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Thread: cisterns/tanks for home rainwater harvesting

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South Carolina, USA.
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    cisterns/tanks for home rainwater harvesting

    Howdy. I will build a barn (rainwater harvesting) on a ridge about 100 ft in elevation above my house. I currently use 2 1500 gal poly tanks to catch rainwater from the house roof ... they are a royal pain in the butt to clean out! I would appreciate thoughts about cistern options on the ridge. A concrete truck can not get up the ridge. This will supply drinking water, treated at the house. I will need about 10,000 gal. to meet garden irrigation, household, and fire protection needs. We get 58 inches of rain a year with the lowest month being about 3.5 inches .... you could almost say we get 5 inches a month. I have considered:

    1) The poly tanks ... but my wife and I are not "young" any longer and I would rather have something easier to clean.

    2) A concrete block tank but the floor would have to be poured by hand, piece meal. What are my options to seal the block and the floor ... a liner? ... fiberglass? ... some "plaster?" ... bituminous material? I'm pretty uneducated about these issues.

    3) An above ground swimming pool with cover?

    4) ?

    I would greatly appreciate all information/thoughts etc., especially links to other sites with information/products. Thanks in advance.

    bruce

  2. #2
    Past Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    Posts
    153
    I think this question was answered in another thread.

    David

  3. #3
    Which other thread? It would be helpful if you had posted that in your reply. I am also interested in this topic.

  4. #4
    Past Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
    Posts
    153
    1) The bottom of any concrete cistern MUST be poured in one batch of concrete mix. If not, it'll crack and you'll have a leak. There are many lining materials but these are not friendly to frecuent cleanings (weekly or monthly). No matter what the manufacturers and dealers say. Same for the swimming pool idea.

    2) I recommend that you filter the water for sediments before it goes into the tank. Sediment filtration for raincatchers have several steps and seem cumbersome at the beggining, but they work with limited involvement and are cheap. a) From the gutters you dump the raw water into an elevated (6') plastic 50 Gal drum. You leave a drain valve on the bottom of this tank to flush sediment accumulation. b) From there you draw from the middle of the tank with a 1" PVC line to a 1" SpinDown filter with a 500# plastic screen (this will require a weekly cleaning). c) You need to dissinfect rainwater. A chlorine PVC feeder is the most affordable and easiest to use device (scared of chlorine, then you can remove it (and it's by-products) from your drinking water with a POU filter at the kitchen sink. No problem there) d)From the main tanks you can install a backwashable granular media filter at a point were there is enough pressure to backwash the unit effectively. If the pH on the water is below 6.5 then it must be a neutralizing filter (with low pH waters you can't use a concrete cistern unless the Neutralizing filter is installed Upstream from that cistern).

    3) You will stil need to clean the plastic water tanks every year. To completely rid yourself of this chore you can install the Neutralizing filter upstream from the tanks (I haven had need to clean my concrete cistern in 5 years). You will need a bigger settling tank (150 Gal instead of 50 Gal.) and a small ½ HP shallow well jet pump (this is necessary to backwash the media filter effectively).

    4) DO NOT use cartridge filters since they load up very fast and it'll drive you mad with the expense and time invlolved with replacing them. If you absolutely hate chlorine then you can dissinfect with ozone, bromine, peroxide, iodine, copper, etc. But if you don't you WILL get the runnings a couple of times a year.

    Hope this helps,

    David

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