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Rainwater Harvesting for Non-Potable Uses

Rainwater Harvesting for Non-Potable Uses

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Published by Ecology Action

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Published by: Ecology Action on Jul 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Rainwater harvesting systems are simpleand straightforward:
A roof catches the rainfall.
A “first flush” system discards the first wave ofwater contaminated with roof debris.
Gutters and downspouts guide the rainwater tothe storage unit.
Cisterns or rain barrels store the water, with pipesto guide away overflow.
A pump directs water to its ultimate place of use,generally a toilet.
The benefits of rainwater harvesting:
Saves communities and individuals money bysaving water.Reduces the need for costly water supply or sewerexpansion.Eases demand on municipal water systems, andreduces strain on aging water infrastructure.Reduces stormwater, flooding and erosion.Protects fragile ecosystems from stormwater runoffpollution.
What does SB 2549 do?
Rainwater harvesting has great potential as a water managementtool. It is difficult to employ in Illinois today because there are nominimum standards in the State Plumbing Code for the collectionof rainwater for non-potable (non-drinking) uses. As a result, localhealth boards have minimal expertise to review proposed systems.SB 2549 will require the Ill. Dept. of Public Health to establishminimum standards for rainwater harvesting systems by 2011.
SB 2549 will:
Enable and facilitate use of this simple, sustainable practice.Create jobs in plumbing and landscaping industries.
Benefit Illinois companies in the rainwater harvesting marketincluding Aquascape (St. Charles), Wahaso (Hinsdale), and PrairieRain Harvester (Farmer City).
Comply with Illinois’ conservation and efficiency obligations underthe Great Lakes Compact.
NOT affect traditional rain barrels
What is rainwater harvesting?
Rain is the only water delivered to our homes free of charge.However, rather than tap this resource for non-potable usessuch as flushing toilets, we channel it off into sewers.Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice to collect and use thiscostless, abundant resource, easing stresses on treated watersupplies and reducing stormwater runoff.
Did you know?
Toilets are responsible for more than 20% of house-hold water consumption — treated, drinkable waterthat’s simply being flushed away. Rainwater can becollected, filtered and pumped to toilets, creating areusable resource.
Chief Sponsors: Ill. Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park)
Rainwater Harvesting for Non-Potable Uses
SB 2549: A new tool for sustainable water resource management in Illinois
Source: Broken City Lab
A proven, versatile tool
From the parched South to the drenched Northwest, U.S. cities andstates are turning to rainwater harvesting as a tool for stormwatermanagement, pollution prevention, and supply augmentation.
Portland, Ore.
Portland’s Rainwater Harvesting Code allows rainwa-ter to be used for water closets, urinals, and irrigation.
Since 2001, the State of Texas has exempted the purchase ofrainwater harvesting systems from state sales taxes.
Lake County Forest Preserve, Ill.
Because there are currently noestablished standards on rainwater harvesting for non-potables usesin the State Plumbing Code, the Forest Preserve’s initial attempt touse that tool in its new Ryerson Woods visitor center was rejectedby the local health board. The Forest Preserve was able to secure avariance from the Dept. of Public Health, and subsequently built thefirst harvesting system in Illinois, reducing wasted drinking water andstormwater runoff. The HSBC campus, in Mettawa, Ill. also secured avariance, and is the only other known system in the state.
Josh EllisAssociateMetropolitan Planning Council jellis@metroplanning.org312.863.6045Lenore Beyer-ClowPolicy DirectorOpenlandslbeyer-clow@openlands.org312.863.6264Kip KolkmeierLegislative ConsultantLake County Forest Preservekolkmeierconsult@aol.com312.339.3540
For more information
page 12010
Did you know?
Every year, a homewith a 1,000 sq. ft.roof can collect over50,000 gallons of freerain water that cur-rently goes to waste.

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