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Setting Up Your Rainwater Tank for Drinking Water

 

Rainwater from your roof can be a valuable resource and is fine to drink when stored in a safe and properly maintained rainwater tank.

When installing your rainwater tank you will need to prepare your site, run piping from your roof to your tank inlet, attach piping to your overflow and install any pump and accessories as necessary. We have put together a general water tank installation guide here.

When plumbing in your rainwater it is best to hire a licensed plumber who is experienced with installing rainwater tanks for drinking purposes. They will be aware of any government regulations, pitfalls to avoid and accessories that are normally installed that ensure maximum quality drinking water.

Some areas that you should be aware of when plumbing your rainwater tank for safe and drinkable water include:

  • Food-grade PVC piping. Ensure any plastic or piping that is used complied with AS/NZS 4020 Products for use in contact with drinking water. Some PVC piping can leak lead, so you need to ensure it is safe for drink and not “stormwater” grade.
  • Quality stainless steel and brass fittings. These will also last longer and not corrode.
  • Inlet strainers and outlet screening. Your rainwater tank inlets and outlets should have strainers and screening to keep out debris, leaves, mosquitoes, insects frogs and any organic matter from entering your tank.
  • Algae protection. Sunlight encourages algae growth. If the sun can penetrate your tank and reach the water inside then algae will grow. Make sure the colour of your water tank is solid and will block out sunlight.
  • Gutter mesh, rain heads and water diverters. Use them all to ensure the highest quality rainwater enters your tank. They will ensure the rainwater entering your tank is filtered at every point to provide you with higher quality water.
  • Sludge building up in your tank. Bits of sediment and organic material from leaf bits and the like will find their way into your water tank. Over time this builds up and turns into what is called sludge that you should clean out every 2-3 years. To reduce this maintenance and receive fresher drinking water at all times, you can install a system that automatically removes sludge.
  • Copper in your rainwater. While rainwater is safe to consume, if it is left sitting in your plumb work for a long period then copper can leach into the water to unhealthy levels. Copper pipes normally distribute water throughout a house. So unless you install filter water at your tap, it is recommended that you flush the first 2 to 3 minutes of rainwater before consuming.

If you have any further questions about setting up your rainwater tank for harvesting drinking water, please contact us.