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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I start gluing everything together. Here is a quick picture/description.

First is the black barrel. That is for the first flush. I elevated it because its the first barrel I'll get water from to flush the toilet. That barrel will NOT be tied into the rest of the system.

The diverter will be toward the top. Turn right, then down the smaller shed into the blue barrels. Those will also be elevated, just didn't want to build anything permanent yet. The far right blue barrel will be the first barrel. I'm not sure I want this barrel to be the sand filter or not. I might just have it and the second one fill up with water, then have the third one (far left) as the slow sand filter before it goes into the 330 gallon.

Then from the 330 gallon, it will be piped to the second 330 gallon between the two sheds. That 330 is mainly dedicated for irrigation. This whole setup is mainly for irrigation. But I will have it piped so that there are spigots in convenient places.

The white barrels you see are going to be the overflow for when the 330's get full. IF lol.

Before I cut/glue anything together, any suggestions, comments, advice?

I do plan on having one way valves between barrels and totes. I hope to find a decent solar pump (anyone have sources?) but for now am going to rely on gravity since everything is downhill as far as plants go.

I need sources for:

First flush type system.
Solar pump with panels
Anything else suggested that could help me out.

Thanks in advance guys and gals

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1382215625.286377.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't help you with this, but I would love it if you would keep posting progress and designs. I would love to build one, but I didn't even know where to start.
This is my first attempt at a "REAL" system. My first attempt at catching rainwater was just a downspout pointed in an open barrel. Lots of over flowing and scooping out with buckets. Lots of work.

So after reading a LOT of posts, doing extensive searches and countless nights on google, I decided to start. Only problem is, the people that show what they did, didn't show where they got the materials and what materials they got. So I'm still looking for sources.

I started on my property. There had been a couple barrels already here. I picked up a couple more to transport water.

Then a place the next town over had 55 gallon drums for $25 each. I kept putting it off and putting it off (buying way more) until I was driving around in the next next town. There was a feed store selling drums for $15. Glad I waited :D so 6x$15 = $90 where as 6x$25=$150. Saved some cashola there.

Searching on craigslist, found a guy selling 275 and 330 totes. I had him deliver 2 totes for $340. I know it was a bit much, but he was the ONLY guy within 100 miles that had them.

So I have $430 in storage containers. It wiped out my money, but I need water. I'll have to wait a couple more weeks to get the pipes to connect it all, so I'm doing more research and reading and asking for advice so that I do it the most efficient way possible.

Just evaluate your space and needs. I was going to get 2 275 totes, but had space for the bigger ones. I also need more water because I have a 1/3 acre, 90% of it being edible plants and fruit trees.

I actually plan on getting 2 more totes when he gets them in, and getting more drums as they are available. Just right now, he has all chemical ones.

The totes are IBC totes. They held soda syrup. The drums you HAVE to be careful with. No labels, NO SALE. PERIOD!! I know there are a few drums the guy had, that probably had food stuffs in them. But NO LABEL, NO sale. The black drum has a chemical smell to it. It wasn't as strong as the other black barrels. Why did I get it then? First flush. Black=death water. This is mostly for flushing the toilets. Not drinking, and will be isolated from the rest of the barrels.

Oh, don't forget yard sales. I found barrels at a yardsale, for $12. One was for smoke flavoring. Passed them up, because of artificial flavoring. Oh. Forgot to mention. Although I have no intention to drinking this water, I still want it to be clean. I grow everything organically to the best of my abilities. No chemical fertilizers, no pesticides, nothing. But if you don't mind chemicals, then barrels are PLENTIFUL.

I also have numerous 33 gallon trash cans I was going to use to catch rainwater if need be. They are full of gardening stuff right now, but could have been emptied in an emergency.

I have found that it doesn't matter WHAT you start off collecting water in. Just as long as you are collecting water in a clean safe barrel and in a safe way :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok. After dicking around a little, I got to thinking. The only reason I wanted to elevate the barrels, was to match the height of the 330's.

So what if I stacked the 55's? Like so? ImageUploadedByTapatalk1382224628.284913.jpg

I'll obviously get another barrel to put on the upper left. I can make a platform to rest the top one on, that sits on the top of the bottom one, and has legs that reach the ground for weight support. I can also attach the 55's to the metal frame of the tote to prevent tip over.

Just a thought ???
 

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What a neat project! Although I cannot help you at all, I would love to see photos and a description of your progress. Living in Minnesota, for now, collecting rain water has not really been much of a consideration since we have lakes, rivers, and an easily accessible water table in abundance. But hopefully we will be escaping the socialist utopia of Minnesota for the desert southwest. So then rainwater collection will be a must. Thus, I greatly look forward to hearing about your trials and tribulations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another idea. I laid the one on its side on top of the others. Maybe 2 barrels taking the weight of the one is better.

Also mocked up the downspouts just for ideas.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1382226137.035134.jpg

I'm wondering if the weight of the one barrel above the others is enough weight to push water through the 330 and fill it all the way. The barrel on top, if set up this way, could be set up as a first filter? It wouldn't be a SLOW sand filter as recommended, but it would help catch a lot of sediment from going into the system. I MAY get a whole house filter to go between the blue barrels and the first tote??
 

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I'm not much help here but it sounds good from a practical stand point. I'd avoid stacking barrels from a weight and fatigue standpoint. If they were metal, then I think it would be ok.

sounds like a great set up.
 

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So great to see a thread on here with useful prepping info, instead of political rants. Sorry, it just seemed that was all I saw for a while. Anyway..................

I have 10 acres, so space is not an issue. I work at a lot of drinking water plants, so I may see if I can get their old barrels for free, but that might not work due to the type of chemicals that they keep in them. I'm also pretty good with PVC pipe/ fabrication, so maybe I will get my project started soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Does help. Thanks.

Been tossing around ideas on how to stack the barrels higher than the large tank. Otherwise it'll be a LOT of PVC pipe. Trying to keep it simple and cheap and maintenance free.

What are you using for a filter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok hunting hawk. I'm going to borrow your idea. Stack the barrels where the 330 and blue barrels are. Then put the 2 330's next to each other between the 2 sheds. The blue barrels stacked like that should provide enough water weight/pressure to fill the 330's.

Free up some room right there. And maybe have 4 sand filters instead of one, increasing flow. Wow. Thanks for posting that :D

Now to search for more barrels haha
 

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I'm just using the metal lint screen from an old clothes dryer to keep leaves out.

To filter potable water have buckets & ceramic filter.
 

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Some research to come up with my barrel design. Water will always find its level between the barrels. The lower barrels have ball valves between them. If there is a problem with a barrel I can isolate that barrel & therefore not loose all my water when doing a repair or replacement.
 

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Designed the rack for the barrels that the lower barrels would be high enough I could get a 5gal bucket under the ball valve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The way I see your design working over here is that the downspout is higher up, and the overflow can go over the small shed. No PVC to trip over.

Man. I'm not gonna be able to sleep tonight. Too many design possibilities.
 

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Make sure to have an overflow that is higher then the barrels but lower then the line feeding the barrels. It will also prevent any air trapping in your system. Actually, have a 100gal livestock water trough I can use to catch overflow. But being it sits on the ground water pump or bucket to get the water out.

My system provided all the water I needed for several tomoato plants & over 100 tobacco plants.
 
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