Harvesting Rainwater for a Potable Water Supply

You can design a rainwater collection system such as this one by harvesting rainwater to provide water for your home and garden.

Rainwater Collection System

This rainwater collection system provides all the water the Minga family needs.

Photo By Mike Minga

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The well water on the property we recently bought was undrinkable (too much iron). Without good prospects for a new well (installers could not guarantee the water quality), we decided to install a rainwater-collection system for our potable water supply.

We installed gutters along the entire house and tied them all to a 6-inch plastic pipe. We fitted the gutters with microscreen filters. From the gutters, the water goes to a first-flush diverter and then on to the 1,100-gallon catch tank. The tank acts as a settling tank between rains. From that tank, we pipe the water to our utility room, where three more 1,000-gallon tanks are tied together. We pull water from them with a pump that sends the water through three 0.5-micron filters and then through two 0.2-micron filters. Then the water passes through a UV sterilizer and over to our 1,100-gallon treated-water storage tank. We pull from this fresh-water tank with another pump to supply pressurized water to the house.

Every three weeks, I refill the freshwater tank and treat it with chlorine. We have been harvesting rainwater using this system for a year, and we love it.

Mike Minga
Lumberton, North Carolina