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Old 08-16-2016, 01:38 AM   #1
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Rainwater collection system


Hello all,

Looking for some advice for a rainwater collection system for my property. This all started about a year ago when I noticed the house we moved into was holding water in the crawl space. So, I decided to put in some french drains around the property. Now I am in the process of finishing up pipes for downspouts and changing out the gutters. Tomorrow I am picking up my holding tank which I want to use to store water of course, but also to water my lawn.

I will have a catch basin at the east most point of my property or the property next to mine (which I own and is vacant). Which will catch all the rain runoff from the impervious areas, as well as, as much of the ground water as possible. From there I will pump it to the holding tank, which is 1500 gallons. But from here I am stalling out on the rest of the process.

I want to bury the holding tank, which is about 6ft. tall and 8.5 ft. in diameter. I know there needs to be a pump to bring my water back to me to use to water the landscaping and grass, but not sure how big or how many gpms. Also, does the water need to filtered? Hopefully next summer I will finish this project off by adding my automatic sprinkler system which then the tank would be the main supply of water until it ran out of water of course. Then the system would kick over to the city to use their water until tank was full again.

So the info that I am struggling with is once I pump to the holding tank whats the process after that? Also is there a way to create more water storage space without breaking the bank and buying some huge holding tank?

I have added an attachment of the overview of the system. Excuse the elementariness of the sketch, but hopefully my ideas are conveyed through the sketch. Blue and yellow arrows are water flow (ground water). There is some un-needed info in the sketch that pertains to the sprinkler system, so disregard that info. Where you see a french drain, generally there will be a gutter drain in the same trench, except for the northwestern most french drain. I have a lot of water coming from the west of me that I am thinking of diverting around the north side of the property with a swail and then directing it towards the holding tank or the catch basin.

Yes lots of info going on here. I invite any comments or suggestions. This is my first attempt at rainwater collection so please if you got any advice, I would love to hear. If you have questions about the sketch, let me know and I will try to explain my brain. Thanks for any and all help.

Jack
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Rainwater collection system-map-property.jpg  
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:43 AM   #2
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Re: Rainwater collection system


1500 Gallons is a pretty good size.

A few questions...

How many days do you typically go without rain where you would need to use water?

Why do you need to pump from the run off area? If the holding tank is at the lowest point, let gravity do the work.

Can you post a larger picture? If you use a photo hosting site like PhotoBucket, then we can see a much larger version.

Can you post some actual pictures of the property?


Now, some observations from my vantage....
I'd be concerned about dirt getting into your holding tank from the run off area. A filter is a really good idea.

Make sure no Mesquito larva can get into the water.

This setup is begging for a soloar powered DC pump. With a little forethought, you could make it totally independant of the house. I'd go for a pump that inserts down from the top opening....so you can service it.

Have you considered another tank at the house sitting up high? Pump to that tank and then let gravity feed the irrigation. So, instead of sprinklers, soaker lines?

If you get rain often enough, then that holding tank should be large enough....you draw from it when no rain...then let it fill up during rain.

Keep us posted....this sounds like a fun project.


Side note....I'm adding rain barrals to my house and working on a low effort way to let them water the shrubs.
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Old 08-16-2016, 08:05 AM   #3
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Re: Rainwater collection system


Rain storage is a great idea. I have worked on a few projects with water storage, here are a few thoughts.

1. Make sure your cistern water supply is totally isolated from your potable water supply. This can be done using isolation valves.
2. Build your French drains using filter fabric around the perforated pipes to keep out soil, or the soil will migrate into your holding tank. Also a good idea to have a filter on the inlet to your holding tank to remove particles prior to entering the tank.
3. The idea previously noted about having an elevated second small tank to feed your irrigation is very good, this avoids complicated pumps, valves and control system for the irrigation, you just pump up to the tank and have a known pressure feeding the irrigation system. Works well for a vegetable garden drip irrigation system as well.
4. Lots of people use concrete septic tanks for rainwater storage, sometimes you can get a defective one for low cost, if it leaks a little it might not matter to you for this application. Alternatively you may be able to get a used steel tank, but be careful about what was in it before, could have toxic chemical residuals. New steel or fiberglass tanks rated for underground storage are typically expensive.
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Rainwater collection system


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
.......
4. Lots of people use concrete septic tanks for rainwater storage, sometimes you can get a defective one for low cost, if it leaks a little it might not matter to you for this application. Alternatively you may be able to get a used steel tank, but be careful about what was in it before, could have toxic chemical residuals. New steel or fiberglass tanks rated for underground storage are typically expensive.
I really like that idea......funny, I've seen it used lots of times for other reasons and never thought of it.

Besides the pre-fab type, I've also seen them made using cinder block. Note, those cinder blocks were installed using rebar and filled with concrete.

A 'new' septic tank might work for you application. Just plug up the leach field side holes.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:17 PM   #5
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Re: Rainwater collection system


Thanks everybody so far for your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. Ok I will try and get some decent response to what you have posted thus far. Pictures of the property, I will work on those, and post either later tonight or tomorrow sometime.

This link will lead to a bigger picture of the map of the property. I just posted it on a website that I am building slowly.
http://i0.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...f-property.jpg

The holding tank was originally going to be placed up towards the northwest part of the property, hence the pump. But now, I thought placing it on the adjacent property would be better. But to some degree, it is still slightly uphill to the tank from where I planned to put my catch basin and pump. Hopefully in the pictures that I post later of the property, the lay of the land can be seen. Regardless, I still have a pump that I purchased last year that is begging to do its job somewhere, somehow.

Amount of rain: I live in north little rock, Arkansas and we average about 50 inches a year.
The break down looks like this: Fall 13.50, winter 12.09, spring 14.52, summer 9.92.

Typical days without rain when water is needed: 7-10 days I would say. This is not something I have ever tracked but can remember going 14+ days without rain in the past. This summer has been an exceptionally wet summer in comparison to recent memories.

Filter: yes of course. I would think filter from points that lead into the conveying system (i.e. gutters, catch basins for french drain, and possible filters at the point where the downspout meets the pipes to go underground. Also a filter somewhere before it gets to the actual holding tank.).

No mosquito larva: not sure other than it getting in from one of the entry points to the conveyance system, there should not be any other entry point. I wouldn't guess there would be anyway through the holding tank (side note: was not able to get the holding tank today, too much rain and too much rain this past week to get to it. Its a used tank that I found for a decent price of $350).

Solar powered dc pump???? Please elaborate on this. I will have to do some research on this.

Another tank at the house and pump to it. Nice idea now that you mention it. I have a perfect spot for it, and could set it up on some type of pedestal (or what have you), and then run it through my crawl space to the front yard to drip irrigate the eventual flower bed, or keep it in the backyard to the eventual small raised bed garden that we have plans for. Thanks for that idea. This also gives me more storage during the "rainy season"......

Make sure its separate from potable water: this shouldn't be a problem since I use the city water to drink. I don't think I would want to take on the aspect of making sure my H2O was safe enough to drink. Not sure my brain would want to process the intricacies of the process.


Ok, I think that about gets it for questions and comments, other than the part about the old septic tanks. Not to sure I want to indulge in someone else's poop, nor trust the previous owner to the fact that it was actually clean. If you know of a reputable company that handles these kinds of things, please indulge me.

Now for a couple of questions I have...

I am questioning using my old gutters after reading up on some of the info on the web. Most of the info that I have read has said to use half round gutters, what are your thoughts???? And type of material, does it matter?? As in vinyl, metal, aluminum,.....

Another thing I have read is that you should let the first part of the rain shower down the drain, per se, then collect the rest. There is a name for that part of the system, but I forgot what it is called. What are your thoughts of getting rid of the first few inches or minutes of the rainfall?????

Also, some type of leaf guard for the gutters, do you have a suggestion??

Next I have an area of yard that is bare, not grass and can see the footings of my foundation. My plan was to just lay down the pipe (both french drain, and gutter drain) then cover in rock. Then figure out a way to keep it all in place. As in like cross ties or edging. Does this sound viable??? I have used the fabric along the whole course of the french drain.

Ok, that is it for now. I will see what I can do about some photos and elevations. I think it should be noted, on a big picture while my mind is somewhat small minded, I would like to eventually use this system, plus whatever else needs to be added to it to use the water to irrigate a third property. The third property lies east of the proposed holding tank site. My father lives in the house on that property, and when the eventual day comes that he passes, my family and I will tear down and then build and live on that property while renting out the current home we are living in now. With that said, if you have suggestions on how to make sure I keep this project open to more development, please do share your suggestions. I assume it should be fairly easy to expand because I am only limited to how much storage I want to add. Thats why I ask about any other ways to store water other than holding tanks. Like as in, somehow a well or something to that nature.... Ok on to some pics. Thanks everybody.

Jack
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Old 08-17-2016, 12:48 AM   #6
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Re: Rainwater collection system


Ok, here are some pics that I came up with from my saved photos as well as using google maps, and gis map. The gis map is of the elevation of the 3 properties. I have no idea of how to read it, I just figured it would be good to throw in. See under each link for the description of the picture on that page.


http://i0.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...w-of-all-3.jpg
-photo that was taken from a video of the backyard of all 3 properties. Shows the lay of the land.


http://i0.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...m-driveway.jpg
-driveway view that looks west from my property.

http://i2.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...s-property.png
-view west from the eastern most property (my dads house).

http://i1.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...vation-map.png
-That talked about elevation map

http://i1.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...f-property.png
-view from eastern most part of my property, looking west

http://i1.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...f-property.jpg
-western part of property where this whole project began, the first part of french drain

http://i0.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...ramic-view.jpg
-panoramic view of all 3 properties from the eastern part of my property

http://i2.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...oss-street.jpg
-view from across the street

http://i2.wp.com/inklingdesignteam.c...driveway-2.jpg
-view westward from my driveway after sod was installed.

Thats all I got for now. Its dark out and can't get any good photos now. Take a look and if you want to see something specific let me know and tomorrow I will get some photos when its light out. Thanks.
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Old 08-17-2016, 07:55 AM   #7
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Re: Rainwater collection system


I was not recommending a septic tank that had previously been used as a septic tank. I was suggesting going to a septic tank manufacturer to purchase a new tank, maybe one that was slightly defective (small crack or similar) and could not be used as a septic tank, but would be suitable for water storage. Else you may need to pay a premium for a 1500 gallon tank suitable for underground service.

One other detail is to make sure you have an overflow on the tank that allows excess water to drain off safely.
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Old 08-20-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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Re: Rainwater collection system


Made it home with the 1500 gallon poly tank. It was an experience in of itself. Now its time to figure out the rest of the details. Waiting on the "call before you dig" people to come out and mark the properties. Then its off to work. Would love to know why they say not to bury poly tanks? Are there any stipulations that could change that? Like adding sand instead of dirt to cover the tank, or not burying it completely or anything of that nature?

Last edited by jackislost; 08-20-2016 at 09:35 PM. Reason: added the word "gallon"
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