Living in the Pacific Northwest you are aware of our wet winters. Tomorrow is the first day of fall and that means it is getting darker earlier and the rain is right around the corner. With other parts of the United States going through extreme draught, we are fortunate to have plenty of water in our area. So what do you do with all this wonderful wet stuff besides try to keep it off of you with umbrellas and raincoats?
If you own a home or have access to a garden area in your apartment building then you can start collecting rain water. It’s one of the easiest ways to store it for emergency purposes. You can set up a simple collection container that collects directly from your downspouts. You can find containers from a local company like Portland Purple Water. You can have a more esthetically looking container made out of cedar which will cost more ($300) or go with the standard and cheaper blue plastic barrel ($75). The barrels hold 55 gallons each, providing enough water for one person for almost two months. (if you are using the average of 1 gallon per day/per person)
Of course if you are collecting rain water you should be filtering it if you intend to drink it to make sure it is clear of contaminates. Drinking rainwater that comes from a clean and well kept catchment system is still not acceptable for today’s standards of rainwater quality due to air pollutants that poison the water. Mechanical filters like screens and closed gutters, French drains, gravel, sand, sumps, grates, and wire mesh, and first flush units are all first steps in filtration. Just remember to always concentrate on bigger to smaller debris, and the filters will always be placed correctly in the catchment system. Of course you can create your own filtering system using charcoal or sand but I would consult someone like Portland Purple Water to make sure you are doing it right and keeping out all the bad stuff you want to keep out!
Portland also has an incentive to disconnect your downspouts from sewers. You can contact them thru this link and find out more information on harvesting rainwater.