Re: Gardening & Energy Conservation

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JNJ wrote:

away), I

Behind my house were two vacant lots overlooking a bluff. They were heavily wooded. Last year they cleared the lots to build, and the wind and cold was noticeable. (The houses are built now, and privacy fences have gone up, so it won't be quite as cold this winter.)
--
Warren H.

==========
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I divert all the house rain gutters to rain barrels for garden water and it keeps the electric bill down (we have an electric pump to a private well). Just 3/4 inches of rain can fill each of 3 40-gallon trash barrels. The water isn't pretty so it only goes to the garden and peach tree. Any excess runs over the barrel and into irrigation ditches which I dug into the garden. Last year we had a drought, about one small thunderstorm every 3 to 4 weeks...so every drop counted.
The rain barrels are covered with a 1/2" thick wood plate, with a 8"dia hole drilled in the center. The hole is covered with two layers of window-screening to keep out mosquitos, then covered with a single 1/2" hardware cloth to keep mice from chewing out the screening. It has worked extremely well the past 6 months in keeping pests out of the water, although in once occurrence I left the barrel open for 5 minutes and a mouse got in.
Dan
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I'll be redirecting our downspouts here soon as well. The house has a typical pitched roof as well as a small roof on an add-on (only a couple hundred square feet). From what I've read, the typical home can capture enough rainfall on the roof to account from a large chunk of the typical water usage a 2 or 3 family needs in a year. Some interesting numbers. I'm also looking into water purification systems -- would be nice to grab the runoff from the roof and bring it into the house for things like laundry, toilets, showers, and so forth.
James
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The next large project we are going to do is have a cistern installed with a filter system. That way, no water from the city need be used. I don't drink it now. What the hell is chloramine? Anyway, in Texas where we live, we have an average yearly rainfall of 31 inches. It's enough to fill a ten thousand gallon cistern many times. As little as a quarter inch of water can fill all of my current 75 gallon rain barrels. The City of Austin sells them for 45 dollars. They are the ones in the Gardeners Supply Catalog which otherwise cost 130 dollars each. Maybe even a bit more.
Victoria

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a
drink it

an
gallon
my
dollars.
I originally wanted to dig a well -- my basement is forever flooding from the ever rising water table so I figured why not? Well, the City is why not -- if city water is available one cannot dig a well. This redirected my interests to rainwater.
I already run a water filter on my tap water before drinking or cooking. I wonder how much more costly it would be to filter rainwater instead.
James
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Just out of curiousity (and an interest in land use rights) I'm curious if you could point me towards a website or citation that states that one may not drill a well on one's property in your city..... thanks,
Dave

with
have
thousand
of
130
my
I
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at city hall was good enough to send me a copy of the chapter of municipal code but the cite was incomplete. The verbage was fairly straightforward -- it stated the guidelines for having a well or a cistern, how it was to be maintained and who governed it (health department) then followed up with....
"(H) When water from the municipal system becomes available to any dwelling, the owner shall provide water from that system and immediately abandon the private supply."
Under this chapter I likely cannot even create a large receptacle for capturing rainwater for use in anything but gardening/agriculture and even then there are further regulations. I'm still going to find a way to use it for laundry and toilets and such (call me a rebel).
A local energy consultant and I have been corresponding and he's made it clear in no uncertain terms that Cincinnati's government is not conservation friendly.
James
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Our county (Harris, Houston) has a subsidence district that all well permits go through. We paying for all the evil deeds we did pulling out well water in the past years. Leave it in the ground and recycle your roof water. Work with nature and not against by depleting the well/water table.
JK
David J Bockman wrote:

--

J. Kolenovsky, A+, Network +, MCP
=F4=BF=F4 - http://www.celestialhabitats.com - business
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Dig the well inside the basement where it's cool and shady and out of sight of the nosey village idiots and minor apparatchiks. Only call it a sump .
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Actually, we will be putting in a sump pump in the near future in an effort to at least BEGIN to control the water in the basement. We're also looking at apply a type of rubber (SaniTred) to the walls to help there. At the moment, it's pretty damp, musty, and humid down there -- t'ain't healthy.
James
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I don't know specific prices for each element, but to have a ten thousand gallon cistern buried or placed on the property, with the plumbing for house water, filtration so it's potable, we're looking at around $5,000.00 to $7,000.00.
To filter it, you'd have to call some of the people in your area to find out how to do that. I don't want well water. There are any number of toxins in it at any given time. At least with rainwater, it comes from the sky, over the roof and into the system. Filtering out the sediment from the roof is far easier than filtering the 70+ toxins found in tap water, on any given day.
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animaux wrote:

There are soluble contaminants in rainwater also, which don't just filter out. The contaminants depend on which way the wind is blowing, what industries are upwind from you, and the time of year and business climate for those industries. You may have to treat the water somehow. Before you spend any significant money, collect some water from the roof over a long period of time and have it tested.
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One more thing to think about:
On a home show once, they were showing someone soldering together roof gutters. They said they used a high concentration of lead which is not allowed in indoor plumbing but is okay for water drainage. Of course, if you're planning on drinking water that has come through your roof gutters, this could be a problem. You might want to call whoever installed your gutters and ask them if they soldered the pieces together, and if so, if the soldering material had more lead in it than allowed for internal water piping.
I wouldn't worry about the code so much in this case as your own health. This is one area where I would want the code to be even more stringent.
Mike
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Do you have a breakdown of what the levels of nitrates, nitrites, organophosphate, herbicides, pathogens, and other toxic elements found in city water? If not, to say you have pretty good quality water is not adequate enough for me. Our water has more chlorine, now chloramine than our swimming pool. I don't allow my bird to drink it...let alone us.
That said, I live in Austin, Texas, where the Edwards Aquifer is our most precious commodity. The city of Austin sells rainwater collection barrels from the Smith and Hawken supplier at a fraction of the cost. They actually lose 35 dollars on each one they sell because of the kick back they get from the water authority.
I don't know where you live or how many inches of water rains down on you, but in our region it ranges. We have long periods of drought, then it can pour 5 inches in an hour. Much of it is runoff. When I hear rain is on the way, I water the garden to get the top inch moist so it doesn't shed the water, and breaks the tension of the soil to allow water to permeate it.
If it were my city who discouraged rainwater collection, I'd become very active at Town Council meetings and would contact my representative on the board. That is horrendous.
Victoria
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city
swimming
The breakdown on contaminants in the water supply here in Cincy can be found at http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/pages/-296-/ under the Miller treatment plant. We have 3 different water sources but Miller services our area. FWIW, the water utility has a very informative web site.

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I'm in Cincinnati. Rainfall varies here but it averages around 40 inches per year. This spring/summer has been particularly odd -- we've gone a period with no rain at all then suddenly we get doused (talk about deep watering). It's been bad enough that I've actually seen the street in front of my house flood to about 8 inches -- on no less than THREE occasions. I've lived here for about 30 years and this year is the first and only time I have ever seen this phenomenon.

active
That
Yup. I'm planning on doing some follow-up to get a better picture of where the city's code is on this one. I disagree with the section on digging a well but I at least understand the reasoning. However when it comes to a cistern...well, that's nobody's business but my own -- plain and simple.
James
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By way of follow up -- I got a response back from the city today on the legality of cisterns:
"I would contact the Health Department to confirm that. Personally, a cistern would be my last choice for a water source. The contaminants that can potentially be picked up by rain water through the air (particularly in Southwest Ohio where the air quality is not all that great)as well as what could be picked up off the roof, etc., you could likely end up with a water which is not all that healthy, particularly if you do not treat it is some manner. A cistern also leaves you vulnerable to drought, in which case you would pay a premium to have water hauled by truck to fill your cistern. That is just my personal opinion though."
On to the health department next.
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Someone should notify the whole of the island of Bermuda, where cisterns are the norm. Hasn't seemed to harm them any.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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From an earlier post, JNJ wrote:

JNJ wrote:

It seems like the city's stance is that water supply is an all or nothing affair. Either you're misinterpreting things when it relates to alternative sources for garden water (as opposed to "house water"), or (more likely) the city is unequipped to deal with water supplies not governed by themselves.
Maybe along with IPM there needs to be "Integrated Water Supply".
--
Willondon

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Before you do, you might call the city and try and find out *why* these restrictions are in place. I'm not saying you can find the answer, nor that they will be reasonable if you do, but there's a chance it'll make some sense. Also a (slim) possibility you might reach someone who has suggestions for your wet basement problem.
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Needless
little
I understand the reasoning on the wells -- they claim to be protecting the ground water from contamination. A bit weak IMHO but at least understandable. As for a cistern being prohibited, I've been told to contact the health department.
James
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