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#687609 - 10/07/11 09:05 PM How to sanitize rain water to drink
New_Climber Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 2226
Loc: Kalama, Washington
I have a small situation that could get very difficult.

To make a long story short, I just found out that my neighbor of which I have a shared well with is moving out. They rent the house of which I also have contact with the owners. The electrical power for the shared well comes from their house. I can explain more on how this is setup if need be...

My concern is that when they move, the PUD power to the house might be disconnected being they are renting....resulting in me not having any water. I have contact information for the owner but it could take a day or so to get this possible situation figured out....

I collect rain water and current have about 200 gals stored...BUT have enough barrel to collect another 200 gals, just need to plumb then together.

So now to my question...

In worse case situation I can get a jet pump/pressure tank combo kit of which I can very easily plumb into the water system of my house...

My concern is water safety...The rain water comes off a metal roof and into food grade 55gal barrels. But it is not treated and current used for my gardens only...

In the event I would need to use this for household water, any quick ideas on sanitize it?? OR...if I don't drink it...do you think it would be safe to shower and wash clothing with??? We can use bottled water for drinking.

Now, I realize that 400gals will not go very far...but remember I live in the Pacific Northwest and we are going into the wet season...my current 200 gals filled up in 6hours with a light rain...the same type of light rain I will get from now to July.....supply is not an issue...but safety for my family is....

Hopefully everything will go OK and the owner will keep power to the house...I figure they need to keep it heater over the winter anyway....and I figure they will try and rent it out again..

Any solution that one might have done already?? That doesn’t' cost an arm and leg to install??

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#687611 - 10/07/11 09:17 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
ront02769 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 10119
Loc: New England
you have a well. you flush, it doesn't work. having just spent a week without water, hauling buckets from the pond to flush, not so happy. offer to split the electric bill. not likely those moving out will end up getting it turned off the dya they move anyway. ront

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#687614 - 10/07/11 10:09 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
BillJeffy Offline
Don't Know Squat
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 9172
Loc: USA
.
.
You've never lived in Europe,
or you'd know what "Kein Trinkwasser" means....

The water you've collected can be used for any use
other than drinking or cooking.

For human consumption....BOIL IT first..!!

On another note, It wouldn't seem insurmountable
for you to supply power to the well yourself,
or, get your own well...!?

.
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#687634 - 10/08/11 07:46 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: BillJeffy]
New_Climber Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 2226
Loc: Kalama, Washington
Thanks for the info...No, never did live in Europe and figured it would be OK with the exception of drinking the water. I had a bout with Giardia once when I drank water from a stream without filtering it while I was backpacking. Luckily I was on my way home and could deal with the effect at home...something I never want to re-live again..

My plan if the power is shut off to call the owners and tell them I will pay the $10 service fee and whatever else we agree upon for the usage...BUT that could take a day or so to get things squared away...just want to know my options before in the event I need to get something going??

Running power is something my builder should have done when we ran the water line. The well head is about 400ft away (keeping the line in the easement between the properties). Drilling a new well, I would rather not spend the money being this well is working fine...

Both these solutions are possibly, just would cost much more than the $60/yr. I pay now for well power...to whomever is providing power to the other house...

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#687639 - 10/08/11 08:43 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
Punky Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 3773
Loc: Springville, NY
if you put in a small jet pump system why not sterilize the water with UV -

steri-lite uv system 6gpm

not expensive. put a whole house carbon cartridge filter after it.
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#687644 - 10/08/11 09:06 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
Able_Dog Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 34020
Loc: N Georgia
I think Jeffy's got it right but I'd add buy your drinking water. We never drank the tap water in Sarasota. It was an old public system and we didn't trust it, so we bought our drinking water.

Can you drive a shallow well for non-potable water? Might be easier than dealing with a well 400 ft away.

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#687648 - 10/08/11 10:10 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
There are areas where rain is collected for household use.

The term you can use to google for information is:
rain harvesting

A common system has:

--a "roof washer" valve that send the first few gallons
(with dirt from the roof) onto the lawn, and then swtiches
over. They are fairly simple.

--some filtering before storage (coarse), and some after

---most importantly, an ozone system. That kills the
bacteria, but it also burns off some of the organics
in the water.

So that looks like the key, the ozone bubbles.
The ozone disappears from the water in 1/2 hour.
Other than that, the boiling mentioned, or chlorination
to 1-3 ppm (a drop or two of bleach per gallon: you have
to measure with a pool kit)

Since you are in the Pacific Northwest, a lot of
parts makers for rain harvesting are near you.
You will probably want over 1000 gallons storage.
That gets into making a "cistern".



Edited by JimTheTinkerer (10/08/11 10:13 AM)
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#687740 - 10/09/11 10:06 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
KyGb Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 13
Loc: West Kentucky
I built a rainwater harvesting system in 2002, not only because the city raised our water rates from $30 to $90 a month but was also planning to retire to a remote cabin with no other means of water and wanted to test it before hand.

The best catchment basin would be a steel roof with a preflush (wash) as mentioned above by Jim, you can buy them online or build one yourself from 4" pvc pipe and a soda bottle. Basically the pipe fills with the first few gallons of dirty roof water and diverts it to the ground, when the bottle floats to the top it redirects the water to the collection barrel.

4" pipe holds about 1/2 gallon per foot and 8" about 2 gallons per foot, make it as long as possible to insure all the debris is washed off the roof - using a slanted grate at the top to divert larger things like leaves. The bottom of the pipe has a clean-out and a valve left to drip slowly so as to drain out before the next rain.

I personally kept the drinking water separate from the bulk tank in sealed 5 gallon bakery buckets from walmart, they cost $1 with an o-ring lid and once held cake frosting. I stored 10 of these at a time by adding 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per bucket before sealing.

When it came time to make drinking water I would use a reverse osmosis filter pump with the pickup tube held off the bottom in case of any sediment that may have settled out (seldom) any residual chlorine will easily evaporate out of solution if stirred vigorously and left uncovered overnight.

I did not run the bulk water (also chlorinated) through the RO filter but rather a cheaper larger volume microfiltration unit. Having easy access to all my plumbing via a basement I cut and isolated the water lines to the washing machine, toilet, water heater, and shower. Using a positive shutoff asco solenoid valve and pressure switch I turned on and off the bulk water tank pump when a drop in pressure was sensed in the (tight) piping system.

As an example: when the pressure dropped to 1 psi the asco valve would open and start the pump, pressurizing the piping system until the differential pressure switch saw 15 psi which then closed the asco valve and stopped the pump. Flushing the toilet would repeat that process as would any water usage. Note: a check valve did not seat good at my low pressures and short cycled the pump, hence the need for the asco solenoid.

I had plans to duplicate a separate pressure system to my kitchen and bathroom sinks for potable water but found it easier to just keep a pitcher of RO water in the fridge. I have since dismantled the system and fled the city to the country where the 400 person community well supplies me 1300 gallons for $6 a month, which is twice my usage.

If I ever get around to re-installing my system I will have to look into the ease and cost of a UV / ozone system, after all the food plants I have been working in the last 30 years have been using them on a large scale but the replacement parts were quite costly but now see they are becoming reasonably priced.

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#687791 - 10/09/11 05:29 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: KyGb]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
Excellent background, thanks for the experience!

Good point on agitation and chlorine...
..it use possible to get rid of most of it.
A simple charcoal filter for point-of-use
does a good job stripping out chlorine too..

RO would be useful if there were dissolved things
that were trouble. It dumps 3-5 gallons per gallon
yielded, though, so it's more just for drinking and cooking
unless you have huge collections.

It's good to sanitize the water somehow for things
like Legionnaire's, a bacteria population blow-up
at 120F. Or at least, raise the hot water tank to 140F.
A sanitizer also guards you against the odd critter
in the brew. (so also protect everything with mesh!)



Edited by JimTheTinkerer (10/09/11 05:30 PM)
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#687854 - 10/10/11 12:43 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
yardmaster Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 18542
Loc: Between a Rock and a Hard Plac...
Originally Posted By: New_Climber


My concern is that when they move, the PUD power to the house might be disconnected being they are renting....resulting in me not having any water. I have contact information for the owner but it could take a day or so to get this possible situation figured out....




Get in front of it and call the owners before the tenants move out? Then there shouldn't need to be any turn on/off charges...?
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#688231 - 10/13/11 08:21 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8534
Loc: Virginia
Get a micron filtration pump the kind made for backcountry backpackers and campers. You can get them through Amazon or through a backpacking store like REI.

You want one that will remove bacteria, viri, and cysts as well as molds and spores. Some will remove chemicals and certain types of heavy metals, but I don't think you need to worry about that here.

Rainwater is inherently pretty pure. It's what happens to it after it sits in the barrels that is the big concern.

Even if it drains down across a metal roof, the contact time is such that you're not going to be leaching anything out of the roof. If it were sitting ON the roof for a few hours to days, that might be a problem.
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#688237 - 10/13/11 09:02 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
A camping filter can be a lot more expensive per gallon
then a faucet carbon-block filter that does the same thing,
and those tend to be more expensive per gallon than a big
6-8" filter.

All those are point-of-use for drinking, though.
As whole-house you're talking a much bigger filter.
The whole-house issue comes up when you take a shower
in stagnant rainwater, but it's too expensive and time-consuming
to hand-collect a shower's worth of water with a camp hand-pumper
or a countertop cartridge.

If the whole-house water has chlorine or ozone (or there could
be a UV germ-killer) and just the drinking/cooking goes through
a special filter, you have something you can actually
afford per gallon. A carbon block filter removes chlorine
easily from the drinking and cooking.
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#688245 - 10/13/11 09:14 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8534
Loc: Virginia
Are UV filters effective against things like giardia? I'm not 100% sure they are, and that could be a serious consideration out west.

And, I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think a carbon block filter removes viri and bacteria.

Yes, you can chlorinate, but home chlorination really isn't as effective as it should be.

A UV unit is effective against bacteria and viri, but effectiveness levels based on design apparently vary wildly.

Personally, I really think a backpacker type filter/purifier should be in everyone's emergency survival kit.

I've been through numerous situations over the years where water service has been contaminated, leading to boil water advisories or flat out no drink advisories.



Edited by kframe19 (10/13/11 09:20 AM)
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#688283 - 10/13/11 11:27 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: kframe19]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
Quote:

Are UV filters effective against things like giardia? I'm not 100% sure they are, and that could be a serious consideration out west.


No, but camping filters are massively expensive for house
water. You can buy counter filters that do the job
though.

Quote:

And, I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think a carbon block filter removes viri and bacteria.


It does. It's the same material as the
camping filters, but for more for the dollar.


Quote:

Yes, you can chlorinate, but home chlorination really isn't as effective as it should be.


That's very confusing. It's chlorine. If you want
max. effect you keep the pH level controlled.
You can make it better with more chlorine. It's hypochlorite.
That's it.

Quote:

A UV unit is effective against bacteria and viri, but effectiveness levels based on design apparently vary wildly.


This is why they have what are
called NSF standards. So you know.


Quote:

Personally, I really think a backpacker type filter/purifier should be in everyone's emergency survival kit.



I have no problam with that.
Taking it out of the backpack and putting it in a
kitchen is like hunting elephants with a BB-gun, though.


Quote:

I've been through numerous situations over the years where water service has been contaminated, leading to boil water advisories or flat out no drink advisories.


Bear in mind, this thread is about
coninuous household use, not short
emergencies.

Boiling can be pretty cost-effective, if you
use a lobster kettle. Actually, in terms of cost,
you can treat 50 gallons with chlorine for pennies.
The issue for me is that flavor. I've brought water
just to a boil and mixed in an ounce per gallon of
3% peroxide. Flavorless, and it burns out some
organic tastes the way ozone does. Kills spores and
doesn't take as much boiling.


I have no beef with the job camping super-filters do.
It just doesn't seem cost or labor-effective for
the original post. Rainwater takes some extra work to
finish off OK. In the US East, it takes extra pH
work since all the rain is aicidic.
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#688285 - 10/13/11 11:54 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8534
Loc: Virginia
"That's very confusing. It's chlorine. If you want
max. effect you keep the pH level controlled.
You can make it better with more chlorine. It's hypochlorite."

Yes, it was confusing. What I meant is that chlorinating at home to an adequate and effective level is very difficult unless you essentially superchlorinate to a level dozens, or hundreds, of times above is done industrially.

Granted, that's easy to reverse with a carbon filter, but removing that much chlorine just chews the hell out of the filter in short order.



"No, but camping filters are massively expensive for house
water. You can buy counter filters that do the job
though."

A camping style filter is highly portable, and there are many on the market that are not 'massively expensive' but which are highly effective.

And, if you purchase one with a combination ceramic/carbon filter, they are extrmely long lived, require little maintenance, and because of the ceramic filter, are as effective, if not more so, at removing creepy critters from your drinking water.

It seemed that the entire question at hand was to filter a limited supply of drinking water collected in barrels, not replacement water for a whole house system. At that point, a portable system is a better choice as it's not tethered to the home distribution system or a faucet.

Oh, wait, I missed the entire sentence about plumbing the water barrels into the home system.

Never mind.

And hell. Just drink beer.
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#688286 - 10/13/11 11:55 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8534
Loc: Virginia
Oh...

"is like hunting elephants with a BB-gun, though."

If you know where to aim, it's not a problem. smile
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#688289 - 10/13/11 01:07 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
You don't need to superchlorinate at home..
time does the work. 1 ppm, 3 if murky.
Hypochlorite is pretty amazing. The spores rarely
some from the roof. Usually dirty puddles and such.


Camping, it makes sense to spend 50 cents to 2 bucks
a gallon to drink and cook with even puddle water.
It's worth it for the invincability.

For every day (and just for drinking/cooking) you
can get filters at a much lower per-gallon price.
For the extreme protection and spores you
mentioned, "Doulton candles" in a large pitcher
are popular for exotic hazards. If someone
has water pressure, the big 1000 gallon filters
are the best per gallon deal.

I use the 100-gallon faucet carbon filters.
It's 15 cents per gallon and a gallon per minute.
I should really get a 2000 gallon countertop rig
with about 3 gpm flow and a cheaper per-gallon cost.
It gets annoying holding the jugs for the slow fill.

I distilled at one point. That's the ultimate.
It's also dog-slow..a gallon in 4 hrs at 600 watts.
25 cents a gallon, though, and awesome coffee, until
the distilled water eats the coffee machine...

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#688290 - 10/13/11 01:10 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8534
Loc: Virginia
Distilled water makes completely gross coffee. Dead, lifeless, flat.

Gak.
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#688291 - 10/13/11 01:11 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: kframe19]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
Aw...it's yummy.
Just has to sit open overnight
and come from glass.

Distilled water from stores is appalling..
all the plastic funk gets absorbed..

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#688292 - 10/13/11 01:24 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
JasonB Online   content
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14149
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
I gotta agree with Kframe on distilled water coffee... Ghack!

Best coffee, to me, comes from quite hard well water. The sort that knackers the coffee maker with water scale in about 2 years, even with regular vinegaring...

I agree with Jim, though, on using a bulk water filtration system rather than camping rigs if this is to be the primary potable water source for more than a couple days. I love the camping filters.... For camping/emergency, but I'd hate to have to rely on one for weeks on end.

Ultimately, though, I'm cheap. I'd get a couple fair sized plastic water jugs (like the big blue UN jobbies). Each enough for a day or 2 potable use. I'd hypochlorite or use water purification tablets, and allow the jug to stand for a day or 2 before using. If ventilated, much of the chlorine will dissipate over time, leaving reasonably drinkable water at negligable cost and effort.

J
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#688323 - 10/13/11 05:12 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
Punky Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 3773
Loc: Springville, NY
here's the info, from sterilight co:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does UV inactivate Cryptosporidium (Beaver fever) and Giardia?

Cryptosporidium and Giardia are what is called a protozoan cyst. Protozoa can be described as microscopic, single celled microorganisms which live in water and are quite a bit larger in comparison to other microbes. The majority of protozoan cysts are parasitic. Both Cryptosporidium and Giardia are parasitic. These organisms are in a dormant phase when in water but when they enter a host (being any kind of mammal) they release colonies and begin to breed, ultimately causing severe diarrhea and dehydration over a prolonged period of time.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia were not microorganisms of concern until approximately 10 years ago when Milwaukee was hit with a waterborne disease epidemic. Milwaukee drinking water is surface water, which had become contaminated with high concentrations of Cryptosporidium at the time. Over 100,000 people came down with Cryptosporidiosis and over 400 people died. The USEPA recognized that they needed to consider these organisms and include them within their drinking water guidelines. Testing was done and it was found that chlorine was NOT effective against either of the protozoa. Testing was then conducted using UV technology with initial failure due to improper test procedures. Ultimately it was proven that UV is in fact very effective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The dose levels required to inactivate these cysts are actually quite low; less than 10 mJ/cm² for 99.9% reduction of both Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How does the UV light actually kill microorganisms?

UV does not kill microorganisms like chlorine does, but instead UV inactivates them. UV light at a specific wavelength of 254 nm is readily absorbed by the genetic material of microorganisms. The DNA strand is coded with a specific sequence of something called base pairs. The sequence of these base pairs codes for certain characteristics. UV light at 254 nm is readily absorbed at the point on the microorganism's DNA strand which codes for reproduction. A microorganism that cannot reproduce, cannot make colonies and therefore cannot infect when consumed. In other words, the microorganisms have been sterilized or neutered. They will eventually die off.
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#688832 - 10/17/11 12:12 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: Punky]
New_Climber Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 04/27/03
Posts: 2226
Loc: Kalama, Washington
That was pretty good information on UV filters..I do have a hand pump filter for backpacking....got giardia once...never again. I have no problems with boiling or using bottled water to drink..my main concern was for showering and cloths washing...but that has been addressed as OK.

Well, so far so good. It looks like the renters moved out and the power is still on. It has only been the weekend since they moved....

The bad part is that I have seem to have lost the contact info for the owners...before the renters moved, he gave me the property management company info so I at least have that contact point. This is a pretty nice house...so unless the owners are going to be foreclosing, I can't see them leaving it without heat over the winter...not to mention they obviously have a desire to rent it out so I also don't see them closing it up and winterizing it (and turning the power off).....

The funny part is we are in a dry spell for the next week depending on which weather report I read....500gals does not go very far without it raining consistently. But here in the northwest, the liquid sunshine I am sure will start and not end until July.... grin

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#689038 - 10/18/11 07:11 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: New_Climber]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
The UV seems a lot like pasteurization...
the bugs aren't fully killed, but they're
ineffective while in you.

About 300 gallons a day for a family of 4
gives you an idea on how big a cistern has
to be....pretty big! I stayed in a place that
had a 2000 gal cistern once, but everything was
on reduced usage.
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#689108 - 10/19/11 10:25 AM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
JasonB Online   content
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14149
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
My home is a former CCG lightkeeper's home. In the basement is a room (now), about 7' wide, 20' long and 6'6" high, with a second chamber of similar dimensions but only 4' long at one end. The small chamber is filled with gravel and sand to about 4' deep. 14" reinforced concrete walls and 4" reinforced ceiling, LOL.

Rainwater used to be directed into the gravel filter chamber, where it filtered down thru the gravel and ended up trickling under the dividing wall between the 2 chambers to fill the cistern. Gave something near 4000 gallons of water.

This water was for non-potable uses. A well (now mine) used to provide potable water for the 2 original keeper's residences.

Luckily, the previous owner cut a doorway in the cistern, with a hilti hammer, LOL. Imagine, cutting 14" concrete in your basement to make a full sized door.

I keep my RC aircraft stuff in there nowadays. It'd make a nice shelter, if equipped with ventilation.

Sorry for the digression...

J
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#689225 - 10/19/11 06:32 PM Re: How to sanitize rain water to drink [Re: JasonB]
Punky Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 3773
Loc: Springville, NY
in this area we have people still actively using this style of cistern as potable water via jet pump. crazy shocked sick im a plumber and i still cant imagine drinking coffee flavored with dead birds and dead worms...
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