How to Purify Rainwater for Drinking

Potable Rainwater Video

Click to watch how BlueBarrel customer Rob Greenfield purifies his rainwater for drinking.

Published September 16, 2016 

September is National Emergency Preparedness month – established to encourage us to think about what we would do in the event of a natural disaster, or any emergency that stops the flow of daily life. These days, emergencies seem increasingly likely as we witness floods, fires, and more impact the nation from coast to coast. 

While it’s easy to think it could never happen to you, emergencies are something we all need to prepare for. Haunting stories like Flint, Michigan’s lead-poisoned water, the 2014 West Virginia chemical spill, and of course the infamous Exxon-Valdez oil spill remind us that nobody is immune. Now is a good time to think through what you might do if you suddenly couldn’t drink the water that comes from your tap.

Rainwater for Emergency Preparedness

The good news is, preparedness doesn’t need to be difficult. If you have a rainwater catchment system in place, you’re halfway there already. Just choose from a variety of ways to purify rainwater for drinking, and you’ll have more peace of mind when it comes to emergency water sources.

The environmental benefits of rainwater harvesting are what motivate most of our customers to install rain barrels. These positive environmental impacts make our households and communities more resistant to emergency in the first place. They also make us more resilient, should disaster strike.

But emergency preparedness is also a popular benefit. Knowing you have hundreds or even thousands of gallons of high-quality water stored on-site brings tremendous peace of mind.

In fact our flagship product offering, the BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System™ is specifically designed to let you take advantage of both benefits. BlueBarrel’s unique under-plumbed design, including isolation valves, allow you to hold water in some barrels (should you ever need it in case of emergency), while fully draining others for primary non-potable uses, which for most people includes irrigation.

While collected rainwater is high quality water, it has been exposed to anything that’s on your roof. This means it is not potable (i.e. you can’t drink it) without treating it first.

The good news is, it’s there are many easy ways to treat non-potable water for drinking, should you need to. Stored rainwater has similar bacterial load to a creek or stream in nature. There are a variety of home-scale and portable water treatment methods available at sporting-goods or outdoor retailers. From tablets to carbon filters to uv light, find a method or two that fit your style and budget. Then enjoy the peace of mind that preparedness gives you. 

(Watch our customer Rob Greenfield’s quick video showing how he purifies his water for every-day drinking using the AquaCera Traveler XL Water Filtration System from Berkey water.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: BlueBarrel specializes in rainwater catchment systems made from recycled (once-used) barrels. Ours is a non-potable water storage solution, intended for garden irrigation and other non-potable uses. While any water can become an emergency backup supply with proper treatment, BlueBarrel does not sell potable water storage or treatment solutions, and we do not endorse specific methods for treating stored water to safe drinking standards. This article contains informational content only and does not constitute professional advice.


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