Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rain today and I was ready

I awoke to rolling thunder this morning. Shortly after hearing the first boom I could hear that wonderful sound that rain makes on a tin roof. I rolled over and went right back to sleep. That sound always puts me to sleep and I knew the next couple of hours would be sound sleep before I had to get up. I just had to check the rain gage before I left the house and there was already an inch showing. We ended up with 1 1/4". By noon you could hardly tell it had rained. The ground just absorbed it all and could have taken in more. This evening all the plants looked so good, as only rain water can do. By dark there were bunches of new blooms on the cantaloupe vines that had hardly been alive hours before. Rain water is just special for the plants. Rain water makes plants grow and my well water just keeps them alive. And in some cases, not.

The best part about this rain was the fact that I was ready for it. I had the first tank of the rain water collection system all hooked up. It wasn't easy, as the plumbing part got tricky. It was plumbing as an art form. The first tank will be the hardest though as it is the one that hooks up to the gutters and eventually to the pump and filter house. I checked this evening and it was almost half full. Insert big smiley here.

This is what I was looking at when we went to get the tanks. See the crates of granite in the way. They were supposed to be moved and we were going to be able to load them with their fork lift. Well, neither of those things came to pass. We had to load the eight I bought by hand, laying them over and rolling them up onto the trailer. In the heat it was a killer. It took three loads to get them all here. It cost me a serious lunch for the guys and beer. It's really nice to have friends that will help you with this big of a project even when the plans change like they did.
PEC, the local power company, gave me a pole they had just removed. I laid it on the ground to hold back the sand that I would use to bed the tanks with. I was able to dig it into the ground so that the top edge was dead level for it's full length. As I progress down the line of the tanks I will always have a constant to use for leveling. Billy was able to bring his Bobcat skid loader back and move the sand to behind the pole. Lyn and I leveled a spot big enough for the first tank. I then shot it with my sight level to determine that I could maintain that level all the way down the seventy feet that the tanks would set. To move them from the front of our place down 1,800' of really windy, steep up and down drive way, I borrowed a small trailer from Billy. I had to build a ramp for the back of the trailer to roll the tanks up. It turned out to be not as difficult as I thought it would be to move them back.

The first tank is in and I've started to play with the plumbing. The tall, light blue thing is the roof washer. It was there already from the first set up. A roof washer catches the first several minutes of rain water before it goes into the tank. That helps keep the debris out of the tank. I built this one out of 12" PVC. It has a 4" T at the bottom with a faucet and a clean out. It worked so well with the other tank I decided not to change it.

Here's a view from the other direction. You can see the pole and the sand behind it. You can see a wire sticking out of a conduit next to the vertical pole. I put that in when we built the house. I planned that far ahead for a rain water collection system, as I wanted one that bad.
As I said, the plumbing got difficult. And maybe just a little artsy. Being a welder and not a plumber, it was mainly difficult.

However, the first one is installed and has an end cap duct taped on it so that I was able to catch the rain water that fell today. I'm a happy man. Now seven more to go.


Tabor said...

I would say something but my mouth is still hanging open!

Bonnie said...


E. E. Mitchamore said...

Good job on your RW system, Bob.

vbdb said...

Absolutely in awe of your projects - you don't do anything halfway, do you? Lynn tells me you built the house, not one but three ponds, and now this.

Will you please, please, please be my new best friend so I can be the one cooking in return for help on projects?

Aaron Berlin said...

I built a 30,000 gallon rainwater collection system for my house last year. We use it as our only water source and have not gone dry in this drought. If you need any filter recommendations let me know. I ran parallel filters to maximize the flow to 40 GPM. I will post some details to my blog: