Collecting Rain Water

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Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:44 pm

Each year I work to utilize the massive slopes of my 36 by 30 garage for collecting rainwater to water my bonsai, vegetables and other plants. And, each year I end up with a tub of mosquito-infested slimy water. If I use Bacillus thuringensis isrielensis (Bti) to kill off the mosquitoes and an algicide to keep the water clear... will either of these products endanger my trees?

I tend to believe that an insecticide as biologically specific as Bti wouldn't effect beneficial insects and that an algicide should be sufficiently different from a herbicide that I should be safe. But, if anyone out there has learned a better way, or possibly that I am WRONG! Please let me know.

Thanks,

Jay

(please forgive me if my spelling is off, I do try!)

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  handy mick on Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:13 am

Hey Jay,
I live on tank water and use it to water my plants.
We have no problems at all.
What type of tank do you have? Is it clear or does it allow light in through the tank? If it does get rid of it.
You need a metal tank or a thick uv plastic tank made for the perpose.

Mick

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Hawaiian77 on Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:08 pm

Howzit Jay,

I was thinking about the same thing. In Hawaii we use catchment system in some parts of the island that are made out of metal and are covered.

A Hui Hou,
-Tim Cool

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:29 pm

Up until now I was using a white plastic drum that I had available. Most likely this was the problem with the slime.

What type of vent whould I use on a system to keep the mosquitos out and still alow for drainage if the system over flows?

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  JimLewis on Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:15 pm

BT is a bacteria -- and the version in you use is probably specific to kill mosquitos. Other strains kill caterpillars. (Actually, I suspect, that all kill both and it's just marketers trying to get you to buy another product.)

At any rate it is NOT a poison and will not do your trees any harm. I keep BT in the trays under my wisteria and bald cypress.

However, algae are plants and trees are plants. It stands to reason then that an algaecide will not do your trees any good. It probably won't kill them, and may do no noticeable damage, but . . .

Keep all light from your barrel of water, and you should not have much of an issue with algae. Or, if that is inmpossible, plop 3 or 4 goldfish in the barrel. They won't get5 rid of it, but will help control it. I keep goldfish in all my horse watering troughs. They're all fat and sassy (goldfish AND horses).

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:25 pm

I wonder if I can keep catfish in my water containers. A fat and sassy goldfish is a glorified carp. A fat and sassy catfish, is a meal!

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  JimLewis on Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:49 pm

It won't be a meal unless you have a very, very big catch barrel. To a large extent the size of the tank regulates the size of the fish. My watering troughs are 4x2x2 feet. The goldfish were 2 inches long when I put them in 5 years ago. They're about 8 inches long now. PLUS, goldfish (AKA carp) can live through being frozen in; a catfish wouldn't (but the water would be VERY good fertilizer when the tank thawed.

Besides, large numbers of the world's population eat carp.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:01 pm

JimLewis wrote:Besides, large numbers of the world's population eat carp.

Tried it, too greasy and boney. Personay, I think they spelled it wrong (a <-> r)

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  handy mick on Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:57 am

Jay, you need another barrel, light is not ment to pass through, that is why you have the slime, for the mosquitos, first i would change the tank as the light, slime/algue creates the right habitat for the mossies. The fish would work or you could use a oil to put a cover on top of the water surface, this will suffocate the larvae.
Personally i would use a proper water tank, it saves the hassles.
Have you got a photo of your set up, i maybe able to help with your current one at the least.

Mick

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:38 am

Sorry, no photos of the set up. I took it down last year while working to figure out a better set up.

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  handy mick on Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:03 am

How would you like us to help you Jay?

Mick

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  JimLewis on Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:27 pm

http://www.rainbarrelsource.com/rain-barrels/12440+12448.cfm?source=googleaw&kwid=rain%20barrel&tid=exact

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:00 pm

handy mick wrote:How would you like us to help you Jay?

Mick

The on-going suggestions are all that is needed. I will be using the recommendations, plus my Marine Corps scrounging capabilities to rebuild the system, hopefully, over the next few months.

We have a community auction comming up that provides lots of materials at cheap prices.

Thanks,

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:07 pm

Using the suggestion of including an oil layer at the top of the water to suffocate the mosquito larvae, I was wondering about two available options.

1. I have access to many 55-gallon steel drums. Most have been used to store recycle vegetable oil. Others held motor oil. Would used steel drums be appropriate? I would have to clean out the motor oil, but the veg oil wouln't be toxic.

2. I also have access to 275 gallon white plastic totes that were used to contain vitamin E. These could be used; however, I would have to either box them in to prevent light from getting in, or cover them with some type of black cloth or plastic.

I also have plans to allow for the addition of containers. If I can find my conceptual drawings I will post them.

Thanks,

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:33 pm

The primary design is one I found in a poster in one of the Illinois EPA conference rooms (where I work.) An attempt was made to locate additional printed versions of this poster, printed, I believe, by the US EPA, for release to the public; however, I was informed that they no longer printed this poster. (Credits are included in the jpg.) However, the drawing and modifications are of my own construct as an attempt to reconstruct the plan for my own use.

Modifications to their design include the use of the downspout diverters, over-flow diverters and the upside-down "J" valve to allow for pressure/vaccuum release. The open end of the J-valve should be covered with mesh to prevent critter infiltration.

The plan would allow for the use of one container, or many containers, depending on water supply and demand. The type, size and number of containers is entirely up to the users' discretion.

In addition, the addition of a small electrical pump could be added to allow for watering, however, if the water system could be constructed higher than the level of the plants to be watered, it would be unnecessary.

The top of the site glass and the j-valves are located at a level above the over flow valve. While it is possible to receive sufficient heavy rainfall to cause overflow from the site glass and j-valves, it would be the exception to the rule and not the norm.



(While one might consider the above drawing to indicate I have thought out water collection fairly thoroughly, I had not previously covered the squeeter and algae issues sufficiently to prevent them... Who'da thunk?)

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:39 pm

OOPS!

Just noticed an error in the jpeg. The farthest right drum was cut off; obviously, a drum with no side would kind of cause the syatem to fail! Shocked

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:47 pm

This one type of container I have easy access to use. However, it would have to be painted, covered or enclosed to keep dark. They are 275 US gallon containers.



Try sticking 4 or 5 of them into the previous diagram!

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  handy mick on Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:45 am

looks good Jay, a lot of work though, the only problem would be the alge in which you would have to cover with a decent material, which brings me to the next question, why not just buy a proper water tank?

Mick

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:35 am

handy mick wrote:looks good Jay, a lot of work though, the only problem would be the alge in which you would have to cover with a decent material, which brings me to the next question, why not just buy a proper water tank?

Mick

All of the "proper "water tanks are either too small and expensive, large enough and very expensive, or too large to fit in he space I have for it and super expensive.

The system in the picture can be made of one container, as big or small as you choose, or many. It is expandable and can be made relatively cheaply buy obtaining recycled materials. I would rather spend my hard earned cash on more important items (sometimes including trees) instead of hundred dollar barrels or bigger containers costing 200 dollars or much more.

If I use the system as designed, and I use 55-gallon drums, I have room to run two 500 to 1000 gallon systems, one along both sides of my garage, without violating the property lines. If I use something as large as the 275 gallon tanks I can collect 1000 to 1500 gallons along one side and be really close to hitting the line. Or, I could set up singles at each down spout.

Besides, it is a conceptualization of the possibilities of collecting rainwater. All I need it for is watering my trees and a few vegetable plants. Some might have greater needs for collecting water.

Another reason for keeping is on the cheap... water here is not expensive and is readily available, so, spending great amounts on rain collection tanks isn't cost effective. However, getting a cheap 275 gallon tank and scrounging used lumber to enclose it or to buy some cheap black paint to cover it makes more sense to me.

Sorry for rambling!

Jay

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  handy mick on Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:21 pm

Jay
Over here not much rain in the year and a lot of tanks, big competition.
Now it is a requirement when doing renovations and building you are to add a tank, we have had huge droughts where whole towns had run out of water. Quite diferent on the other side of the world.
Mick

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  Jay Gaydosh on Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:20 pm

Thanks Mick!

In hind sight, when I decided to rip up my 400 square feet of raised garden beds and planted a 30 x 36 foot garage, I should have first planted a 3 to 5 thousand gallon, cistern for colecting rainwater. During the winter, spring and fall months here there must be tens of thousand of gallons that run off that roof and into our city storm sewers. Now I have to deal with placing newer structures and equipment on the ever decreasing space in my yard.

forbey

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

Post  lordy on Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:52 pm

I use a white 55 gal food-grade barrel I found on craigslist for $30. I drilled a hole at the bottom and put in a threaded PVC 1/4 turn spigot with hose thread on the end, for the business of watering stuff. On the top where the bungs are, I removed one and covered it with window screen. Through that screen is where the downspout deposits it's bounty. No mosquitoes in 3 years that I know of. I can open the 2nd bung to see inside. For an overflow, I drilled a 2nd hole in the side, almost to the top, and fitted a brass barb and connected a short length of garden hose to it which suffices for an overflow. The algae was a bit of a surprise to the unknowing rookie. During winter I dont collect water. I take the barrel down and lay it flat so as not to collect. I use my pressure washer to de-crud the barrel inside and out. Not until reading this thread did I think of covering the barrel with a black plastic trashbag with holes in it. For the tote, which I also considered, you could employ weed-barrier which is black and comes in rolls from the garden center. Just a thought, but beware of the hot water it will generate if in the sunlight. Good luck. Oh, and regarding capacity, I only have one, and it is usually sufficient to water all my 3 dozen or so trees as well as a small veggie garden and flowers around the yard.

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Re: Collecting Rain Water

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