Dallas Rainwater Harvesting Update (or non-update)

CisternsI wanted to provide an update to the People Newspaper post that I created a couple of months ago.

The situation in Dallas remains the same:  there are no rules that regulate the use of rainwater in clothes washing machines.  I was informed by Lonnie Erwin, the Dallas Chief Plumbing Inspector, that the regs won’t be ready until the new fiscal year starts in October.  I’ve got a note on my calendar to send him an email on 10/1!

PS:  the photo is of our two 2500 gallon cisterns on the side of the house.

October 21st, 2009 10:01 pm

Nice tanks! I’m working on a rooftop garden project for an interaction design class at UT Dallas. We’re designing a semi-autonomous garden that could be installed in an urban area and then integrated into a social network of nearby rooftop gardens. People could grow food in the city, and then share it with their neighbors or local restaurants using Facebook or something similar.

There would be a web interface that could be used to manage things and buy/sell/trade things on a local marketplace using a smart phone or computer. Watering and fertilizing would be automatic. We’re trying to build as much as we can with off the shelf or open-source components. We want everything to be modular and accessible to lower the barrier to entry. We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do about water collection and compost. We’re thinking of collecting rainwater and storing this to water the garden with later.

If you could offer any advice, we’d really appreciate it. Were there any things to consider when you installed your system, or was it pretty straightforward?

October 22nd, 2009 3:03 pm

We hired a local rainwater harvesting company to design and install our system. It was fairly straightforward given that we had only three roof planes, with one downspout for each. These three planes flow 100% of roof rainwater into the cistern. Then there’s a “flow-sensing” pump that pumps the water into the irrigation system (and eventually the washing machine). Very simple concept.

We had to have a couple fine-tuning adjustments made to accomplish a full seal for mosquitos and some replacement of our “first flush” filter mechanism. But it’s fairly maintenance-free.

I’d suggest you give Jeremy Delost a call. He owns Rainwater Harvesting Systems, Inc. His number is 469-721-3080. He’s been the most helpful in understanding how a system ought to be designed and installed. We have our maintenance agreement with him. This guy lives and breathes rainwater harvesting – he even harvests the condensation off of his air conditioner in the summer!

As a side note, we’ve been considering how we can do a rooftop garden of some sort. The hard part would be an automated watering system so we wouldn’t have to crawl up to the roof every day during the heat of the summer!

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