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Rain Barrels

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by mac66, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Was over at my brother's house a month ago and saw that he had some rain barrels set up. I had a couple of extra 55 gallon plastic food grade drums laying around so I thought I would give it a try (attached to downspouts to catch runoff). This got me looking around the internet and youtube. There are some amazing systems that people have built to capture rain.

    Finally put them together a couple weeks ago and watched them sit empty. Lots of hot weather and no rain. This morning I was awakened by thunder. Got up and ran out to check the barrels. Yup, raining like crazy. Both were filled in 10 minutes and overflowed after that. I have five downspouts on my house and only two attached to barrels. It rained hard for about 45 minutes and I am sure I could have filled them up many times over.

    That of course got me to thinking about not only adding some more barrels but thinking about what you can use the water for during an emergency. Certainly you could wash with it. I suppose if you ran the water through an inline filter you could even drink it. Rain water is probably a lot cleaner than other natural sources.

    So does anyone else have a system set up?
  2. Yes.

    Just like any other water not from the tap, we put it through the Berkey. Rain water isn't clean.. ever heard of acid rain? and what do you think the roof of your house is like/made of/covered in...?

    We are thinking about adding a large cistern to our home/property. 1500-2000 gallons. Will fill it from the downspouts on that end of the house.

  3. Babynine


    Dec 8, 2009
    My single 55gal barrel had been empty for the last six weeks, until it finally rained last night filling my barrel. With temps in the 90's forecasted all week, that 55 gallons will last me about 3-4 days of watering my small patio garden before it is empty again.

    If I had a normal sized garden, I would want several of the 275 gallon cube shaped barrels for rain water storage. 55 gallons won't keep a tiny 4x8 raised bed watered for a week in 90 degree temps.

    Just sharing some thoughts as I try to keep my heirloom tomatoes thriving during this record heat and drought. The more water stored the better :)
  4. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Yes I am aware that rain water isn't necessarily and that it washes all the crap on your roof down into the barrels. Point is that rain barrels are mostly used to water gardens and such and conserve city water.

    The intent of my question was more along the lines of who might be using it for other purposes. It seems like it would be pretty easy to set up a series of barrels to capture a lot of water. Seems pretty easy to set up an inline filtration system to make it drinkable if need be.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  5. Woofie

    Woofie Disirregardless CLM

    Apr 10, 2007
    I have been told before that rain captured from an asphalt shingle roof is not safe for watering your veggies, and is not safe for drinking unless it is distilled.

    Anyone know if that is credible?
  6. Steff1


    May 13, 2008
    Where can you get the blue barrels cheap? They can't all cost $50 from the internet.
  7. my local rural king sells them for $12 if they ever have them in stock. i plan on using the 275g totes though. i already keep one full of tap water in the garage as an emergency drinking water stash.
    would like to keep at least 1 more in the garage and then half a dozen more as rain barrels eventually. they run about $75 each locally.
  8. TangoFoxtrot

    TangoFoxtrot OIF 04-05

    Sep 10, 2008
    Nowhereville, USA
    Agreed! I understand what your doing.
  9. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    My daughter works with birds at a zoo. She has been told not to drink rain water from a roof because of things it picks up from bird droppings but it is fine for watering.

    It was done in earlier generations but they were also sick a lot.

    In an emergency it could be boiled and used for things like clothes and equipment washing.

    Don't have any info on asphalt shingles.
  10. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    I got my food grade barrels back in the 1990s from a friend who worked at a soft drink bottling plant. They still smell like 7-Up. :supergrin:

    Look on craigslist. I see barrels listed in my area for anywhere from $7-25 each. Some are food grade, some are not. Some are white, some blue, some are other colors.

    BTW, from everything I've read, they ("they" being rain barrel gurus) recommend food grade barrels because they don't want chemicals (from chemical grade barrels) leeching into the water to be put on plants. That tends to make me believe that the asphalt shingle thing isn't a problem.

    I would also guess that watering flowers is probably ok for chemical grade barrels but watering veggies is not.

    Oh, and it is raining again today and my rain barrels continue to be full. i have to get on the ball and add some more.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  11. Be aware that the collection of rain water in some states is against the law so don't make anything too obvious or you may get a visit from your local water monitor. I'll have to find the info for which states do not allow rain water collection.

    Colorado is one state that restricts rain water harvesting.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  12. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Isn't it strange that some states restrict it and some states encourage it?

    In many places it is considered a "green" thing because is reduces the amount of water washing debris/contaminants into the storm drains. Not sure what the rationale is for restricting it
  13. Woofie

    Woofie Disirregardless CLM

    Apr 10, 2007
    They pretend it replenishes the water table rather than eventually making it's way down the Mississippi.
  14. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    You can use it to flush toilets too. Just take the lid off and pour it in the tank and flush away, or just dump it right in the bowl, and by by brown trout.
  15. Deputydave

    Deputydave Millennium Member

    Feb 20, 1999
    While on my vacation this month I put in five 55gal rain barrels in the backyard. We get a really good amount of rain and all five were filled to over-flowing after maybe 30 minutes of hard rain.

    Glad to have them.