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Rainwater catchment, water color and biosand filter. Frustration  RSS feed

 
Dave Woods
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I have a rainwater catchment system from the gutters of the metal roof on my Tiny house. Problem is i can get any clear water. Its constantly collects in clean barrels a yellow color. And there is a yellow sediment. I'm pretty sure its from the pollen.

My sand filters wont clean it up. in fact it plugs the filters at the bottom tube from the sediment. I have three kinds of sand and three kinds of gravel Plus i use a 200 micron honey filter on the top

The gutters are clean. white pvc, and the short 6ft hose into the tank is clean. So it has to be the water is colored itself. Anyway any ideas how to clear it up and to make it useful to go through the biosand filters.

The whole system has been up and running since last October. Gettin pretty frustrated with the whole thing and constantly having to clean and back flush everything.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Try a 1st flush system. Say you get 20 gallons from a rain event go ahead and throw away the one gallon that falls, it will contain the pollen, poop, leaves, trash, etc that is on the roof.

To troubleshoot, try catching a batch of water without the gravel, then another one without the sand and then another one without gravel or sand. Why do I say this, the problem could be with the sand and or gravel or a reaction that occurs when minerals/microbes from both combine.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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I think a first flush system would help a lot.

I know water harvesting guru, Brad Lancaster, uses a ceramic filter lined with colloidal silver to purify the rainwater he collects in his cistern. He got his filter from Potters for Peace - but they don't sell them directly. I think he was visiting a production site when he got his.

 
Jeannie Sayers
Posts: 4
Location: NW Arkansas, USA
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old timers here in the Ozarks used to always add a extra piece of pipe about four foot long , with a screw cap at the bottom for cleaning-which filled first catching the dirt/ trash and pollen , then the overflow- ie clean water - would go on into the barrel or tank... ?
 
John Pollard
Posts: 125
Location: Ozarks
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A search for pollen in this forum only showed this lonely post. Not many people collecting rainwater and also have shade trees? Yup, this time of year I get yellow/green water even if I let a downpour for half an hour run onto the ground before collecting. This yellow/green water turns brown in no time. I nestled our little cabin in under the shade of oak trees to keep things cool and even after a huge first flush, I still get the pollen, my screen clogs with the little oak droppings (flowers?). It's unavoidable I think unless you're roof is out in the wide open with no trees but I like my shade. So this water I'm collecting today will be for watering the garden.. I have a half a barrel of clear water leftover from a month ago and luckily, I have good neighbors that have offered to let me get water. We used to have a gravity ceramic filter that removed 99.99% of everything but it would just clog up with pollen. Aside from a very expensive system like maybe reverse osmosis, I think distilling would be the only way low tech to get rid of pollen but that would be energy intensive unless you could set up something solar. Off to the search engine to look for solar still plans.
 
Steve Smyth
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I may be a bit late to the party but I'll throw in my $0.02.

I rely on rainwater for my domestic supply. I am in the woods on the Western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington.


We collect from 576 sq.ft. of metal roof with a first flush equipped rain gutter. It then flows through a 25 micron sock filter into to a pair of 300 gallon tanks. I then have a demand pump and pressure tank. Next in line is my "WaterFixer" filter from Jesse down in OR. Then into the house.

The "WaterFixer" filter consists of a 5 micron pleated filter, a .5 micron carbon filter then a UV light.

Last spring we had the pollen problem to the extreme. As soon as the weather began to warm my filter plugged. I replaced the filter elements and all was good.... For about 3 days. As a temporary fix we switched to 10 micron & 5 micron filter elements that let the pollen pass and dealt with the turbid water for about a month.

I have looked into a slow sand filter as a solution and were advised that the pollen may also cause trouble with the slow sand filter. A filter with some kind of backflush capability was recommended.

I have been searching for solutions and so far I have not found anything that will serve the purpose without wasting too much water on the backflush function.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Have you tried Rusco spin down or sediment trapper filters? they have a cleanable wire or polyester mesh filter. they are available in a fairly wide range down to 1000 mesh. (1250 mesh is 10 microns). according to wikipedia, pollen ranges from 100 microns down to a minimum of 6 microns. Oak pollen is 24-38 microns. for pollen, I would think the sediment trapper filter would be better than the spindown. these can operate with fairly low pressure, but might still require a pump.
 
Steve Smyth
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Corey Schmidt wrote:Have you tried Rusco spin down or sediment trapper filters? they have a cleanable wire or polyester mesh filter. they are available in a fairly wide range down to 1000 mesh. (1250 mesh is 10 microns). according to wikipedia, pollen ranges from 100 microns down to a minimum of 6 microns. Oak pollen is 24-38 microns. for pollen, I would think the sediment trapper filter would be better than the spindown. these can operate with fairly low pressure, but might still require a pump.


I tried one of the spin down filters and found that it also plugged quickly and the cleaning function did not work for me. Rather than simply open the valve & backflush I had to disassemble the filter and scrub the screen.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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What if we filled a barrel with the pollen filled water, then let them settle to the bottom.
then drain off the pollen at the bottom and pumped the clear water from the top of said barren into the original storage tank.

How big would this settlement 'barrel' be.
How long would it take for the pollen to settle to the bottom by gravity, and what can we do to expedite the process.
 
Caleb Rae
Posts: 6
Location: Tennessee, Zone 6b
forest garden solar tiny house
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We use rainwater for all our domestic uses. We collect off our metal roof and have a 8' "first flush" pipe before the water passes through a screen (bought as a roll for replacing window screens) before it empties into our 1200 gall cistern. We pump out of that cistern and run it through a sediment and a cotton filter before use and have never had any trouble, as long as we change the cotton filter every 2-3 months. The screen filter catches some leaves and bugs which otherwise float out of the "first flush" pipe. We'll eventually have to clean sediment out of the bottom of the cistern, but we've been using it for the last 6+ years at this point without issue. We do have the advantage of being a long ways ( several hundred yards) from the tree line, which helps limit leaves and pollen in the first place.
 
Corey Schmidt
Posts: 155
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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S Bengi wrote:What if we filled a barrel with the pollen filled water, then let them settle to the bottom.
then drain off the pollen at the bottom and pumped the clear water from the top of said barren into the original storage tank.

How big would this settlement 'barrel' be.
How long would it take for the pollen to settle to the bottom by gravity, and what can we do to expedite the process.


sounds like a great solution if the pollen will actually settle out. could do a test with a 5 gallon bucket
i use a system where the gutter water goes into a 30 or 55 gallon drum and activates a sump pump float switch which pumps the water thru filters into a larger tank. However, this setup would not exactly work as you would need a time delay for settlement to occur, so the settlement tank would have to be of sufficient size, and you might need 2: fill one, let it settle and change to filling the other in the meantime, then when the first is settled pump the good water off the top thru filters to your good tank, etc.. I think you could just put the pump intake a good distance above the bottom of the settlement tank so as not to suck in the pollen sludge... this would all depend, again, on the pollen actually settling out (or floating up) and not staying indefinitely in solution.
 
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