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Rain Barrel Water Recycling

 

Most of us take water for granted until it doesn't rain for a month or two and the city asks you to stop watering your lawn and garden. One of the best ways to help guard against this is by recycling rainwater. There are many ways to collect and recycle rainwater but one of the best and most cost effective is to setup a simple rain barrel.

It is estimated that an inexpensive rain barrel can save you as much as 1000 gallons of water over the course of a normal summer by simply recycling rainwater. Of course, the exact amount will vary depending on the amount of rainfall in your area but the savings from recycling rainwater in most cases will be substantial. The idea is to position the rain barrel under a roof drain downspout so that it collects rain running off the roof of your house and recycling the rainwater on your plants and lawn as needed. You can buy a ready-made rain barrel but it is also very easy and inexpensive to build your own.

Almost all the materials are available at your local hardware store. The main item you will need is a large plastic drum. Getting one is not as difficult as it may seem. Most soft drink manufacturers around the world are willing to sell you an inexpensive 55 gallon plastic drum. Usually the plastic drum you get will have its top sealed so you will have to drill a hole in the middle top of the drum. Many people will put a screen or other type of filter over this hole so that leaves and other debris do not get into the rain barrel. If your roof gutter system already has grills or screens to keep leaves out then you won't need to worry about a filter for the barrel. Usually it is a good idea to raise the barrel up off the ground by putting it on cinder blocks. This will help protect the ground underneath and make it easier to recycle the rainwater you collect in the rain barrel. You will undoubtedly have to raise the height of your downspout as well so that it is slightly above the level of the top of the drum.

Now that we have the drum setup for collecting rainwater, we need to arrange a way to get it out. The simplest way is to drill a small hole in the lower side of the drum a couple inches up from the bottom and glue in a PVC male adaptor then attach a 3 to 4 foot length of plastic hose to this adaptor. Of course, it is important to keep the end of the hose above the top of the barrel so that the barrel doesn't drain. You can notch the top rim of the drum as a holder for the hose or alternately you can attach a plastic valve to the end of the hose. Finally, at the end of the hose you will want to attach a plastic adaptor that allows the attachment of a standard garden hose. This setup will use gravity to drain the drum. To use the rainwater collected simply put the end of the garden hose on the ground you intend to water, open the valve if you used one and the drum will self-drain out the end of the garden hose. To stop the flow either close the valve or raise the end of the garden hose above the top level of the drum. 

Michael Russell (Article Source: Recycling Guide)


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Articles: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

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