Rainwater harvesting bypasses strained municipal water systems

Rainwater harvesting bypasses strained municipal water systems

A new city ordinance in Atlanta has cleared the way for catchment systems to collect potable water for single-family residential use.

Rainwater Pillow worked with a homeowner who had experienced problems with the quality of the municipal drinking water at their previous home and felt that the only way to be sure what was coming out of the faucet was to harvest their own rainwater. Installing a potable water rainwater harvesting system put them in control of the water quality in their home.

A 4,600-gallon custom-size Original Rainwater Pillow is installed in a finished crawl space and only occupies 25 percent of the available space in the area, according to Jim Harrington of Rainwater Pillow. The pillow is located in the rear of the crawl space behind the homes utilities in order to still maintain a large storage area. Since the floor was sloped, a deck was installed to level the pillow area.

The home's new gutters direct the 980 gallons the rainwater from 1 inch of rain to 300-micron down spout filters. The water fills a 16-gallon first flush separator before flowing into the pillow. The first flush drains between rain events into a garden area. Additionally, water and debris that passes through the downspout filters is also directed to garden areas around the home. By combining the passive and active rainwater harvesting techniques, the system eliminates storm water runoff from almost all rain events.

The stored rainwater in The Original Rainwater Pillow is treated by aeration jets and filtration on a daily basis. This insures that the water is held at the highest quality before further treatment and use.

The system uses a 28-gallon per minute demand pump strong enough to provide water to a second story shower, sink, and toilet simultaneously. The rainwater is filtered to exceed potable water industry standards by using a three-stage filtration system followed by 32-gallon-per-minute UV light treatment. The result is water filtered to .5 microns and disinfected above potable water requirements. The pump is controlled by a pressure switch set between 30 and 50 PSI and includes a 20-gallon pressure tank to reduce cycling.

This system provides a constant source of exceptional quality water for all of the homeowner's needs, Harrington said.

Read more about water-saving devices.

Topics: Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Water Filtration & Water Quality, Water Quality, Water Saving Devices

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