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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Water Containment - Homemade Rain Barrels

Water Containment - Homemade Rain Barrels

Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 24
I know it is elementary form of water containment but I just wanted to say that the two garbage barrels connected and sluiced to my roof gutter are full (64 gallons) from the rain this morning. I am so pleased that the process works...I am considering connecting a third barrel.

Question for rain barrel users is algae growth a concern for watering veg gardens and if so what do you use to help prohibit the growth? Does vinegar work?
Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 8
Assuming you won't be leaving the water standing in there for months at a time, you shouldn't have a problem. I've used my rain barrels for 5 years now, and never had a problem.
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 186
We use the water pronto also!

Penelope congratulations on making it work for yourself! Did you also add a spigot? If not how do you bail out the water?

Elaine
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 25
Hi elaine. I am pleased with the result.

The down side is there is no spigot. When the water gets low enough I have a small low-sided bucket that I will use to scoop water out.

The up side is I can use the barrels for other purposes in the winter which was the determining factor to do it this way.
Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 9
Also, if your barrel is opaque (ie, no light can shine in through the sides), you won't have a problem with algal growth. You could also put a cover on it when it's not raining, so you prevent/reduce any light entering the barrel from the top.
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 193
Our up the street neighbor Matt Ryle told me on Monday he is making a huge rain barrel which he got free from his workplace (same workplace as Lee and Tom). He'll be sharing the technology with our group.

In fact Matt is offering to invite us folks to see what he's doing at his place after our July 12 (and second) Intro to Creating an Edible Suburban Ecosystem. (Isn't that a neat name for it? It's Lisa's idea -- built on last year's original wording from Julia: "Creating an eco-system in suburbia.)

Elaine
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 67
I know there has been some discussion about the types of roofs that are okay to use with rain barrels, but does anyone know specifically about standard petroleum based tar shingles? Hold old do they have to be before they are safe for rain barrel use? My roof is about 12 years old.
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 34
Good question Ted.

As I remember Mary formerly of the PWD who addressed rain gardens and water containment mentioned at the meetup that she wished that she and her husband had decided on a metal roof.

However I think that many of us have asphalt shingles.

I do not know how much, if any chemicals leach from shingles during a rain storm, that then flow from the metal or plastic gutter off the roof to be stored in a plastic or rubber barrel?

I do know that I am glad to contain some water.
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 69
That's a good point re plastic and other components, Penny. Just want to make sure that I'm not undoing all the effort of gardening organically by watering with contaminated water. Of course, who knows what the chlorine in tap water does...

I'd love to have a metal roof, and will if/when I re-roof. I seem to remember reading something about asphalt shingles being safe to use after a number of years and wanted to see if anyone here read the same.

I'm glad your rain barrel system is working. I think I'll do the same soon.
Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 11
I don't think you should worry about contaminent coming off the roof. Well, let me rephrase that. I wouldn't drink it, although the woman at SkyJuice New England says it really isn't a problem, even if using it for graywater uses (flush toilets, showers, laundry, etc).

I don't have the specifics about how long various things take to leach from the shingles, but my gut says that it shouldn't "undo" any of our organic gardening methods. Personally, I have been using the water from my rain barrels on my veggie gardens, I feel ok with it.
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