Sustainability/Rain barrel

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HK Sheung Wan Lok Ku Road rain red 木桶 Wooden barrel green leaf June-2012.JPG

This demonstrates how to make a rain-barrel for plant irrigation, or other customized use. Components of instruction will be separated so a rain-barrel can be made to the builder's preference. Hopefully, rainwater harvesting can come in handy for a rainy day or drought. The assembler and user are responsible for avoiding water use complications.

Common materials[edit]

All materials should be non-cancerous/nonhazardous

  • food-grade barrel or new plastic garbage can
  • 1/2 male brass valve with 3/4 hose outlet
  • 1/2 pvc threaded coupling
  • 1/2 o-rings (make connections watertight)
  • 1/2 in hole-saw (can be used on a hand socket wrench, if hole saw has guiding drill)

Threaded fittings with o-rings eliminate the need for pipe cement. If the desired threaded fitting is not available in pvc form, galvanized or brass fittings will connect to pvc fittings. Any metallic connector should be non-lead.

Irrigation connection[edit]

Use a 1/2in hole saw to cut a hole on the bottom side of the rain-barrel. Put an o-ring on the valve, insert it in the hole. Put on the other o-ring from inside the plastic can, then thread on the female 1/2in pvc coupling.

A check-valve, or precaution to keep the hose off of the ground might be desired, to keep unsanitary conditions from backing up into the water-barrel.

Inflow[edit]

Use the lid or top of the cylindrical container for the inflow from the gutters. A screen may be necessary to keep bugs out.

Overflow[edit]

Use the hole saw to cut a 1/2in hole on the side near the top of the plastic can out of the way of the lid. Put an o-ring on the male threaded coupling, then insert it through the inside of the hole, from the inside. Put an o-ring on the coupling from the outside of the lid. Pit a 1/2in (faucet type) strainer inside the 1/2 elbow. Thread the 1/2 elbow on the coupling, facing it down when done.

Additional water-barrels[edit]

Near the bottom side of both rain-barrels, drill a 1/2in hole. The water-level of the connected rain-barrels will remain in equilibrium. If the connection is made too high, the water from one barrel will not be able to empty into the other. For each rain-barrel use threaded couplings, with an o-ring on each side of the water-barrel walls. Flexible pvc tubing with appropriate connectors between containers is ideal.

Each additional rain-barrel can be made with only one hole drilled in it, because the multiple connections can be made externally with Tee or Cross fittings. This simplifies closing off the drain connection by fitting on a threaded plug, if this secondary barrel is wanted for another purpose. Two connection points per secondary barrel can be made optionally.

Lid[edit]

Use the lid, not the can, for inflow to the water-barrel from gutters or other collection surface.

Foundation[edit]

Rain-barrels can be upright partially below ground, or it can be on cement blocks. Sand can be used for the foundation.

Drinking water (special circumstances)[edit]

Drinking water

A rain-barrel is useful in developing nations or regions where clean water may not be available. Rain water is relatively pure, still precautions need to be taken for sanitation and health safety. Mosquito larva and other organisms need to be kept out. Bacteria, protists or other microbes can develop inside the rain-barrel, so proper heat sanitation treatment in a cooking container may be necessary before consumption.

Be mindful of: air pollution, potential acid rain, proper disinfection, maintenance, extended drought conditions including desertification, lack of minerals in water, rain collection surface and other variables. Reminder: the project assembler and users of the rain-barrel are responsible for drinking water health safety and avoiding shortages.

Other connections[edit]

timed sprinkler; toilet tank water; heat exchanger; not recommended for drinking water except in certain circumstances and precautions.

See also[edit]


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