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  1.  
    Does it make enviromental sence to install plastic barrel to capture rainwater. Manufacturing, storing and transport of such barrel consume lots of fossil fuels while its use is very limited. Would it be better to redirect rainwater from roof directly into garden to soak it well.
    • CommentAuthorkrishna
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2008 edited
     
    Only thing is when it rains it's wet. If you don't collect rainwater you'll have nothing for the dry spells. I guess you could always try using an old barrel or some other large container waiting to be recycled.
  2.  
    both the water company and council are offering to sell and deliver plastic barrels to households. they would probably send vehicle to deliver one barrel at the time into street, causing pollution. that barrel also incurs cost on environment when manufactured and transported into local warehouse. to efficiently use captured rainwater there should be dry periods predeceasing rainy periods - to empty it before next rain. mild rains are better redirected instantly into soil where soil becomes storage area. the only good use of the barrel would be when weather conditions tend towards extremes and repeat in frequent dry / rainy pattern.
    • CommentAuthoricyloft
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2008
     
    Even wooden barrels come at an environmental cost to manufacture, and they are a lot heavier to transport, although making use of an old barrel might be a good idea. Also, you should consider how long the barrel is likely to last, as I guess a plastic barrel could outlive a wooden one when left open to the elements.
    •  
      CommentAuthorecoworrier
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2008 edited
     
    Have a look on the AECB forum,
    for a discussion about the life cycle analysis for rainwater harvesting.

    The short answer is no.:cool:
  3.  
    It certainly makes sense in the South East where water shortgages in the summer are now common place. Reducing consumption of mains water in the Thames area will soon be displacing the output from a desalinisation plant, so you would imagine there might be some considerable energy savings involved.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2008
     
    Making plastic barrels (things in general) is a far better use of fossil fuel than most other things it gets used for.
    • CommentAuthorkrishna
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2008 edited
     
    Posted By: ecoworrierHave a look on the AECB forum,
    for a discussion about the life cycle analysis for rainwater harvesting.

    The short answer is no.


    Yes, but that discussion is about rainwater harvesting systems for flushing toilets, etc that require a fair amount of infrastructure and energy to pump the rainwater. Collecting rainwater in a barrel and using it to water the garden most certainly does make sense.
  4.  
    Never mind rainwater capture, our problem is how to get rid of the stuff fast enough :(
    • CommentAuthoredwinvanek
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2008 edited
     
    I am re-using 220 and 1500 litre plactic barrels that have previously been used in the food and drink industry.
    • CommentAuthorkrishna
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2008
     
    Posted By: edwinvanekI am re-using 220 and 1500 litre plactic barrels that have previously been used in the food and drink industry.


    How did you get them?
  5.  
    I get the 220 litre tanks with screw lid that have been used for apple sauce from a local supplier near Ipswich (who refurbish wooden pallets and tanks) for around £12,50. The 1500 litre tanks (rotos) are used for transporting fruit juice and have more than doubled in price over the last year. Try www.dvfuels.co.uk, www.thetankexchange.com/raintanks.htm or www.smithsofthedean.co.uk/Recycled%20Containers.htm
  6.  
    Hi edwinvanek. Who is your local supplier near Ipswich please? We are drier than Beirut most years (Maldon sea salt sort of area).
    • CommentAuthorludite
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2008
     
    I hate it when councils charge you for water barrels (they should be free and made of recycled plastic). Like edwinvanek, all our water barrels are recycled. My dad used to get them from our local tip - before the council privatised it - we have ones that only had a small hole in the top - so he sawed the top off (then used it for a lid), and we have other ones which I am sure were used for food at some point. . . .they are all plastic and have been in use for over 10 years at least and are as good now as they were then.

    I would say, give your local tip a try first, then see if you have a freecycle network in your area (where people give and receive stuff for free) then try and think laterally. . . . . rainwater can be collected in anything water tight, could you make a pond, or use an old bath - with a strong cover. . . . I would certainly recommend a secure cover for ANY kind of water storage facility - it can be really upsetting if things drown in it.
    • CommentAuthorwellburn
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2008
     
    I have added a number if IBC 1000litre tanks.
    they are widly available, - only go for ones that have been used for veg oil, and expect to pay about £30 each with maybe £4 extra for delivery.
    they come on a metal pallet cage and can be linked together. Lift them a bit off the ground to give some clearance, we have ours set up for trickle irrigation, - which we run at night to minimise evaporation.
    Don't make the mistake of storing bathwater - you have to use it within a couple of days or it goes soo smelly and rank !
    P
  7.  
    Is there anything that can be done to stop the smell? I've seen some rain water butt deodoriser in amongst the chemicals at the garden centre for clearing algae out of ponds - could you / would you use that if you wanted to use the bath water for your vegetable patch?
    • CommentAuthorstephendv
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008
     
    You could use the water immediately (or within 24 hours) and deliver it directly to the plants via sub-soil pipes - just make sure that the water can't splash onto the fruit or veg, not very hygenic. Alternatively you could filter the water through grey water treatment systems such as reed beds/constructed wetlands.
    There are some publications available from CAT:
    http://www.cat.org.uk/catpubs/pubs_content.tmpl?subdir=catpubs&sku=PUBS_30&key=[sku]

    and a few books too on amazon.
  8.  
    Sorry - reed beds are out. We were interested in having a 'natural' swimming pond at one time but the Mairie were against it. Some kind of water borne insect pest (not mosquito - but I don't know the English) was the reason given + the image of all the neighbourhood wild boar partying in it of a night.
    There are other threads on this forum where keeping critters out of stored water appears to be a problem - with no apparent solution.
    • CommentAuthorstephendv
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008
     
    Posted By: mrswhitecatSorry - reed beds are out. We were interested in having a 'natural' swimming pond at one time but the Mairie were against it. Some kind of water borne insect pest (not mosquito - but I don't know the English) was the reason given + the image of all the neighbourhood wild boar partying in it of a night.
    There are other threads on this forum where keeping critters out of stored water appears to be a problem - with no apparent solution.

    I don't follow; the water never has to be exposed. A reed bed would only have water below the soil surface. And water can be stored in a sealed container once it exits the reed bed.
    • CommentAuthorludite
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     
    Not just critters - children too. We used to have little ponds in our garden, but as soon as my dad heard of a little boy who'd drowned in a puddle (about 3 cm deep) he filled them all in. Very disappointing. All our waterbutts are covered, but not as well as they should be. If they are covered and kept in the shade, the water keeps fresh and pure for years.
  9.  
    stephendv - I misunderstand how reed beds work then. The 'lagunage' system I saw was definitely soggy above ground and sort of an onion / donut design - dirtier on the outside, working to cleaner (no planting) in the middle. It had the advantage of having a 'beach' before the planted outer rings with toddler inhibiting vegetation / save hedgepigs from toppling in.

    (I agree with you ludite, it's exasperating a kid's unfailing capacity to locate a source of danger the moment you turn your back).
    • CommentAuthorludite
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     
    Not just danger. Had to pop to town, small boy has just peed into a floor vent in the bank. . . . . and yesterday scaled both sides of an 8foot fence specially designed to keep out kids!
  10.  
    Reuse, reduce, recycle. If the containers fall into any or all of these categories, then we can at least lessen the original environmental cost of production. Our council delivers in bulk, ie waits until there are enough barrels to fill a wagon before delivering to households. If yours doesn't at least do that, write to your councillor.
    The other side of the equation is the energy used to get piped and treated water from a reservoir to your house, not to mention sewage treatment. It makes no sense whatsoever to use that (precious) water for watering plants or flushing toilets, although I agree about the cost of putting in a big recovery system; something more appropriate for new builds.?
    Has anyone measured how much cold water is run off into the drains before the hot tap gets hot enough? Quite a lot and worth keeping a jug by the kitchen sink to capture that water for plants or to cool the water in the basin.
    A small thing, but it all adds up and at £4.00 (and rising) a cubic meter for water why waste it?
  11.  
    We are in a priority catchment, i.e. water resources are stuffed. For that reason alone, everyone in this area (West Berks) should capture rainwater for watering their gardens in summer and not use water from the tap. Check out the Catchment Abstraction Management Plan for your area to see how bad it is where you are (Environment Agency website). Our catchment is 'over' abstracted with no available water resources. So I really can't understand how needs of new housing are going to be met.

    Water is still far too cheap though and most people use it wastefully, e.g. washing their car every week, spraying the patio.
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