You do not need to take care of rainwater to utilize it for showering, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however you have options if you would like to achieve that. While collecting rainwater conserves water, it may come in contact with contaminants such as bird pesticides and feces. This may lead it to harbor parasites, bacteria and disease-causing agents.
Check Local Standards
The collection of rainwater isn’t legal everywhere. Some states prohibit rainwater harvesting, as they consider rainfall as part of watershed drainage that belongs to the state or other private water-rights owners. And in the states that do allow it, you might find state or local regulations for rainwater collection systems and storage, equipment and procedures, so check all applicable laws and codes before you put in a system. Your local government’s environmental, zoning, building and health departments will be able to help you. These agencies may also have information on local rainwater contamination issues and treatment tips for issues specific to your area’s water.
Store rainwater in a clean holding tank or other non toxic container such as food-grade plastic barrels. A first-flush apparatus, also referred to as a first-flush diverter, enhances rainwater quality by maintaining the initial water stream that contains the most impurities and debris from entering the holding tank. These systems often use a tipping bucket that empties at specific points or a ball that rises to shut a valve following the initial five-gallon flow in the roof. The CDC advises against using rainwater as a drinking water supply without disinfection, filtration, and normal maintenance and testing; it also implies that you don’t allow rainwater to a family drinking water system or get it done from your nose or mouth when you shower. Homeowners must take responsibility for the safety of their systems.
Sand filters offer an economical and environmentally friendly way for one to treat harvested rainwater for showering purposes. Slow sand filtration, when properly installed and maintained, heavily reduce bacterial and protozoan contaminants for up to 10 decades, but it is not quite as effective at filtering viruses. This filter consists of sand and gravel layers in a concrete or plastic container. The filter develops a bioactive layer covered by a diffuser plate that raises the protection against disease-causing organisms. Sand filters are available for purchase or you may make them yourself.
More Treatment Choices
Insert a screen to your rain water collection system, such as to the inlet pipe, rain barrel or rain barrel to reduce contaminants. The CDC advises that in case you use a rain barrel, then dump it outside at least every 10 days to stop mosquito larvae from hatching. More innovative water treatment systems such as ultraviolet sterilization or ozonation systems add a significant cost to setting up and operating your rainwater system — because of their initial price and higher energy use — and aren’t required for water used for showering.