Originally Posted by jmichaelr
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.