The gathering of rain water for human needs is as old as civilization itself. With the current trend towards sustainability, you may be interested in the ways that rain water might be "harvested" as an alternative to relying solely on municipal resources. For the homeowner, rainwater harvesting can range from simply collecting water in a barrel for taking care of plants to a full-fledged independent water supply for washing and even drinking. But is water from the heavens safe to drink?
In general terms, rainwater is distilled by nature in the evaporation cycle and so it comes down free of most contaminants and additives like chlorine. But as it travels through the air and comes in contact with surfaces such as roof tops and gutters it will pick debris and biological contaminants. In most cases these are minimal and can easily be managed. For example, you can use a first-flush diverter that catches debris from the roof in a trap before the clearer water flows into your barrel.
That's all well and good for garden-use or washing cars, but protecting your family from harmful microorganisms requires proper disinfection of the rainwater. Long-used by well-water owners, an ultraviolet (UV) water disinfection system is a chemical-free way to ensure that your water is safe from biological contaminants.
The water is disinfected by light of a specific wavelength as it passes through a stainless steel chamber. Nothing is added to the water, but any microorganisms present will be rendered harmless. Rainwater is naturally soft and so will not require a softener, although some "polishing," or added filtering, may be desirable for taste and ultimate particle removal. In fact, the newer, high-quality UV systems often come equipped with both a sediment and carbon filter for just that purpose, which makes installation all the easier.
Maintenance is also easy - just an annual lamp change. It is very important to note that UV lamps do not "burn out" before they lose disinfecting properties, so changing them on schedule is critical to maintain water safety.
FreshWaterSystems.com is proud to offer a wide selection of UV systems and accessories from Viqua. Check out the video below for more info on the benefits of UV disinfection.