How To Keep The Water In Your Rainwater Collection Tanks As Clean As Possible

14 December 2015
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If you have a rain collecting tank attached to your downspouts and you harvest rainwater for your livestock or irrigation needs, you need to ensure the water is as clean as possible. Luckily, there are easy ways to protect your rain collection tank. Here are some essential tips to guide you:

1. Clean your roof on a regular basis

As rainwater rushes down your roof toward your gutters and eventually into your rainwater tanks, it is likely to pick up sediment, debris or chemicals from your roof. To minimize this effect, you should clean your roof on a regular basis.

By hosing off your roof or even using a nontoxic cleaner, you remove built up residue from smog as well as bird droppings and other items.

If you let the water from cleaning run through your gutters and downspouts into your rainwater tank, make sure to empty and rinse out your tank before using it again.

2. Install gutter guards

To further prevent leaves, bird dropping or other unwanted debris from getting into your water tank, you need to ensure that your gutters stay clean. Unfortunately, even cleaning them weekly can't assure that you will never get debris into your water tank, but gutter guards can help.

Gutter guards are simple mesh covers that fit over your gutters. They allow the rain to run into the gutter system, but they keep debris out.

3. Mosquito mesh

If your tank doesn't come with a cover, the water you collect may become a breeding ground for mosquitos. This doesn't just make your water a bit dirty. It also increases the mosquito population in your area, potentially putting you, your family or your livestock at risk.

Luckily, you can prevent this effect by adding a mosquito net to your water tank. You can buy commercial mosquito nets and simply throw them over the tank, or you can make your own mosquito-proof lids with a simple wood frame and a bit of window screen.

If your water tank has a cover but also has small openings that mosquitoes can access, just cut small patches of old screen and hot glue or staple them over openings.

4. Pump and dump sediment-filled water

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, the occasional bit of dirt or debris may get into your tank and sediment may build up along the bottom of it. This can get into your water, and if you get too much sediment in your tank, it can even lower the amount of water you can collect by taking up an unnecessary amount of space in your tank.

If you suspect you have a sediment build up in your tank, empty all of the water using a pump and dispose of it. Fill the tank with clean water and pump it out again. If the water you pump out on the second pass is clean, the sediment is gone from your tank, and you can use it as normal.

If the second batch of water you pump out has sediment, you need to pump all of it out. Then, you need to refill the tank and repeat as needed until the water runs out clean and sediment-free.

5. Filter

Finally, if you truly want the water in your rain collection tank to be as clean as possible, you should consider investing in a filter. You can get simple carbon filters that attach to the downspout leading into the tank, and they filter out common toxins.

Alternatively, you may invest in a high-quality filter -- when you run your rainwater through a great filtration system, you can even drink it safely in some cases.

For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Hurlburt Enterprises Inc.