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Old 12-01-2015, 06:55 PM   #1
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Water collecting cistern

I have a remote campsite where I have electricity, but no water source.It is on a mountain where drilling a well is not feasible. I am building a RV port to park my Airstream, and would like to channel gutters to drain rainwater into a cistern. We will still need to carry drinking water, but could have our other water needs met by the stored water. Has anyone had experience with such a system?
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:45 PM   #2
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We used to collect rain water for our cottage on the lake. It was good for washing and bathing (if you could keep the mosquitos from laying eggs and breeding in it).
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:54 PM   #3
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You can collect rain water in 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrels or 275-gallon totes. For the purposes you need it for, I would paint the surface of the container a dark color to keep algae from growing. Both types of containers can be mosquito-proof if there are no holes left open to the air.
Do a search on the web for tips on how to make a rain barrel. A small amount of bleach can be added to sanitize the water.

The best RAIN BARREL for less than $15, and where to find a barrel

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Old 12-01-2015, 08:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelr View Post
I have a remote campsite where I have electricity, but no water source.It is on a mountain where drilling a well is not feasible. I am building a RV port to park my Airstream, and would like to channel gutters to drain rainwater into a cistern. We will still need to carry drinking water, but could have our other water needs met by the stored water. Has anyone had experience with such a system?
Runoff from gutters is considered raw surface water, and will require water testing and treatment to use for sanitary purposes— including bathing and dishwashing. Your state department of public health should have all of the necessary information for setting up a cistern system, and you will need to comply with their requirements if you want to be legal.

If a water source is problematical, waste water disposal is likely to also be a problem, and this is also a matter for your state department of public health.

If you're not concerned about legality and choose not to contact the department of public health, then a combination of sand bed filter, granular activated carbon filter, and chlorinator— possibly supplemented by a UV light filter since you have a source of electricity, inserted in between the carbon filter and chlorinator— should ensure that water coming out of the cistern is safe for use. But since I haven't tested the water to determine which contaminants are present in your water, that's a conservative suggestion and not any kind of definitive design decision.

Edit— the chlorinator is a treatment for drinking water, NOT a pool chlorinator. They're different in that a drinking water chlorinator limits the chlorine content to less than 4 parts per million, the safe level determined by the EPA for chlorine in drinking water. Even though you don't intend to drink the cistern water, the same level of treatment applies for all sanitary purposes.
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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It was good for washing and bathing (if you could keep the mosquitos from laying eggs and breeding in it).
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Both types of containers can be mosquito-proof if there are no holes left open to the air.
Mosquitoes do not lay eggs in clean fresh water, only in stagnant water. And water will not stagnate unless it has some kind of organic material in it. Which means that if mosquitoes are attracted to the water then it's not safe to use.
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