the pond too.
This Fall we added a metal roof to the garage.
It's 10.5' x 21' on a side so 441 sq feet. We'll pick up 248 gallons for every 1" of rain.
As our ave annual rainfall is 41" (excluding the snowfall) we could realize over 10,000 gallons just from THAT roof alone.
I'm working on a Tank/water feature in the 1200 gallon range.
It will go across the back of the garage (which is 10' from our veggie garden...lol)
It's amazing, I didn't think there would be a chart on it, so it didn't occur to me to do a search! I thought you would have a lot of water from that size roof, should solve a few problems.
I'm wondering where you will get a 500 gallon tank, there seems to be only the 40 gallon water butts here but countries that experience long dry spells with heat as the norm probably have them. The question is, can you get one for FREE?
Our average rainfall is 53mm for June and July, 64 mm August, or about 2 to 2.5". That is for Lincoln, it's on a hill and the rain follows the ridge, probably less where I am 10 miles out.
What kind of tank/water feature are you talking about? Sounds interesting. I thought this thread would draw folks from the dry areas but it seams like most of us so far live in higher rainfall areas, strange. Maybe because we can catch it so abundantly. LOL I'll you this much, if I had to pay for city water I would have a cistern in my basement that would hold thousands of gallons, I cant see paying what some folks do for something that falls out of the sky for free.
I'm going to use thin cinder block walls and a pond liner for the tank.
A sump pump for dispensing to the garden...
You could easily do an in ground pond for your tank.
Currently we have 3 each 100 gallon rigid ponds and a 250 gallon horse tank.
The Tank we got damaged at TC for 25 bucks. It had a small crack in it which 3 bucks worth of silicon and a square foot of pond liner fixed quite nicely...
They are well landscaped and full of fish.
We use that to water our 200 or so containers and flower beds...
Ric, Sounds like you have a good system. I'm looking at used water tanks, 125 gallons, for $25 each. I don't know if the man still has them or not.
Here's some tidbits gleaned from surfing...
[quote]Masonry-walled cisterns help neutralize water to reduce corrosiveness and precipitate out any heavy metals dissolved in the rainwater. These heavy metals then accumulate in the sludge at the cistern bottom. Metal or plastic-lined cisterns or non-masonry sealed inside walls do not allow this process to occur.
Sources of Cistern Contamination
Many people think of cistern water as being pure, but this may not be true. Matter that settles on the roof supplying the cistern, such as organic matter from trees, airborne contaminants from burning wood or coal or droppings from birds in addition to bacteria buildup in sand filters, sediments in the cistern and an unclean cistern itself, can contaminate the water. Water that is hauled can also be contaminated.
Bacterial contamination may be found in any cistern water, suggesting the need for periodic testing for coliform bacteria, which can indicate the presence of pathogenic bacteria. Maintenance should include a regular cleaning and disinfection of the system. [/quote] http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ip/ip4/ip4.htm
Renwings... I'm sure we will come across more than one government/political barrier about water to which we will all have varying emotions. Suffice it to say we all understand, and choose to avoid political dialog on the thread.
Dang, did I say that??? I could certainly get heated up about water and politics but then Dave would just have to dismember me and cancel my subscription.
Ah? Its political to question the wisdom of some of our wacky laws? Take for example the use of greywater. At present my sump pump is drained through the farmfield to the creek way, way back behind my house. My washing machine uses the sump. This arrangement has been in place since the house was built in the 50s. Its highly illegal now and I can understand why. It doesn't however seem to bother any of the wildlife that use that creek. Actually during the dry season when the creek drys up it is frequented by lots of critters. Now of course there have to be laws against that kind of thing, people did that kind of thing out here because of the low population density and everyone would not be as carefull as I am about what kind of detergent etc. goes into that sump. However, if I try to change it so that it drains into a little irrigation system that goes into my own yard to water my plants chances are again this would be illegal even though it would be going into a septic system anyway. Septic systems dont do anything to destroy bacteria etc. all they do is break down some of the solid waste. If you check out the "Humanure Handbook" you would see how much water we are wasting by contaminating it with our body waste. Composting would solve this problem and correctly composted humanure is !00% safe, especially if you are using your own, how can you give yourself a disease? Not to mention the heat of a good compost pile destroys the harmfull bacteria and parasites, something ac septic tank does not do. Bottom line is some of our laws are going to have to be adjusted in light of newr information to allow greater latitude for people to start trying and perfecting more options of disposal. Our current system is going to need to be revamped if we expect to survive with increasing populations. It not politics, its scientific fact. I don't see why people cant discuss this type of thing and not be civil or let it degenerate into political mudslinging. You may not agree with someone but that doesn't mean you have to let things get out of hand.
spot... your post is SO hard to read because it's just one long paragraph that's hard for old eyes to follow. Can you break future posts up so there's more white space? Thanks! :)
Your content is thoughtful, though. I agree we should be able to discuss many things as intelligent adults and not stoop to mudslinging. But it IS Dave's Garden and it's his decision that we do not bring the weeds of turmoil into his garden.
I don't know the laws in this county or state about greywater as I recently moved here. I have a couple of books on greywater systems (including sand filters) and I plan to utilize the greywater where I can. I'm far enough in the country and on enough land that I doubt anyone would care as long as it's done right and not a health hazard.
This whole place needs replacement of all the plastic water pipes under the house (they are old, brittle and undersized), and shut-off valves installed for each sink, toilet, tub and shower. Should be fairly easy at the same time to run the showers, laundry and kitchen drains separately from the sewage drains. I guess I need to hunt my greywater books and do some planning!
Summer, human wastes break down fully in septic systems except for some residual sludge that builds up in the bottom of the tank and needs pupming out every few years. The healthier the tank (bacteria) the quicker it breaks down.
Here, my septic feeds into a creek as well... at least any drainage from the leach field. The county requires the leach field needs to be at least 50 feet from the creek... and 100 feet from my spring. Nonetheless, there's no way I'd eat trout from the creek!
Indy, I won't even drink the municipal water for which I pay. Tastes terrible, so I buy Aquafina. Then I save the bottles and fill them up when I visit a DG friend who has the BEST tasting pure spring water!
Rainwater tanks are common in aussie rural areas- this one is 3000 gals, and fills from our roof. Works well, but the rainfall in my area is 52 inches a year..in drier areas bores are more common. I divert the first flow of water from the roof to ensure dust, etc, does not end up in the tank.
...not everything is bigger in Texas then, it seems...:)
The wire up the sides is to grow honeysuckle over it, and it's now covered and not quite so stark. We use the grey water from the shower on the vegetable garden, but it has a number of disadvantages- it needs to be run through an extensive gravel bed to remove suds and heat, and there is no doubt it affects the taste of root vegetables, particularly carrots and parsnips.
I'm glad I found this thread! If there are others on any forum that would be helpful to me, please let me know.
I want to set up a small simple rainbarrel system, mainly to use in watering newly planted perennials. (I don't water my established plants- try to put in stuff that does well without it). So like I said, something smallish (40 gal? 80 gal?) and simple.
My questions: Can I use a barrel that is open at the top, or just has a screen on it? Can I use those mosquito ring things (I think it is Bt) without harm to plants or birds? How about a goldfish in there to eat mosquito larvae? If I want to put a faucet in, can I do that with a wooden whiskey barrel?
Hi biscuitz5 ~ glad to see someone else has interest in this. I use a couple of plastic barrels to catch runoff. I did use Mosquito Dunks or donuts. They won't harm pets, plants or fish. I quit them as they were hard to find without mail ordering. They have now become more common. I use some cheap fiberglass screen on the top of barrels. In this climate, I have found much less evaporation as well as the bonus of keeping trash (leaves, pine straw, etc.) out of the rain barrels. We do have mosquitos here but not the vicious ones that you do but I've not had a problem with them in the screen covered barrels. You will have to experiment and let us know... pod
BTW, no experience with wooden barrels ~ they would certainly be more attractive!
Fish can't handle hot water, so keep that in mind if it will be in the sun, and they need aeration, which is linked to the surface area of the water container, so a barrel, with higher water-to-surface ratio, might not be good.
While moving, I kept mine alive in a kiddie pool for quite some time one year though.
There was a thread on DG a couple of years ago with great photos. The person (name forgotten, sorry) hooked together a series of 5 or so barrels, each one maybe 8" higher than the next one. The overflow went down the successive barrels and he (?) tapped the lowest one for use.
I am fortunate to have a good water supply here, with a spring and a creek running in front of my house. The spring runs slow during dry spells but always runs. I'm thinking to dig out the overflow pond deep enough to raise a few trout, and a way to water the garden without using so much of the city water which is expensive.
Thanks for the excellent links Mermaid! They have answered lots of my questions and given me some great ideas! Check out the tanks made out of old tires in the first link, excellent idea! This is going to be what I am ultimately shooting for.
Thanks for the pic, Joyous! Very helpful. Anyone else have pics of there systems? That would be a wonderful way to get water on the other side of the house where dh is wanting to put the straw bale garden. I've been wondering how I was going to water them properly.
Without the opportunity to gravity feed, you can always put a standard 1/2-hp pump into the barrel (about $30 at the hardware store). Leave a hose hooked up & plug the electrical line into an outlet where it's easy for you to turn it on & off.
Have done that in the past and it sure works great. I also have 2 large water containers in my yard for other gardens. DH fills them with water from a local water plant at .25 cents for 55 gallons. Before I got my large containers I would just put the pump in the truck container and pump right out of the truck. You sure can go through 350 gallons in a hurry.
Here is a shot of the container by my greenhouse and veg. garden.
You guys are GREAT! I am all fired up to do this now- thanks for the specifics, and for the pictures and links.
Henryr10- thanks especially for the heads up re wooden barrels.
I'm going to try using a soaker hose with the rainbarrel. I would attach a regular hose to the faucet on the rain barrel, run it over about 20' and connect it to a soaker hose laid out in a bed into which I am putting plants that need to be temporarily moved during fence construction.
Its inspiring to actually hear how people implement these ideas and see pictures isn't it?!! Its one thing to read a book or website but to actually be able to ask questions of people who are using these ideas and see their setups is truly inspiring! It also helps narrow down how you want to start your own project to meet your individual needs. This forum is wonderfull.
Oh and lucky you Joyous, hang on to that handy hubby who is interested in your ideas, he's a rare find!
While I've mentioned it lightly don't hesitate to just put in a small pond.
A preform kit for about a 125 gallons can be bought for around 150 dollars (many times much less)...
Liner and pump only, less than a hundred.
You can then use that conditioned water for your yard plants AND
have the benifit of a nice Aquaculture Garden too!
Add some rocks for a waterfall and fish... lawn chairs and a cooler... lol
Here's our 125 gallon 'Horse Trough' that flows into a 70 gallon preform...
Forgot to add it fills from our neighbor's garage roof...
henry, I really like your garden. Last year I put in a low deck (just 12" above ground) between the house and the garden shed; this year I 'll be putting up fences on the other 2 sides; paths and planting beds around the perimeter of the deck. I hope to put in a horse trough water garden too. Smaller than yours, though! What are the tall plants in the horse trough?
I agree biscuitz5 ~ danged if I could find it like I do the regular forums. It didn't seem to be listed in the Garden talk header. I go to the new forums listed under Daves Garden and search for this one... Wish they would remedy it.
Success! I got three 110 gal. barrels from freecycle today! 2 came complete with fittings and valves! One had the fitting ripped from the plastic, not sure if I can repair it durably without leaks so I think I'm going to make a strawberry tower out of it. They are as big around as an ordanary 55 gal barrel and 6.5' tall, aparently part of an irrigation unit. Joy!
What a great find spot! I don't think we have a freecycle here, but we do recycle other people's throw outs!
Your life is enriched, not pathetic!
Could you seal the hole with thick blobs of silicone sealant? We did that with a barrel which had cracks on a seam at the bottom. We also did it on the shower tray when the plastic cracked! And on a crack in the car radiator, with a home made clamp of a strip of rubber clamped down by metal! Perhaps you could use rubber 'washers' either side glued in place with silicone sealant.
Unfortunately there is about a 5" dia hole where the fitting used to be where the barrel drains. The pipes coming out are 1" diam. and the fittings approx 3" where they meet the plastic. It looks like someone wanted the fitting but couldnt unscrew it so they cut, ripped the actual barrel to get it. I'm not bummed, I have been wanting to create a strawberry tower anyway and this will make a cadillac! I think someone posted somewhere that you can paint plastic with enamel paint, am I correct? These are swimming pool blue and could use to be spruced up. Would like to paint them if possible.
Hi Spot there is a spray paint just for plastic. I use it for my rain barrels and other outdoor plastics. I think it is Krylon Fusion. Check out Wally world you can find it there. A great hunter green even.
spot, the barrels I have were plastic industrial containers and a deep blue, we painted them with an exterior paint, International (brand) Ranch Paint which is suitable for wood or metal. It is self undercoating and they say gives 6 years protection. It's stain resistant, flexible and microporous, only needs one coat. It is a bit more expensive than ordinary paints but if you don't need an undercoat, plus 2 coats it ends up cheaper, and it's good stuff! You might have it there or something similar. The barrel in my pic above is painted with it, same as the garage which is metal.
My grey water collector. I have captured the bath shower water by placing a pond pump in the tub when we are finished and have it collect and distribute to the holding tank by a hose exiting the window and flowing into the tank. The tank is a water tank people here use to have at cabin sites to hold water. I collect the kitchen sink (our busiest water source) and change the plumbing in the spring summer to collect as seen in the following picture. This works quite well and provides us with about 200 gallons per day to be pumped out of the holding tank onto our garden. I have a large submersible sump pump that provides good water pressure to the sprinklers we use to disperse it. We don't get much water after July so this is when I use this to minimise my water neads. When raining all of my rain water is diverted from the run off spouts underground in non perforated pipe (4") To the nearest garden bed where it is then allowed to percolate out of 4" perforated drain pipe into the soil of a nearby bed. This is all done with gravity. Each pipe is open on the end with a cap that can be easily removed to flush out debris that may collect in the pipe. All down hill with a drop of over 20' so easily cleaned out.
Darius I wish that were possible but I need to water up hill from the holding tank so that is not possible. Yes it is down hill so I have a house outlet at the bottom of the tank for most of the irrigation.
When we removed the single-wide and had the "la-casa doublewide" installed in it's place, the installers broke an existing water main.
First I had to dig down to the main (about four feet). Then it rained, so I had a four foot hole filled with water I had to remove to repair the main. I found a submersible pump that had a good rate of flow and ran on very little power for about 30 bucks. ( I think it was a bilge pump and could be run on a car battery ). A car battery can be charged by solar very easily. Check the marine sites on the web. I will do the same and send links if I do well.
Soferdig 110V can be derived from a 12V Battery with the use of a power inverter, you just have to calculate the load and get an inverter that will handle it and a - battery/charging system that will produce the needed power requirements. i.e. how often is the pump running, for how long, at what power drain?
Once you have all the numbers together, it is not hard to figure out what hardware is required.
What kind of water pressure does this produce? I had bilge pumps on my sail boats and not much pressure was created. I use a sprinkler to dispense the water.
we were writing at the same time. I have an inverter for 110 but it only can be useful on my computer or cell phone charge. I have a 10 amp pump that draws a lot of power to get the pressures I need to spray. It runs for about 2 hours per day.
Hang on for a day and I'll look up the 10A inverter and get back too you here, sorry it's been a long day, and 4:00 am comes early! note may require more than one battery for that much power depending on the use duration cycle.
This is the set-up we have here...the barrels were from olives, the rain water goes into the one and then the sump pump pumps it into the rest until they are full. DH just put some mosquito netting over the top and screwed it down with the lid. He then hooked them at the bottom with one spigot to use with a hose. It is very slow draining, though, so are thinking of using the water pump I have for the water bed...course that might be too fast, we have not tried it yet.
We got this tank from a cheese factory an hour away...same thing, it has water pumped into it from a barrel that the rain water drains into. If I had more room to put these tanks, I would get more..it was only $40 and 275 gal., which I thought was quite reasonable. We just got these all set up last summer, which was the driest summer ever. (Our luck) BUT...they are nice and full now and I am hoping we will get sporatic rain this summer to keep them full since we have serious watering restrictions.
Since this is the first year we have had the tank, I dont know about the UV rays, but where it is situated, I doubt it will get many, it is completely shaded which will help, I am sure...
We also got some of the white 55 gallon barrels he was using, I think we got 8 of them. 2 are being used to catch the rainwater..(one which pumps into the big tank, the other just collects off the patio). You can see the other things I am using to catch the rainwater...I use everything I can find..LOL
We cut the rest of the barrels in half and will use them for container gardening. Since the place to get them is only a very nice hour drive away, if we want/need more, we can go get them.
Edited to say that the plastic will be coming off the patio next week...it is screened under the plastic so cats can be outside without being outside..
Here are 2 of my barrels, 55 gal. food grade. A lot like yours. I bought them for $8 each before Y2K. There might be 2-3 more at the house I stayed in (my aunt's summer place) 3 years ago because a lot of my garden stuff is still there. Future rain barrels, after I get the storage stuff unloaded out of them.
I wish I had some huge holding tank. With my roof area, my barrels fill up in no time. When the kids get older I would love to use the swimming pool for that - 35,000 gallons!! They should sink a huge tank on the property of every new home built and have the rain brought to it.
Can I ask where everyone gets their barrels? Somebody once suggested freecycle, but I've posted there several times and have gotten no response. An $8 barrel sounds a heck of a lot better than buying an "official" rainbarrel for $70, lol!
If there is a dairy in your area, particularly one closed or closing down, it is often possible to pick up a 500 gal stainless steel milk vat- all that is necessary is to cement the outlet pipes in the base closed and dig enough of a hole, maybe a foot deep, for the pipes- unless you wish to cut them off. I got mine for fifty bucks, and it gives me 500 gals of extra water storage. I have the top covered tightly with shade cloth.
Victorgardener ~ you have a really good idea here [quote] They should sink a huge tank on the property of every new home built and have the rain brought to it. [/quote]
The old farmhouse I grew up in had a concrete cistern poured in ground and dirt and grass over the top. All rainwater was funneled into it. It had a maintenance lid big enough to put a ladder in and an inspection port ~ a small round pipe. During dry times, our chore was to insert a long measuring stick in the port to see how much water was left in the cistern. If low, conservation was necessary.
The water was pumped into the house and provided water to the kitchen, a bath and laundry. We had a well that we would hand pump spring water from for drinking. This house was built during the depression so not a new but a good idea.
DiggerDee ~ in our area, food grade barrels can be found in surplus stores, 2nd hand stores, sometimes builders supply stores. It can't hurt to call around. If they don't have them, someone may be able to direct you to a source.
In my area, they have barrels at the local feed store, but are a lot more expensive.
We got the large tank at a cheese store, he had several stacked up in the back...not sure what it was used for there or where he got them, the 55 gal. barrels were at an old fella's place along the road..I forget where he got them...
Both places were in Sulphur Springs, Tx.
Edited to say that the 55 gal. barrels came from a local Ocean Spray plant.
Harvested rainwater can be used for drinking too. A safe filtration system doesn't need to be rocket science.
Here's an excerpt from one of my favourite rainwater stories:
"When my wife and I moved out to Dripping Springs, Texas, we heard rumors about people who relied on rainwater collection for their entire household needs. We lollygaged around, slowly gathering information about rainwater harvesting "for sometime in the future." Then we had our well drilled . After one taste of that stinky water, our research efforts into rainwater collection went into hyper-drive. We frantically installed gutters, bought and set our tank, and ran piping hither and yon. In the meantime, all that lovely calcium was building up
on our faucets, our sinks, and us. Our hair stood out like fright wigs. We always felt sticky, even right after a shower. And our clothes? We could stand our blue jeans up in the closet like mannequin bottoms. It would’ve been funny if we hadn’t started smelling so bad.
We plugged into our rainwater system in August, 1994, and after that our water smelled sweet and had a hardness of ZERO. Our hair relaxed. We could actually fold our clothes without snapping them in two. Best of all, our friends began to include us once again in their intimate dinner parties."
Cisterns that caught rain water from the house roof used to be the only source of water for people down the bayous of Louisiana. Now, they are "more progressive". They have the same chemicalized water that the city folk have. Joy Joy
When we were looking for a house to buy in this rural area we saw lots of houses that had huge concrete cisterns in the basements. This area has a high sulfer content in the ground water, so like garden mermaid said, the water here really stinks. These homes were old farmhouses, many over 100 years old, rainwater catchment is deffinately not a new idea. My neighbors were still using a cistern on their centenial dairy farm until a few years ago when they put an addition on their house. They had to connect to the well they had to water the stock when they applied for a permit to put an addition on the house. Another example of our non-sustainable government.
A friend here built in an area that the water system had too much demand on and he didn't want the cost of drilling a well.
He worked out a deal with the water co. that he put a huge cistern with a timer and float valve. It would only fill during night time ~ low demand hours.
He placed the cistern above the house on a hillside so will still have low pressure gravity fed water even when the power is off. (Happpens frequently here) I liked his design but would have chosen a well instead...
It's certainly easy enough to filter water for drinking. I was thinking that with modern suburban homes, they would most likely be connecting water lines. The idea was to just save lots of water and use this great resource. If they would go that one more step it would be great. Problem is - droughts.
Victor, you asked earlier how much my dairy vat weighs- myself and another guy rolled it into position and stood it up without a problem.We carried it from the dairy in a small pick-up truck. I notice that water tanks are usedin the South of the US, as CajunKey says, and are the norm in non-urban areas here in Australia- both places have warm climates..but wouldn't the water freeze in a tank in colder areas, burst the tank or at least the inlet and outlet pipes?
Here is a pic of the rain barrel we have been using the past couple of years. We have a well, but with the drought last year we relied on the rain barrel to water the garden. I'm pretty sure it hold 250 gal. We bought it at a yard sale for $40. It was already fitted with a faucet for a hose, because the people had used it to haul water for the brick layers to use while building their house, since they weren't connected to a water system yet.
It may be worth mentioning, that the gravity factor is ultimate when setting up your system. I used cement blocks and went 5 high thinking this would be plenty high enough. As fate would have it, the place I put it (basically out of sight from the front of the house) is where the ground slopes down some and I cannot use the hose to water on the opposite side of the yard as it is actually higher then the faucet on the rain barrel. When you are contemplating height in setting up a gravity system, remember that the height of the faucet is the important measurement, not the height of the barrel itself! I learned that the hard way. I am draining off the water now and watering everything so I can rebuilt the platform higher before we get our spring rains.
Another bonus in having the rain barrel is when the power goes out... no pump, no well water. We can fill buckets with water and bring water in to fill the toilet tank so we can flush. That's a real plus out here in the country where we are not a first priority with the power company in getting the power back on.
hmstyl ~ cool set up. How true ~ no priority here either and it happens too often. It's not just the lights we miss but the water. I dip from rain barrels and flush as necessary... Good luck with your redesign!
Our house doesn't have any gutters so we use a barrel and some bins to collect rainwater as it runs off the roof. If we get at least a half inch of rain, we can fill our containers. I do this mainly for my plants that are under the porch roof and otherwise wouldn't get any "real" water. (Our tap water is very hard.) When the containers are full, we store water in gallon jugs. I guess we've got about 30 jugs. I use this in the summer for a handful of plants that don't care for hard water. We don't get rain in the summer and fall so I have to save rainwater when it does rain. It actually doesn't get all that gross if the jugs are kept in the shade.
My grandma had a cistern at her house. It was a big concrete thing buried in the ground. We didn't drink the cistern water but the house plumbing was connected to this. Some kind of pump kept up the water pressure. The water smelled kind of funny in the summer sometimes. She had a well for drinking water but the well wasn't connected to the house plumbing. It sounds a lot like the setup podster had growing up.
We have a cistern but it's not roof catch, we have a tank in the back of a truck to haul water to fill our cistern. It is potable and we drink it, it never smells funny :~) The cistern is concrete buried in the ground with a sealed building built over it for protection. We do have gutters and want to set up some type of catch system for topping the pond and watering the gardens.
Lana ~ apparently your system is common in the mountainous areas of the west. The newly relocated urbanite population is building on the edges of mountains in areas where there is no water. They have water trucked in with no regard for conservation. Even filling pools, fountains and water features. The "nouveau riche" will be the "nouveau drye" someday... I don't envy them but I do resent waste!
Yea the idea of building houses where there is no water is just rediculous. But nowdays if you have enough money you can do whatever you want, but that won't remain true forever on the issue of water.
The "nouveau riche" will be the "nouveau drye" someday...
Very, very true podster. Not just the mountain areas but places like Arizona too. Everyone is moving there for the "climate" it doesn't have enough water for the people it already has. There has been talk of somehow taking water from the great Lakes for this area. As far as I'm concerned they can do this over my dead body! You want water? Then live up here and deal with the snow like we do you spoiled brats!
Az is where I lived in the early 70's. They had water control problems them. And look at today. Fountains, pools, ponds, irrigation. They have changed the climate totally with humidity and a wider variety of plants increasing the allergen factor.
We looked into purchasing property there and were told that for water, you could purchase a permit from the Salt River Project, pay to drill the well, then they would install a meter on your well and send you a bill for water used.
Today, we are anticipating similar problems in Tx with the large influx of people. There is a Texas State Park which runs thru an area that they are wanting to turn into a reservoir. A reservoir to serve the greater metro areas north of us. So they can continue to wash cars and keep their grass green in summer so they can mow. The restrictions need to be in place first. This is the park ~ it houses an old operating steam train called the Texas State Railroad. A slice of history which will be closing in July for lack of funding and desire for water.
GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and
keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back
on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves
them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stoke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about...
Almost the same thing an instructor said while I was taking Master Gardening classes...said more money is spent on growing grass than any other crop...just so we can cut it down.
He was a great advocate of planting your lawn area with other than grass..which was my feelings, too..and I can say I am almost down to no grassy area at all. By the end of this summer, there will be no grass in the back yard and maybe less than 1/4 of the front left that has grass. My goal was to cut with scissonrs and I am proud to say I am almost there..
Right now I have four 55 Gallon Drum's, and hope to get two more, attached to the Rain Gutter's on my House, I have searched everywhere for a Solar recirculaing Pump, that might work on them, right now they just gravity feed the garden's...If I find anything I'll be sure to let you know, otherwise I'm pretty Innovative and I might just make my own...Thanks Darius...
I use rainwater and greywater. We have 10 of the 32 gallon trash cans around key points of the roofline drip edges, as there is no guttering. Just got 2 IBC water totes for the rainwater. I reuse grey water in the summer to water the flower gardens. This will be the 2nd year. We went to that out of necessity last summer, as the well pump lost pressure for the 2nd time since we bought the place, in 2010. Both times in August. SC where we are, is in a moderate drought.
I have Looked Honeybee, online, and otherwise I can't figure out why a Solar Recirculating Pump is so hard to Find...5 Gallon's per Minute or less is sufficient, it would Kill parasites and Mosquito's I would think...I guess I'll have to Invent my own...BTW My Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage , Celery( must be the Mild Winter), Carrot's, Baby Lettuce, are All still Sprouting or are still growing, I had one Question Honeybee, I have NO Idea how to Post a Pic here, I think some would enjoy them...
MrPappy, when you post a reply, you can see at the bottom of the window the words Image: with a button that says Choose File. Click on that button and it will ask you to select an image from a window that pops up, showing the contents of your desktop. You can navigate to your desktop or to wherever you have a photo stored, and select that image. It will then upload and you'll see it embedded in your message; you would have to click on the image once the message is on the forum in order to see the full view.
I am planning on using rain barrels to catch the rain on my mobile home and am considering a grey water system as well.
A funny story about catching rain... My grandmother sed to hang a light outside of her windows over a bucket of rainwater. The bugs would swarm the light @ night anddrown in the water. We also used the buckets to dip our barefeet in to get fresh cut grass off our feet on dewy mornings before coming in the house.
We have one 55 gal barrel which was used for soy sauce. Boy did that smell when we were driving it home in a hot car!! We hope to hook other barrels on this one. Is there a fitting that will snug up to both sides of the roundish barrels and not be prone to leaking? I have a hose bib on the first tank, so just want something to join the barrels together. Thanks.
I have a 55 gal drum to catch rain off the roof. I use it to water my vegetable beds. I also have a 20 gal tub catching rain water and I use it to water my goat. I dip water from the creek to water my dog.
I am going to set up 3 or 4 55 gal drums in the back yard to catch rainwater, and probably another 3 or 4 on the west side of my house. I have ponds and plants in both areas. My creek dries up every year.
I use the ECS garden kit (http://www.facebook.com/ECSPlanters or http://ecsplanters.com/ ) in all of my planters beds and then direct all of my rain water to the system; however I live in Nevada so the amount of rainwater is minimal. I do have my grey water setup that I can divert it to the planters should I worry about the soaps or anything we use? Will I need to adjust my fertilizing?
I ran my New Mexico kitchen sink to the garden, and used minimal dish soap. Now, that garden didn't live, which is why I'm on this thread reading. But I traveled and no one else did dishes, it was so dry seedlings would burn up in one day.
I use regular fabric window screening. It's not preventing mosquitoes, but is stopping leaves etc from clogging them up.
Catching rainwater has turned out redundant exercise for this year. I went from carting out buckets of grey water to the gardens in 2012...to getting rain almost daily here this year. My rain water storage has been overflowing for over 6 weeks now, and the gardens have been getting over sufficient water supplies.
Last year, I had to document all well water usage, as it would run low. This year...not so much.