What Could Be in the Rainwater That Makes Me Sick?
Rain can wash numerous contaminants into your storage container. Imagine that it falls on bird droppings left on your roof, then mixes with squirrel feces in your gutters before reaching its final destination. Is that something you’d want to drink?
Rainwater can collect contaminants in the sky or while falling to the ground. Smoke and dust particles can be in the precipitation before reaching your property.
Even the roofing materials in your gutters and shingles contribute to potentially harmful exposure problems. Substances like copper, lead, or asbestos could be trapped in the water as it flows toward your storage container.
If you’ve had several days or weeks of dry weather, the risk of having contaminated rainwater rises. Testing what you’ve collected and maintaining your system to ensure you can be as safe as possible when accessing this supplemental water source.
How to Improve Rainwater Collection Techniques
Before using any collected rainwater, you’ll need to think about treating it to ensure it is safe to use. It also helps to include different structural assets that can deliver improvements while the precipitation runs through your system.
The three most popular ways to improve collected rainwater are filtering, chemical disinfection, and reverse osmosis. If these options are unavailable, you can still use boiling to kill potential germs in the supply.
Another way to improve your collection method is to use a first-flush diverter. This tool removes the first rainwater that comes into your collection system, which often removes many contaminants from the supply.
You might consider adding a screen to your inlet or emptying the container every ten days to prevent the rainwater from becoming an insect breeding site.
Prevent Illness with Collected Rainwater
The best way to lower your risk of getting sick is to use rainwater for watering your garden. Focus on plants you aren’t eating, such as your flower beds.
Avoid using untreated rainwater for washing dishes, brushing teeth, or showering. You can purchase bottled water or use a municipal supply for these purposes.
Anyone with a weakened immune system should be cautious when selecting a drinking water source. Chlorine and iodine treatments, combined with UV light and filtration, can remove most contaminants, but nothing is 100% certain.
Some building codes may require an inspection to guarantee that rainwater cannot enter plumbing systems containing safe drinking water. You’ll need to contact your local or state health department for the rules that apply to your property.