Can You Drink Rainwater? Safely Store Rainwater as a Potable Drinking Water Source

 

 

As rainwater comes down on the insulated metal roof, the only question is how much will be collected. The Pioneer Water Tank already has almost 25,000-gallons of clean rainwater safely stored away, but today’s gain is still great to have on hand. This is a reality for many Americans already living off of rainwater harvesting and utilizing it as a drinking water source.

 

Rainwater is a clean, sustainable water source that typically has an Alkaline pH with a lower mineral content than municipal water. Water quality standards are set by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and also whether or not rainwater may be utilized as a drinking water source.

Although rainwater harvesting is legal in every single state and territory in the United States, there are seven states with restrictions on use and capacity of storage. Colorado restricts resident’s collection to 110-gallons of rainwater capacity and limits the use (Colorado House Bill 1016 (2015)).

 

The State of Texas has one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation on rainwater harvesting, including utilizing rainwater as a drinking water source (Texas House Bill 3391 (2011)). This legislation sets the water quality standards, as decided by the TCEQ Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems.

 

The CDC allows for drinking rainwater, as long as the system complies with local regulations and potable drinking water standards for quality.
If you collect and store rainwater for drinking, you have a private, or individual, water system and are responsible for ensuring that your water is safe. You should have your water and your system tested regularly and maintain the system properly 4-5. When rainwater is used as a supplemental water source, homeowners should ensure that rainwater cannot enter pipes containing safe drinking water 4, 6. Contact your state or local health department for more information.” (CDC website on rainwater)

 

Rainwater is as clean as the collection space, conveyance system, and storage. The standards of quality of rainwater that must be placed to be used as a drinking water source are set by the authority having jurisdiction for the property.

 

Rainwater filtration is based on the system design, materials used, and local requirements. Rainwater can be filtered and treated with micron physical filters, UV systems, and or disinfected with Chlorine or other agents. Systems may utilize several filtration techniques and disinfection to treat rainwater.

  • Physical filtration starts at preventing contamination from getting into storage, typically with screen filters on the downspouts and or at the riser pipe. Removing the rest of particle contaminants can be done with particle filters where the effectiveness is measured by the size of microns filtered.

  • UV purification prevents bacteria from spreading disease in water, such as Giardia. The water is exposed to UV radiation at the 254-nm wavelength that disrupts the DNA in pathogenic microorganisms, disabling their ability to reproduce.

  • Chlorine and other chemical-based disinfection are used by public water systems to treat the large quantities of water required for distribution. Smaller rainwater systems may not need this kind of filtration but in cases where Chlorine is used, an activated carbon filter can remove some of the taste. Water needs to be constantly monitored with any chemical disinfection for quality control.

 

Rainwater systems utilized for drinking water are required to be designed and installed by an accredited professional who has local permits in place. We operate with a network of locally accredited businesses that provide rainwater harvesting systems (learn more).


Rainwater harvesting supplies drinking and domestic water for many homes in Hawai’i. Pacific Blue Catchment designed and installed this system that stores rainwater in an XLR 08/02 Pioneer Water Tank with a capacity of 9,907-gallons. https://pacificbluecatchment.com/

Pacific Blue Catchment rainwater system with a Pioneer Water Tank
Pacific Blue Catchment rainwater system with a Pioneer Water Tank

Rainwater Equipment supplied this 65,000-Gallon capacity Pioneer Water Tank for a homeowner in Valley Mills, Texas. Rainwater is captured off of multiple structures on the property. Rainwater is the family’s sole source of water for drinking and all other uses. Rainwater Equipment supplied the pump and UV filtration system for making the rainwater potable. RainwaterEquipment.com

Rainwater Equipment provided a 65,000 gallon Pioneer Water Tank for rainwater storage
Rainwater Equipment provided a 65,000-gallon Pioneer Water Tank for rainwater storage

 


 

Pioneer Water Tanks store rainwater within the exclusive AQUALINER® Fresh tank liner, protected in the Zincalume® Steel tank body. The AQUALINER® Fresh tank liner is BPA-free and NSF-61 certified for drinking water storage.

 

“NSF International has developed a test protocol that provides independent verification of the safety of the materials used in the production of rainwater harvesting systems. This protocol evaluates materials used in rainwater catchment systems, such as roofing materials, coatings, paints, liners, and gutters.” https://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/in-home-use/

 

The AQUALINER® Fresh tank liner is also embedded with Sanitized® antimicrobial technology. The embedded antimicrobial technology works to protect against the build-up of mold, algae, mildew, and biofilm. Learn More

 

A 1,000-square foot building roof can easily collect 600-gallons for every one-inch of rainfall, making it a renewable water source. Rainwater harvesting provides clean water that can be used for drinking when filtered and or disinfected to potable drinking water standards. Pioneer Water Tanks are ready to safely store rainwater, as well as other water sources, as a top-tier storage solution!

 

Our exclusive North American dealer and project management network facilitate sales, service, and, installations. We offer a full range of accessories and fittings so that your tank meets your needs and performs to the highest standards.

 


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Sources

 

AgriLife Extension Service Rainwater Collection

https://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/in-home-use/

 

CDC Rainwater Collection

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/rainwater-collection.html

 

Colorado House Bill 1016 (2015)

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2016a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont2/E38A8DB3F0B7739887257F240063F8A2/$FILE/1005_01.pdf

 

TCEQ Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems

https://www.tceq.texas.gov/drinkingwater/pdw_rules.html

 

Texas House Bill 3391 (2011)

https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB03391F.htm