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My normal service range is from Santa Monica to San Diego but I have installed copper gutters and rainwater harvesting systems in California, Nevada, Utah, Hawaii and Rwanda.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting, Wet Systems



Large rain tanks and cisterns need not be placed next to the house.

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It is more economical to place the tanks next to the house, but that is not the only way.



     Called a wet system; the downpipes from the gutters lead underground to the cisterns that are placed in a far corner of the property. This works in the same way ancient Roman fountains work; as water always seeks its own level gravity will feed raintanks where ever they are located as long as there is at least eighteen inches of clearance between the bottom of the gutter and the top of the tank. 
This method allows for more aesthetically pleasing rainwater harvesting systems. The pipes must be glued and water tight. I have taken to favoring placing first flush devices next to the tanks, instead of on the house. Here are two case studies.

This is what the client had before contacting me.
The client had simple recycled barrels she was using to collect rain. They were open topped and teeming with life. Open top rain barrels are a drowning hazard for children and bug factories. These cheap barrels also leech toxic plastic in to the water.

She had prepared compressed soil beds for the three 1,110 gallon tanks and dug her own trenches to save money.

People in San Diego in particular pay a lot for water and they tend to be aware of how much rain they have coming off their roofs.

Rain gage in Alpine, Ca in tank area before placement. Below; one of two 1,110 gallon tanks.

Rolling the large tank in; you can see a pipe trench leading across the driveway to the tank beds.

Trade secret; lever large tanks over fences with an extension ladder;

Completed set up in Alpine

Detail of custom first flush device ( placed next to tanks.

I will detail my versions of wet systems sediment traps and other debris management in a future post. Keeping muck out of your tanks and under ground feed pipes is a huge part of keeping these Rain Water Systems working.

This amazing desert garden is in Vista California and has one of the most beautiful rainwater harvest systems yet. The red pipes are the feeder pipes for this wet system. The white is the overflow.

Remember; a small 1,000 square foot home yields 624 gallons of water per inch of rain.