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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure how well this idea would work, if at all, but I'd like to get input from you guys. I'm trying to create an extremely affordable rainwater collector for areas with little precipitation, and enough land. While this idea may be affordable, it does require a lot of labor.

My Rammed Earth Rainwater Collector Idea

The idea is to ram earth (not stabilized), creating a sloped rainwater collector surface with rammed walls around the perimeter to reject some dust and debris. After the collector is rammed, the surface is coated with Henry's 887 Tropicool 100% Silicone Reflective Roof Coating. This coating is said to be 100 percent waterproof, "LIFETIME WARRANTY - One coat protects against extreme weather," and is safe for collecting rainwater. I imagine you could maintain with more coats to specific areas needing to be touched-up.

Its location (away from floods) and ability to shed water away from the perimeter of the collector is important, I imagine, to avoid water eroding away the collector.

I have no idea if the coating would adhere to the rammed earth, or if this idea is just terrible. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A trap would cost less and not be toxic....
According to Henry, their product is "tested and certified by NSF International in accordance with NSF Protocol P151: Health Effects from Rainwater Catchment System Components."

When you say "trap" I don't think you're referring to an affordable large surface which catches rainwater, correct? I think my post may be confusing as I mention walls, and possible misuse of terms. What I'm purposing is only the large rainwater collection surface. The surface will divert water to a gutter, then to a tank. The walls are only to keep some dirt and debris from getting on the surface.
 

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Paleoconservative
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You could always experiment with a much scaled down version of your idea to check and test the viability of some of the components, namely the rammed earth itself, the long term adhesion of the coating to the rammed earth, ideal degree of slope, and so on.

The rains here are often short, but intense and might temp overwhelm the flow capability of a collector with large surface area without some thought to sizing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You could always experiment with a much scaled down version of your idea to check and test the viability of some of the components, namely the rammed earth itself, the long term adhesion of the coating to the rammed earth, ideal degree of slope, and so on.

The rains here are often short, but intense and might temp overwhelm the flow capability of a collector with large surface area without some thought to sizing.
Thank you very much. I think that's very sound advice.
 

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I'm not sure how well this idea would work, if at all, but I'd like to get input from you guys. I'm trying to create an extremely affordable rainwater collector for areas with little precipitation, and enough land. While this idea may be affordable, it does require a lot of labor.

My Rammed Earth Rainwater Collector Idea

The idea is to ram earth (not stabilized), creating a sloped rainwater collector surface with rammed walls around the perimeter to reject some dust and debris. After the collector is rammed, the surface is coated with Henry's 887 Tropicool 100% Silicone Reflective Roof Coating. This coating is said to be 100 percent waterproof, "LIFETIME WARRANTY - One coat protects against extreme weather," and is safe for collecting rainwater. I imagine you could maintain with more coats to specific areas needing to be touched-up.

Its location (away from floods) and ability to shed water away from the perimeter of the collector is important, I imagine, to avoid water eroding away the collector.

I have no idea if the coating would adhere to the rammed earth, or if this idea is just terrible. Any thoughts?
Laws regarding this topic vary. In Colorado persons are banned from collecting rainwater. In Ontario, Canada the government will give you a collection system and send someone to install it. This is an important thing to look into for your area.

The barrels are cheap. I got one. It's one of those ones with soft sides and metallic ribs. It was forty dollars used and it works great.

You can also get totes for free from local warehouses. The catch is you have to clean out whatever nasty chems were inside. Check this out.


This says $843. They are expensive new. You can get them cheap in an industrial park. Find a warehouse which deals with chemicals. He will have stacks of these things. I made one into a compost bin and it was super. It came from my boss so it was free.
 

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Whether you stabilize earth to make rammed earth depends on the composition of the soil - specifically the clay content. You can't just say "I want to do it as cheaply as possible, so i won't add any cement". If the final composition is not correct, your rammed earth may crack. From the reading I have done, rammed earth and adobe need a cover that will let them breath - my GUESS is that the coating you are suggesting will not breath. I am glad you asked this question. I have been looking into this for a couple of years. I have some land in northern Nevada that only gets 10" of rain or so a year. The cheapest first solution is to add a large overhanging roof to all of your buildings - this is cheapest if you have not built them yet. The most expensive part of capturing rainwater that I have found so far is the tanks - depending on how much water you want to catch.

RE: your IBC totes and water storage, I have posted questions on three different forums about the safety of using totes that have been previously used to store chemicals - verdict was unanimous, that it was not a good idea, no matter how much you wash them - to store water or food in them.

This person has a video about a "patio roof" he made to catch rain that was only 1' off the ground. It's not this video - I couldn't find the one I wanted.
 

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If you look around at local commercial roofing companies you may be able to get thousands and thousands of square feet of used rubber roofing material for free.

Over time the rubber shrinks and starts to pull away from the edges so it is replaced even though it is still perfectly water proof and will be for many decades to come.

You could lay this material out, weight it down a bit with rocks and direct it to your catch basin.
 

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This person has a video about a "patio roof" he made to catch rain that was only 1' off the ground. It's not this video - I couldn't find the one I wanted.
Here's his playlist on his rainwater collection system (EDITED--)

Let's try that again -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb0s0qC96lCcx2pO2za6mcw

Scroll down to Rainwater Harvesting Rain Roof. When I just put the link to the playlist earlier, it only showed the first video.
 

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Storyteller
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According to Henry, their product is "tested and certified by NSF International in accordance with NSF Protocol P151: Health Effects from Rainwater Catchment System Components."

When you say "trap" I don't think you're referring to an affordable large surface which catches rainwater, correct? I think my post may be confusing as I mention walls, and possible misuse of terms. What I'm purposing is only the large rainwater collection surface. The surface will divert water to a gutter, then to a tank. The walls are only to keep some dirt and debris from getting on the surface.
Contents in Descending Order of QuantityQUARTZ , Siloxanes and Silicones, di-Me, hydroxy-terminated , DISTILLATE FUEL OILS, LIGHT , Titanium dioxide
from

and
This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)


Drink what you want, but the videos showing the 'rain roof' outside of Benson Az would be the better approach...
 

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Contents in Descending Order of QuantityQUARTZ , Siloxanes and Silicones, di-Me, hydroxy-terminated , DISTILLATE FUEL OILS, LIGHT , Titanium dioxide
from

and
This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)


Drink what you want, but the videos showing the 'rain roof' outside of Benson Az would be the better approach...
What about corrugated fiberglass or steel?
 

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Storyteller
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What about corrugated fiberglass or steel?
Both would be the better choice IMO.

Sheep stations is OZ use steel roofing for water collection - have for decades.

Keep in mind -contaminates, like bird poop, and the like, still have to be accounted for in any outdoor rainwater harvesting operating.

Here - a video by Brad shows how he has done this in an urban area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm going to address posts later but I wanted to post a response I got from Henry:
Unfortunately Henry 887 TropiCool would not adhere to rammed earth. For what you are doing I believe that you will need a rubberized sheet product. For Henry 887 to properly adhere the surface must be free of dirt and dust. Rammed earth is compacted dirt that is porous by nature and needs protection from long term exposure to moisture. There are water repellent additives that will waterproof the walls right through. However, you will have to check the toxicity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Contents in Descending Order of QuantityQUARTZ , Siloxanes and Silicones, di-Me, hydroxy-terminated , DISTILLATE FUEL OILS, LIGHT , Titanium dioxide
from

and
This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)


Drink what you want, but the videos showing the 'rain roof' outside of Benson Az would be the better approach...
Yes, don't ingest the substance. Henry's product is only "tested and certified by NSF International in accordance with NSF Protocol P151: Health Effects from Rainwater Catchment System Components" in its cured state as directed by the manufacture.

PVC for example, is made with vinyl chloride which is toxic, but for most everyone, we try to avoid ingesting toxic substances.

Vinyl chloride: https://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/2001.pdf

Now, if a final product is leaching toxic chemicals to any harmful measure, certainly don't use that product.
 

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Have you done an analysis yet of your water needs? How much water are you going to need every week x 52? If you want to survive on capturing rainwater, how much rain do you get annually? how many square feet of collection space will you need? how many can you get from your roof, or other buildings you may have? and then determine how many new square feet of collection space you will need. But also consider that 12" of annual rainfall does not usually fall 1" per month, 1/30" of an inch per day, so you will have to make sure you can process a high volume of rainfall. High tech stuff usually gives you a high % of efficiency, but almost always with a high price tag. If you have a lot of land that can be used, you would probably save $ by doing something low tech, but just making a bigger collection area. Finally, what will you do when their is no rain? Do you have a plan B?
 

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Storyteller
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Yes, don't ingest the substance. Henry's product is only "tested and certified by NSF International in accordance with NSF Protocol P151: Health Effects from Rainwater Catchment System Components" in its cured state as directed by the manufacture.

PVC for example, is made with vinyl chloride which is toxic, but for most everyone, we try to avoid ingesting toxic substances.

Vinyl chloride: https://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/2001.pdf

Now, if a final product is leaching toxic chemicals to any harmful measure, certainly don't use that product.
When we lived in Las Vegas, that or a like covering was quite popular to cover older roofs. There was a local outside that would come and spray seal your roof in a couple of hours.

If I have to go with rainwater collection, I'll use metal roofing. Again the Handeeman rainroof example is noteworthy, but expensive. But, so is a well, pump system & ongoing maintenance. At least the rain roof is passive & gravity operated.

Brad Lancaster (Tucson, AZ) has a setup on an urban lot...much of his work is with recycled/upcycled stuff. Many good examples there.

Folks are free (for now) to make these kind of choices....

/.
 

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This isn’t mine, a kind gentleman who lives in North Carolina posted this in a gardening forum that I follow.

This one looks to be build into a hillside, if a hill isn’t available where you are, use higher posts and then you could use the structure as cover for something else, dual purpose.



FA74F870-62E0-452D-975E-251E3443016E.jpeg

D396826F-97FF-46FC-9C5E-6C06CEAA23AF.jpeg
 

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Storyteller
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For the OP - here is a rainwater catchment system, much like you envisioned/described (more or less) but instead of a layer of liquid sealer, this fellow uses a recycled tarp - a billboard of all things.

Large, well sealed tarps (not the blue woven poly types) are priced well below the cost of a 5 gallon bucket of chemicals.

My apologies to the OP - this water trap was on my mind, but took a while for me to find the video of the ground based trap system. This should work as the OP had described.

Storage tanks will always be a concern/expense.

/..
 
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