Solomon

Rain water tanks

19 posts in this topic

Recently received a publication from a friend in the Tweed.

They are developing policy to make it mandatory for a 5000 litre rain water tank to be included with every new property constructed.

Such tanks are to be plumbed to toilets and laundries.

In a couple of the newer high rise along the Gold Coast strip, I have heard that have incorporated rainwater catchments between floors, for use in toilets and general purpose water requirements.

Of course, all this water is for non-potable purposes only, and therefore not for human consumption in built-up areas.

Apparently if you are in a rural setting it is available for drinking.

I remember the whoohaa that surrounded all the rain water tanks, and councils having them removed from people's properties because of the dangers of such and such impurities.

I grew up on rain-water.

That's all our pioneering ancestors had as a water source, unless they were lucky enough to live beside a mountain stream such as in Far NQ, where they simply piped the water straight out of the stream. TP might be able to verify it, but I remember Gordonvale near Cairns used to get their water supply from such a system at Fishery Falls. The foot valve was simply straight into the creek.

Where I grew up in a rural setting everyone had a rain-water tank and a tankstand.

We had one small well, that supplied the main tank, via a windmill pump (good old Southern Cross), and it was used for washing, but our main drinking water all came from a rain-water tank.

We also had a small beach hut, and the only water supply for it was a small 500ltr water tank, straight from the roof run-off.

How interesting then to see them making a comeback and how councils are now beginning to identify the foolishness of their ways.

I love it when something old becomes new again.

I also think, that in these days of carbon fibre filters that can extract down to micromillimetres, that surely a suitable filter could be fitted to every tank to make the water potable.

Tweed Shire are claiming that the installation of such a tank would reduce drinking water requirements from the public system by 36% or equivalent to 80,000 litres per year.

That is a reasonable amount of water saved.

Edited by Solomon

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...Where I grew up in a rural setting everyone had a rain-water tank and a tankstand.

We had one small well, that supplied the main tank, via a windmill pump (good old Southern Cross), and it was used for washing, but our main drinking water all came from a rain-water tank.

...I also think, that in these days of carbon fibre filters that can extract down to micromillimetres, that surely a suitable filter could be fitted to every tank to make the water potable.

The key though is what were the parasite infection rates and mosquito borne disease rates. Wells are troublesome in many areas (although that is more irrigation volume usage than domestic).

While water was plentifully available it made sense to avoid even a small risk.

I am thinking of putting in a big bugger above the house to use for garden type usage but also plumbing it across to an emergency feed on the roof so if a bushfire comes along I can soak the house continually for a while. It won't make any difference (you can't see my house made of wood on google earth because of the trees as I showed steveno on his fancy phone) but at least I will feel like I tried something.

And if I get super productive I could turn the massive one into an aquaculture dealy, that'd be cool. Lots of little fishies and veges coming out of the bush fire emergency system. Probably help preventing mosquito issues by keeping the water moving too.

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The key though is what were the parasite infection rates and mosquito borne disease rates. Wells are troublesome in many areas (although that is more irrigation volume usage than domestic).

While water was plentifully available it made sense to avoid even a small risk.

I am thinking of putting in a big bugger above the house to use for garden type usage but also plumbing it across to an emergency feed on the roof so if a bushfire comes along I can soak the house continually for a while. It won't make any difference (you can't see my house made of wood on google earth because of the trees as I showed steveno on his fancy phone) but at least I will feel like I tried something.

And if I get super productive I could turn the massive one into an aquaculture dealy, that'd be cool. Lots of little fishies and veges coming out of the bush fire emergency system. Probably help preventing mosquito issues by keeping the water moving too.

Granted tor, that what you say is true.

I am well aware of the reasons given for why they were phased out.

All the old timers used to pour kerosene on the top of their tanks if they showed any wrigglers. The kerosene floated on the surface and stopped them from breathing. It did not contaminate the water and when it rained it would simply pass out through the overflow. You then had to pour another teaspoon or so in again.

But apart from that the modern day rain-water bypass systems which filter out some of the major contaminants, and some of the advances being made in carbon fibre water filtration, if applied to a tank, would eliminate most bacteria.

Imagine if everyone in Australia even had only a 500 ltr tank (now available in handy shapes, thanks to plastics and fibreglass). I have actually seen balcony tanks that attach to apartment balconies. At 10,000,000 households that would be 5 billion litres of water reduced from the demand upon our reticulated water system at any one time.

Across the course of a year most households lose from their roofs, billions of litres of water. Just goes down the drain.

At our small beach hut, if the tank was empty. Rarely happened. But it would only take about 5 millimeters of rain on that small roof to replenish the entire supply. Often only one shower of rain.

My brother has 2 x 10,000 litre tanks. He has no town supply. Has never run out of water, even with four young children.

For the past 30 years all drinking water was passed through a bench top purifier in the house, and only that one tap was used for drinking and cooking etc. He recently had it upgraded to a more modern undersink system, but they also have a portable purifier.

Never had a problem with gastro or diuretic bugs, even in his grandchildren who now visit regularly.

His is a completely closed system, which means no mosquito larvae. He has a bypass tank which catches the first run-off from the roof. (About 100ltr), and then it is taken from the overflow to the main tanks. That occasionally requires cleaning for about 20 to 30 millimetre of sludge accumulates in the bottom. Simply unscrews a bung and hoses it out.

I commend you in your endeavours to install as system. I don't think you will be disappointed

Landlords are a little more difficult to convince about these matters.

Whatever may happen in the future, I still think rain-water tanks are a convenient and economical alternative to our water shortages.

Got to be better than this.

water_project_icon.jpg

Edited by Solomon

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My old house has about 30-40,000L of rainwater tanks as the only water source. Works a treat.

Tanks are compulsary on new builds in SA at least - we need one on our new house next door. The builder provides a 2000L one but we want to haggle up to whatever is the nice big size they sell the most of down the road at Elders. Then we can plumb it to the house. You can't go off the water mains here - you can't make a new block of land WITHOUT a water meter, which is annoying. They are expensive.

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My old house has about 30-40,000L of rainwater tanks as the only water source. Works a treat.

Tanks are compulsary on new builds in SA at least - we need one on our new house next door. The builder provides a 2000L one but we want to haggle up to whatever is the nice big size they sell the most of down the road at Elders. Then we can plumb it to the house. You can't go off the water mains here - you can't make a new block of land WITHOUT a water meter, which is annoying. They are expensive.

Rain water is the only way to go. Gets so that when you drink the town water, the chlorine makes i taste terrible. Years of living on farms i guess.

When we sold our property at the start of last year i swear we had one lady who was looking at the place and she asked where we got our water from. I told her that we had 4 5000Gal tank (close to 100k litres) and that the roof on the house did a good job filling them. She stared at me for a moment and then siad " you actually drink rainwater" with a semi mystyfied cum horrified look. It tell you, these city slickers kill me sometimes!!!:D

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I grew up somewhere way down the Murray pipeline. I think they just keep adding more chlorine the further down the line you go. Whenever I go back to visit my parents, the water is so chlorinated you can't drink it (they have rainwater tanks despite an annual rainfall down the 200mm a year mark) and when you have a shower you NEED to moisturise afterwards it dries your skin so much.

Mains water here is quite palatable and better than some Adelaide mains water, although my daughter refused to drink it when we first moved here. But then she's a bit peculiar. Now she'll drink water out of the kitchen taps but not out of any other tap in the house or garden :rolleyes:

Looking forward to this new house thing. It won't be full-on eco (will fall short on siting and cross ventilation mostly) but it'll have some features at least.

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Rain water is the only way to go. Gets so that when you drink the town water, the chlorine makes i taste terrible. Years of living on farms i guess.

When we sold our property at the start of last year i swear we had one lady who was looking at the place and she asked where we got our water from. I told her that we had 4 5000Gal tank (close to 100k litres) and that the roof on the house did a good job filling them. She stared at me for a moment and then siad " you actually drink rainwater" with a semi mystyfied cum horrified look. It tell you, these city slickers kill me sometimes!!!:D

Tells you how powerful and successful the education/propaganda campaign has been.

Rain-water is akin to toxic poison in some people's minds.

Many people are horrified to hear that we only ever drank rain-water as kids.

"What about all the bird poo, and chemical dust that settles on the roof? Didn't you get sick all the time?"

No.

I know dad would sometimes add a little chlorine to the tanks, but that wasn't very often.

After the first lot of storms the rain-water would taste a little dusty for a while, but that would settle and you were back to familiar taste.

Once the wet season began in NQ, there was very little dust and the roofs were washed just about every second day.

It was definitely cleaner than creek water, which is where a lot of the homes got their water supply.

I actually think a lot of the fear mongering was driven by a desire by councils to get people to pay for their water, hence the requirement to be hooked up to the town system. A lot of the old-timers refused in our town to hook into the system. They complained about why they should pay for something that was supplied by god.

Edited by Solomon

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Whether it is cold or hot we have to drink water. I am thinking of buying sunbeam water filter which filters tap water and removes all impurities and microorganisms. So I am thinking to install a Rainwater tanks filter that will removes all impurities and microorganisms. Please share some idea for me.

:offtopic:

If you want all impurities removed to my knowledge you need to either use distillation or reverse osmosis; the former has very expensive running costs and is probably only suitable for specific requirements (i.e. laboratories).

I had a look at reverse osmosis systems last year and will most likely get one installed where I live. A decent systems costs around 2k but that is for a point of use system (i.e. a single tap). For a point of entry system (i.e., all water you use) then you're looking at a commercial grade system and closer to 50k. Also, keep in mind that filters require replacing annually though it is relatively inexpensive - just make sure to buy a system with industry standard filters and not proprietary designed filters.

You'll need some sort of filter on your rain water tank to keep the mosquitoes and other bugs out.

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I had a look at reverse osmosis systems last year and will most likely get one installed where I live. A decent systems costs around 2k but that is for a point of use system (i.e. a single tap). For a point of entry system (i.e., all water you use) then you're looking at a commercial grade system and closer to 50k. Also, keep in mind that filters require replacing annually though it is relatively inexpensive - just make sure to buy a system with industry standard filters and not proprietary designed filters.

I imagine it would also cost a lot to run on top of the 50k.

There are however very nice places I would love to live with nothing but seawater to drink. If 50k got it over the line it is not as prohibitive as it sounds when you think of what you pay for a view and water location in metro areas.

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:offtopic:

If you want all impurities removed to my knowledge you need to either use distillation or reverse osmosis; the former has very expensive running costs and is probably only suitable for specific requirements (i.e. laboratories).

I had a look at reverse osmosis systems last year and will most likely get one installed where I live. A decent systems costs around 2k but that is for a point of use system (i.e. a single tap). For a point of entry system (i.e., all water you use) then you're looking at a commercial grade system and closer to 50k. Also, keep in mind that filters require replacing annually though it is relatively inexpensive - just make sure to buy a system with industry standard filters and not proprietary designed filters.

You'll need some sort of filter on your rain water tank to keep the mosquitoes and other bugs out.

The simplest solution is purchase an inline filter housing that takes replaceable carbon (bacterial) filters and place it inline as close as possible to the first distribution point.

4e1bb58a.jpg

We've had ours for about 20 years, used on rainwater and being a particulate filter, they only need replacing when the filter clogs. We've only replaced one set of filters so far and that was due to clogging caused by an exposed PVC pipe allowing algae to grow within the supply line, hence the black paint on the PVC lines in the photo,... yes, it works.

All up cost in 1990 prices, $38 for the filter housing, and $12 for the Carbon filter, plain filters were slightly cheaper.

Our main tank is a 22,500ltr Poly tank and the inlet is fitted with gutter filters to keep out leaves and rubbish and has fine screens to prevent mosquitoes breeding in it, they came with the tank. We also have a 975ltr modular tank that takes it's inlet from a 72 sq. mtr. shed up the back block purely for drinking water, the idea being that in winter and when burning pine in our slow combustion heater the water sometimes was contaminated with resin from the chimney. The overflow from this is directed into our main tank.

My combined roof area gives me a theoretical catchment of 230 litres/mm of rainfall which when multiplied by our average, gives a potential catchment of 108,100 litres.

We will be installing another 22.500 lt tank on the shed in the next 12 months or so, dependent on finances. :rolleyes:

Edited by Popeye

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The simplest solution is purchase an inline filter housing that takes replaceable carbon (bacterial) filters and place it inline as close as possible to the first distribution point.

It depends what you want to filter. I don't believe that type of filter will remove all impurities (only a subset).

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It depends what you want to filter. I don't believe that type of filter will remove all impurities (only a subset).

I thought that we were talking about filtering Rain water in domestic tanks?

These filters will remove bacteria and heavy metals, whereas mains reticulated water is no where near that quality, the very best of it, only having only been passed through a sand bed filter and left to settle.

It is then often deliberately contaminated with Chlorine to kill bacteria, the result being that your copper water pipes corrode and turn into a black mud. I doubt that either of these by products is good for your health.

Twenty years ago the SA Government would not allow the installation of rainwater tanks in built up areas, as they claimed that Heavy metal pollutants would contaminate the water. Studies subsequently demonstrated that this was not necessarily true and that up to 99% of all lead contamination was actually from lead flashing rather than airborne particulates.

Now it is mandatory for all new construction to have a rainwater tank, and the fitting of filters is optional.

I couldn't find anything on SA but here is some info on the CSIRO study in Melbourne.

Research findings In the first study' date=' the results varied according to the roofing material, but the most striking result was that for the three roofs with lead flashing the concentration of lead in the collected water was higher than permissible under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. [b']The study suggests that that the lead flashing may contribute up to 99 per cent of the lead content in the tank water.[/b]

In the studies using tanks installed for domestic use there were widely varying results, with about a third having high lead levels. The team was concerned that in a few cases where levels of metals were high, water from the rainwater tanks was used for drinking. As none of the tanks were notably close to heavy traffic or industrial activity, the team suspect that the source of lead was most likely lead flashing in the roof catchment.

The research highlights the importance of routine tank maintenance to remove sediments from inside the tank and the roof gutters. While some householders looked after their roofs, almost none maintained their rainwater tanks. Research suggests that lead and other metals may leach into the water from the sediment build-up in rainwater tanks; therefore cleaning of the tank every year is recommended, in addition to periodic cleaning of roofs and gutters.

Research needs

Research is continuing to determine the sources of lead and identify improved design and maintenance requirements for rainwater harvesting systems.

Removal of lead and other heavy metals from drinking water supplied from rainwater tanks at a household level can be achieved by using commercially available activated carbon filters.

Rainwater tanks, common in the country, will increasingly become part of the urban scene. As this happens, it is important that sound, research-based standards be developed and implemented.

Mirela Magyar is a PhD student based at Monash University. This research was supported through CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country Flagship as part of a broader research program on urban water supply that aims to ensure Australia can meet the demands that climate change and population growth will place on our limited water resources. Source: http://www.csiro.au/...ater-tanks.html

Edited by Popeye
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On average how many days would a full tank of that size last your family?

This is also worth a read IMO:

http://ferfal.blogsp...eparations.html

The first year we installed the tank it lasted from October to the following May, this was due to a late installation and the tank never filled. We changed back onto mains water until July when we had enough rain to almost fill the tank, a combination of subsequent rains and a reasonable amount of storage to last between falls has meant that we have never had to go back onto mains water for the house. That was over 10 years ago.

There are only two full time residents in the house normally, and I have no doubt that you could get away with four so long as you were careful showering. We have a non automatic washing machine. as it seems that showering and washing clothes take the most water.

All water used in the garden and for toilet flushing comes from the mains.

I haven't as yet read your link but will do so after I finished this post

Edited by Popeye

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Our new 22,000L tank will probably be full in 10 minutes the way its raining at the moment :)

Its not connected to anything though, need to go buy hoses and pumps and whatnot, but we've only had the house 3 months. Its a 'wet' system, which means the downpipes go under the ground rather than overhead, so the water won't be as clean as a regular one. The idea is to use it to water the garden and flush the toilets.

22KL tank cost us a whisker over $2000 so not too bad value. We're allowing $600 for all the paraphanalia to attach it to the house. Seems a bit dumb that a tank is compulsary but noone checks to see if you've actually connected it to anything.

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Our new 22,000L tank will probably be full in 10 minutes the way its raining at the moment :)

Its not connected to anything though, need to go buy hoses and pumps and whatnot, but we've only had the house 3 months. Its a 'wet' system, which means the downpipes go under the ground rather than overhead, so the water won't be as clean as a regular one. The idea is to use it to water the garden and flush the toilets.

22KL tank cost us a whisker over $2000 so not too bad value. We're allowing $600 for all the paraphanalia to attach it to the house. Seems a bit dumb that a tank is compulsary but noone checks to see if you've actually connected it to anything.

22KL? That's like a barrel about 3m across and 3m tall, isn't it? Sounds huge - is it the biggest size available?

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...Now it is mandatory for all new construction to have a rainwater tank, and the fitting of filters is optional...

 

This happened over here in Sydney as well. The Government wouldn't let people have water tanks attached to their house gutters, probably because they couldn't tax it. But since we had a really bad drought a few years ago, the whole city was on massive water restrictions for a few years, and now local counsils allow water tanks.

 

I would say most of them don't have filters though, and are just used for watering their gardens and lawns.

 

We just have to watch out for possums making their home in our gutters. :yes:

Possum-in-Gutter.jpg?3222Photo from Sydney Gutters

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