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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2015
    Re toilet flushing with rainwater, in another thread DJH wrote:


    Talk to your plumber first about the documenting and testing requirements. I installed a large rainwater tank and was going to plumb it to the toilets but after my plumber explained the extra bureaucracy involved if I did so, I gave up that idea. So the water is just used in the garden now.

    Later in the same thread Wookey asked what that's about.

    My experience for getting a building warrant in Scotland for a completely off-grid rainwater system (no mains water) wasn't too much trouble. The BCO wanted a diagram of the system and I had a bit of an email exchange with the EH lady (who was helpful and interested). The BCO then wanted a note on the diagram that the installation would comply with some standard (I'll look up the reference if anybody's interested). He couldn't let me have a copy but did let me read it at their offices - the only thing which wasn't obvious common sense was the requirement to put particular format labels on all the pipes in all the voids they run through - I can live with that.

    Things might be different in England. Things might also be different in a building which mixes mains water and harvested rainwater. Still, I suspect DJH's plumber is making a bit of a meal of the situation. Anybody know better?
    I'm installing a rainwater tank which will feed the toilets and washing machine in England. Neither building control nor the company selling us the kit have raised any concerns. I believe my Plumber needs to use a different coloured pipe so the rainwater is easily distinguishable.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2015
    What are the rainwater requirements in Camelford, one asks ?


    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015
    Posted By: gyrogearWhat are the rainwater requirements in Camelford, one asks ?
    They have a lot of rainwater.
    I knew someone that was affected by that incident, she was waiting compensation, no idea if she ever got any.

    I once filled up an aquarium with fresh rainwater, nothing lasted long in it No idea why. Went back to tap water and the fish lasted years.
    Dick Strawbridge said that rainwater was considered as "sewage" or contaminated. Because say it came from a roof then everything from bird C**P to any kinds of particulates and bacteria may be present. Does not bother me for watering or flushing but it is pot luck whats in it.

    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015 edited
    I read somewhere that in Norway, rainwater contains (or contained...) sulphuric acid from British coal-fired power stations.
    It tends in particular not to be too conducive to growing spruce and fir...

    Posted By: HalcyonRichardit is pot luck whats in it.

    I like that, in the context of flushing WC's...

    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015
    Posted By: HalcyonRichard: “Dick Strawbridge said that rainwater was considered as "sewage" or contaminated.”

    Yes, I think that's right but it's a very broad category:


    Category 5 is pretty much anything which isn't controlled to have a known limited amount of trouble floating in it.
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015
    Posted By: gyrogearI read somewhere that in Norway, rainwater contains (or contained...) sulphuric acid from British coal-fired power stations.
    some truth in that, I think from memory, that they had recovered by 2005, 20 years after we cut the emission levels.
    There were other factors too (temperature, local weather, deforestation, local industry, mining). As always, these things are never clear cut.
    • CommentAuthormarktime
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015 edited
    Steamy you probably encountered the same problem as Sidney Ringer. His was due to a careless but honest lab assistant:

    ‘After the publication of a paper … (Ringer, 1882a) … I discovered, that the saline solution which I had used had not been prepared with distilled water, but with pipe water supplied by the New River Water Company. As this water contains minute traces of various inorganic substances, I at once tested the action of saline solution made with distilled water and I found I did not get the effects described in the paper referred to. It is obvious therefore that the effects I had obtained are due to some of the inorganic constituents of the pipe water.’

    Voila, Ringers Solution.
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015
    That's 'acid rain', which was fixed by fitting flue-gas desulphurisation to all large coal generation plant. Technically sulphur from the power stations, which makes the rain (slightly) acidic (not suphuric acid directly from power stations). Enough to be bad for trees (and presumably soils?). Not sure if it made any real difference for domestic rainwater usage. Not good for your brassicas, I guess.
    • CommentAuthorTriassic
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015 edited
    May be this is what you need... Marking & Identification of Pipework for Water Reuse

    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015 edited
    Yes, that was one of the documents my BCO wanted me to follow. The other WRAS one was:

    WRAS documents 9-02-04: Information About Installing, Modifying and Maintaining Reclaimed Water Systems


    There was also CIRIA C539 which is a bit more copyrighted and also a bit more specific about pipework but not in any way that seemed like something you (well, I) wouldn't do anyway as far as I recall.

    Would that sort of thing be likely to be obtainable, at least for reference, in a public library?
    • CommentAuthorRex
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015

    I am in SE England and had no problems installing a rainwater tank in the loft with the water pumped from the ground installed 6000 liter tank.

    I also put a mains feed into the same loft tank for those occasions when we run out of rainwater (and we have a few times during the summer months). The toilets are gravity fed from the loft tank.

    The only requirement from the BCO was to fit a one-way valve on the loft tank incoming mains, so the rain water cannot fed back and contaminate the system.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2015
    Posted By: RexThe only requirement from the BCO was to fit a one-way valve on the loft tank incoming mains, so the rain water cannot fed back and contaminate the system.
    Probably actually should have a double check valve according to water regulations. Or a suitable, quite large, air gap. And marking on the pipes. But, yes, I don't think there's a great deal to it - just needs a plumber who can read the rules. DJH has been fed FUD.
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2015
    Check valves are not allowed; it has to be an air gap:

    "8.5 Where mains potable water is used for back-up
    supplies to rainwater, greywater or reclaimed water
    storage cisterns, an air gap suitable for protection
    against a Class 5 risk (see Water Supply [Water
    Fittings] Regulations 1999, Water Byelaws in
    Scotland or Regulations in Northern Ireland) must be
    provided for backflow prevention. An overflow to a
    suitable drain must be incorporated into these
    cisterns. In addition a warning pipe or other device
    should be fitted to warn if the system malfunctions."

    Not that that was a problem, it was what I was planning.

    I think it was this bit that caused concern:

    "Water suppliers must be notified in advance and grant consent for the installation of reused water
    February 2015 systems in all new developments supplied with, or intended to be supplied with, mains water."

    Apart from the delay that would be caused by the granting of consent there was something about having to retest everything before being allowed to turn the water on. Our build sequence was a little strange because the permanent supply was already connected before we started building the house. There may have been something to do with his certifier as well; I don't remember.

    Hence my simple suggestion to check with your plumber first. Nothing more.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2015
    You only have to notify

    They have to respond in 10 days - at the end of 10 days, unless they object then it's deemed to comply with Regulation 5 (for England and Wales)

    Reg 5 only applies to systems that also have a top up from mains water

    Basically, the water undertaker is only concerned with the hygiene of his pipework such that your actions don't contaminate the public supply

    I wouldn't believe most of what any plumber said - the regulations are quite clear - and most water authorities have an online process of notification (along with loads of information)


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