Tag Archives: rain

The danger of averages

Historically, we should have gotten an average of 5.5 inches of rain in and around our property in the month of January.  Actual total?  1.7″

Freefoto.com image of rain

Given my prior modeling calcuations for rain catchment (360 ft^2*.5ft*7.5gal/ft^3) I should have been able to capture 1300 gallons of water.  In reality, we would have only captured 340 gallons.  Given our modeling around having enough water to last through the dry summer months, it now becomes clear that unless February exceeds it’s average goals, we may not be able to capture enough water to last the weekends we are anticipating to be up there this summer.

And on top of that, this all assumed a 2 person event, but given the interest in helping, even if it’s just for one weekend, we’re going to need access to quite a bit more water anyway.

Luckily our neighbor will help us out with some water (he runs his well from a generator though, so from an environmental perspective, it’s _VERY_ expensive water).  The other solution is that we could drive out to a local spring (there are a few near by) and collect water that way. This is also expensive, as we still have an overhead fuel cost which we might be able to mitigate if we can find a spring on the way, rather than out of the way.

This leads me back to the idea of providing a larger water catchment area in order to accelerate our time to cistern filling, which I believe is one of the more sensible solutions to this, as it continues to leverage the free water that does arrive, while also better dealing with the fact that averages can easily be deceiving.

Oh, and December was 1.5″ over average. And we still don’t have a catchment up and running, so this is all conjecture anyway.

Flatbed delivery for Containers

If you want to know how a container will most likely be delivered unless you rent a crane or get someone to heli-lift your container into place (I’m looking into this BTW).

BTW, this works great, but you really need dry, or at least solid ground to do this on.  We’re renting a forklift this coming weekend, to get these moved closer to their final location, and if we’re lucky (and it dries out enough), we may even try to get them close to their final location (we’ll see….).

The moral of this story… Don’t ever expect things to go exactly as you might have previously planned :-D.

There might be a little problem here – Mud

We’re up at the property, trying to get ready to receive the containers (they’re on their way, delivery expected bright and early Monday morning), and we may have run into a bit of a snag. While I knew the neighbor had an issue with the dirt track that we are both using as a driveway extension from the easement (and very well maintained) driveway into the back area of the property, with 4 stuck cars and mud-ditches 3′ deep, I had been driving on the very area we expected to set the containers initially, and hadn’t noticed any potential issues. Seriously, I thought it was because of the heavy use of his property (he lives here full-time) that he had this particular problem.

Well, we learned differently today. I knew about it a little bit yesterday, but couldn’t get myself to believe it.  Sure enough, we had nice deep ruts on our property now as well, and right where our future driveway and container dumping grounds were supposed to be! I’ve fixed them somewhat for now, and as the ground dries out in the May/June time frame, we’ll finish the container moving process. In the interim, we’ve got another area picked out, that we hope the delivery guy can dump the containers on for the near term, and then we’ll get a large forklift to move them to their future home.  I think we can get a lot of the retrofitting done in the newly selected location as well, so this shouldn’t be a complete progress halting setback!

Rainwater Catchment – Water Filter

With the container delivery in process, my thoughts have turned to catching water.  We’ve already done an analysis, and can clearly catch thousands of gallons of clean water off of the two container roofs, but I’ll need to add gutters to redirect the water, and I will still want to pre-filter the water before it goes into the tank to try to reduce the quantity of dirt that will get into the system (some will always manage to get in anyway, but I want to minimze that).

So I’ve been thinking about the filter systems I’ve seen floating around.  First, you want to try to avoid leaves and other “large” particles from even getting to a media type filter, so a pre-filter is in order.  One thought I had was to attach one of the leaf over-flow covers onto the top of a gutter section. These are the sorts of things that use surface tension to keep the water flowing into the gutter while the leaves are supposed to just shoot right off.  Since I won’t be in a position to place full length gutters the day the containers arrive (expecting early on the 17th), I was thinking of just placing a tarp along with a short section of gutter fastened to a cistern. This will at least allow us to capture some of the initial influx of rain, and let me test out the filters I’m considering.

The first actual filter is one I’ve seen described in a few rainwater catchment documents and sites,called a bypass filter. Basically, it’s a tube that hangs down below the downspout and has a slow leak valve at the bottom and a floating captive ball in the tube.  The idea is that the first “flush” from the roof/tarp dumps its dirt into the bypass (expected to be fairly fine stuff, light blow-sand, etc.), floating the ball up to the top where it eventually blocks off the bypass.  The rest of the water then flows across the bypass to the cistern.  The bypass will slowly leak out and will re-fill from a continued rain event, or eventually empty out and be ready for the next event.  Eventually it will become necessary to wash out the bypass in order to get rid of the accumulated muck.  My model includes a standard outdoor faucet for the slow leaking valve, which may even be large enough to allow a washout of the bypass without having to disassemble the filter all together.

The second filter is a sand and charcoal filter.  This is fairly straight forward, with the only “trick” being that I expect to line the outlet of the filter with a piece of geo-textile to act as a screen against sand and charcoal being flushed out and into the cistern propper.

So other than this model forcing the cistern deep under ground, I think this is the solution for rain catchment.

Water, water, everywhere

So one of my early tasks is to get some useable water onto the property, and to that end, I’ve had a conversation with Well-Drill-Guy (who for ~ $15K will put in a nice well for me…), but I’d like to do something prior to us determining where our “final” accommodations may go, this being at least initially a temporary structure.  And that lead me to two conclusions, either I catch the water coming from the sky (~24″ annual rain fall is quite a useable amount, but only really shows up in the winter months), or I bring it in.

So since it might take us a couple months to get things into a state where we can even get  a truck into the property to deliver a conatiner (even a small one is about 3 tons, and add to that a 2 ton truck, you need a STABLE road!), I thought it might be useful to look at transporting water in.  So I started looking at tanks and such, and found these great water bladders that are available.  Think MEGA-camel-back like bladder.  I’m investigating either getting a couple 100gal bladders, or one 250gal bladder.

One source: http://www.interstateproducts.com/water_bladders.htm