[permaculture] rainwater vs city water

Scott Pittman scott at permaculture.org
Fri Jun 6 17:48:23 EDT 2008

The only downside that I have heard about drinking rain water is that
demographics show that there is a higher incident of heart disease in areas
of acidic water, which qualifies rainwater - this is easy remediated with
limestone or marble chips suspended in the water in a bag.

Most contaminates are fixed in the organic mat that forms at the bottom of
the cistern, a good reason not to clean your cistern and to put your outlet
a foot or so higher than the bottom of the tank so as not to disturb this
mat.  The bulk of organic material can be avoided with a good wash  down
system that takes the first few gallons of water in a rain event before it
reaches the cistern.  The wash down water can be used for plants.

Aside from chlorine and aluminum oxide that is put into the water by the
water utility, one should be concerned with the pharmaceuticals that are
flushed down the toilet, many of which persist in the environment for months
and years.  Of particular concern are the drugs used for chemo therapy,
birth control, Viagra, and the psychometric drugs used for depression, ADD,
and other psychological modification drugs.  These pharmaceuticals are
showing up in the municipal supplies of cities around the United States.
You should be able to get the latest test results from your local water
utility provider.

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization)has a
lot of information about rainwater quality based on data from the years that
Australia has used cisterns.  Australia has recently seen the wisdom of
using cisterns in Urban areas and offers tax incentives for those who
install them.

For my part I would much rather drink and bath with rainwater than most well
water, let alone reservoir water.  I is good to keep in mind that our skin
is very permeable and toxins don't just enter through our mouths  - think of
that the next time you are relaxing in your chlorinated shower or bathtub

Scott Pittman
Permaculture Institute
-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Rain Tenaqiya
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2008 10:03 AM
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [permaculture] rainwater vs city water

Every time I research rainwater catchment, the opinion is that rainwater
will almost always be better than treated municipal water, unless you live
in a heavy industrial zone.  In that case, there are still treatment options
that may be more sustainable than what the government does.  One of the main
reasons that rainwater is better is that it is not chlorinated.  Even the
EPA has admitted that chlorinated water creates significant health problems.
There are always organic compounds in water.  When you add chlorine, you are
creating biocides, just like the pesticide companies do.  The chloride atoms
substitute for hydrogen atoms in the organic molecules and create long-lived
poisons.  Yuck!

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