With air and water pollution being commonplace nowadays, it’s no wonder that people are 100% reliant on the water that is pumped and provided by utility companies. The problem with this full reliance on mains water, however, is that there will always be the chance that the water provider will be unable to supply the needed amount and pressure of water for a certain time period for whatever reason, and when that happens, panic ensues among residents in an area.
There’s also the 100% certainty of utility companies being unable to fully provide the needed amount of water to residents in the wake of a typhoon or flooding.
Enter rainwater harvesting and filtration. The practice, which dates back thousands of years, involves the installation of a rainwater harvesting system in your property. A rainwater collection system is usually composed of a catchment area (i.e. roof), a gutter, a downspout, numerous pipes, a number of filters, a tank, and a pump. Once set up, gravity will then work to move water from catchment all the way to the tank, passing a series of filters along the way.
Making Collected Rain Safe for Consumption
While filtered rain in a storage tank is generally considered safe for use in many different chores, it may not be safe for consumption unless the following steps are done.
- Properly set up the components
Of course, it’s essential that the components be properly installed in the first place. If they are not properly installed, then expect collected water to be filled with unpleasant things like bird droppings, insect eggs, microbes, and chemical contaminants. Water that’s filled with impurities requires a lot of time and some amount of effort to purify.
There’s also the difficulty of collecting the ideal amount of rainwater with a system that’s improperly set up.
- Set up your rainwater harvesting system with high-grade materials
When setting up your own system, it’s important that only high-grade components be installed. Low-grade materials do not last long (and thus require a lot more maintenance on your part) and are most likely made out of materials that can be harmful to humans when they shed into the water.
Speaking of materials that can be harmful to humans, anyone looking to build a rainwater harvesting system also needs to pay attention to the material of their catchment area. Only a few roofing materials are suitable for rainwater harvesting, with the best option being an unpainted GI sheet roof. The reason why an unpainted metal roof is best has to do with the fact that paint is composed of substances harmful to humans and animals alike, and when they peel off the catchment surface, you can be certain that traces of all those harmful substances have already seeped into the tank and the water stored in it.
- Boil the water
While filters can help make the collected rainwater safe for consumption, boiling makes it a hundred times safer, but only if it’s done right and done for several minutes.
Some notes on boiling:
- Let the particles settle if the collected rainwater is cloudy and then, skim clean water that’s above the layer of sediment. You may also filter the sediment away with a paper towel, clean cloth, or coffee filter before you start to boil it.
- Store boiled water in a clean, sanitised container that has a tight cover.
- Proper disinfection
There are a good number of ways to disinfect rainwater so it becomes safe for consumption. The first disinfection option is the use of household iodine, bleach, or chlorine that’s unscented. These work against most harmful bacteria and viruses, but only if used the right way.
Chlorine dioxide tablets are another disinfecting option. They are best used against organisms that are resistant to both iodine or bleach.
- More filters!
While filters intended to be set up in rainwater harvesting systems are said to be effective enough when it comes to making rainwater purer, the use of more filters assures you of water that you can drink safely. You can filter rain from the tank through a paper towel, coffee filter, or clean cloth. Alternatively, you can use a portable filter for the exact same purpose.
The steps already mentioned above can help turn collected rain into clean and safe drinking water, which, by the way, you can also use for dishwashing so that you can save more money on water. To prevent problems when using stored rain for consumption and dishwashing, make sure that you also learn how to consume less water when washing dishes.
Article Submitted By Community Writer