Tips for Roof Water and Tanks

The article below outlines some practical and important tips when it comes to rain water tanks and rainwater harvesting systems.

rain water tank tips

Below are some points which can help reduce possibilities of contamination.

  • Install a first flush diverter. This is a very important device that flushes to waste the first 50 – 150 litres of water depending on your roof area. The first run-off usually contains the majority of contaminants, especially after long dry spells.
  • Use plastic/pvc pipes
  • Use safe roof paint – not lead based
  • Avoid placing TV aerials and other antennae on roof for birds to perch on
  • Avoid planting trees beside the house
  • The water storage tank should be covered to prevent further contamination from animals and birds in order to minimise evaporation losses
  • A two water tank system is better than one large water tank, as the first tank can be used primarily as a settling tank with the second tank being the draw off.
  • Try and avoid piping design that has long sections of pipe that will contain standing water before the tank. During hot dry spells anaerobic decomposition of organic matter contained within the water can occur and it will be forced into the tank following the next rain. Anaerobic decomposition often causes strong taste and odour issues due to hydrogen sulphide build up and other by-products.
  • Rain water is usually slightly acidic with a pH <7. Water stored in concrete tanks often has a pH >7 due to calcium carbonate leaching from the cement. Plastic water tanks are inert and will not alter the pH. Sometimes a blue staining will occur in baths and showers due to a chemical reaction in the copper piping and hot water cylinder. This can be overcome by various methods such as placing concrete bricks or marble chips in the tank which raises the pH of the water.
  • There are many different types of water filters on the market which offer various levels of protection depending on cost.
  • Clean and disinfect the system every 6-12 months including the guttering. This may include opening the scour valve on the tank to remove any accumulated sludge. Disinfection can be achieved by calculating 167ml of household bleach per 1000 litres of water (167ml= 2/3 cup). Leave it in the water tank for a few hours before flushing to waste.

Source: Far North District Council

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