Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rain Barrels

For the third entry of the Ghetto Green Project. I'll be fabricating
rain collection barrels. I haven't done this before. I'm freestyling
this shit. The ghetto green way.

My frustration began last summer when I started seeking out rain
barrels before rain came. I figured how expensive could food
grade plastic barrels be? Since most advertisements for barrels
are claiming to be "repurposed" barrels, which have been
modified with a bib and maybe a over flow valve.

To my shocking surprise. They are stupid expensive! Expensive
as in $150-200 plus dollars. That's outa control. The ideal is to
off set cost and being efficient. If a rain barrel holds lets say 55
gallons. You might be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of
7 to 10 cents a gallon of water (depending on your water
company and geographical location) that comes from your faucet
or a water spigot. Math time. I'll give benefit of the doubt. If your
paying 10 cents a gallon. Times 55 gallons (water barrel). That's
$5.50 worth of water that barrel is holding. How many years will
it take to fill and use that water collected to pay off a $150 barrel?
And that doesn't include shipping. Grab your calculator. That's
damn near 28 years. See my point yet? It's not cost efficient. So
source the materials yourself. Ya it's harder work and it takes
effort. Chances are you have a Smart phone. Use it!

I sourced the two barrels I picked up for $40 each. I still think
that's too high. But I was dealing with a fella I judged to be a dick.
I didn't dig his vibe and he wasn't friendly or helpful much at all.
In spite of the use of vulgar words. I'm all about spreading the
word of conservation and being frugal like hookers spreading
herpes. This guy. Not so much. I know a hustler has to get his
money on. But this dude is a teacher. Hope he doesn't treat his
students like that.

So cost of barrels. $40. 1 bib $8. Make your own gaskets
$1.47. Plumbers caulking $4.00. Traveling expenses $10. For
a total of $63.47. Supplies were picked up down the street from
my house at Globe. Their URL is Great
helpful people here. Talk to the guy with grey hair. While your at
it. Take the time to get to know people around you. Business
owners and the such. Pay in cash when you can. I've been doing
this and in return I have great resources and I save money by
paying in cash. *wink wink* The bibs I got are made of brass and
made in U.S.A and I got from a indie plumbing supply store.
Quick side note: I'm not a fan of corporate box stores with
employees of little to no help or knowledge. Sorry Home Depot
you can kiss my ass. But thank you for employing people.

Now I know I only mentioned 2 barrels. Lets keep our
experiments to a low cost. If I manage to mess up one barrel. I'm
okay with swallowing the cost of that. Once I've dialed in a bomb
proof setup. I'll invest in more barrels. I'd like to have 10 or more
barrels. Buy more and save on the price of each barrel. Less fuel
used to fetch them. And more free rain water for me.

More math kids. Some environmental engineer came up with this
algorithm. Here it is in short. For every 1000 sq ft of roof space,
during 1 inch of rain fall. Will yield you about 600 gallons of water.
Lets say we have some not so efficient gutters and other stuff
happening. Being conservative and lets bank on 400 gallons during
1inch of rain fall. You'll be astonished how fast 400 gallons fills up.
Hell after a summers day of Smoking briskets and ribs and drinking
beer. I can piss 400 gallons.So hopefully you see the need for as
many barrels as possible.

Some of you might be thinking. What's this hillbilly's house look like,
Sanford and Son? Insert theme song

I'm going for Ghetto Green Chic here. Clean cut lines. Clean up the
rain barrels of scuff marks and whatever else. Find a nice place for
them so they aren't a eye sore. Be creative. If everyone was doing
this. It wouldn't be a eye sore. It would be the norm. No one would
think twice about it. You can geek out and think about this on a
larger scale.

What if every home, farm, ranch, commercial building was doing this?
And what if we did this to areas that are prone to flooding, freeways,
and overpasses? We would be cutting down on erosion. Being less
dependent on government and water agency's  and less demanding on
our environment.

There is some questions to be asked. Questions like. How are you
going to filter the water so it's not toxic for future use? What will it do
to wet lands, bays, rivers, and lakes? Will wild life be negatively
effected by this ideological approach? Oh. You wanted answers. I'm
not afraid to admit it. I don't have all the answers. But on a small scale
such as your home or even apartment complex. You can use a reverse
osmosis system. This is what I'm doing.

A great resource is a hydro store. They can be had almost any where.
I like 3rd St Hydro in Oakland. They are now on 4th st downtown. I
have personally spent alot of time in this shop and they are good folks
and work on prices to help with a budget. On a larger scale. I'm sure
there are way more intelligent and skilled people to address the
answers for these questions raised. 

You don't want white or clear barrels. That is how you'll create
unwanted bacteria and algae. Go for dark colors such as, Blues,
Blacks, Grey, etc. Nor should you drink this water!!! I can't stress
this enough. If you do and you die or get horribly ill. All I can say is,
"natural selection!" I have found collecting rain water is by far the
easiest thing to do. Least amount of effort, least amount of money,
least amount of maintenance. And I notice a immediate savings.
Which to me is important.

People don't want to change their current habits because they don't
see the benefits now. That's what I like about collecting rain. You see
the savings. Where as something like Solar or wind power. It takes
time to pay off. So get off your ass and collect rain water.

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