May 7 , 2000
If It Ever Rains Again...
This winter and spring have been exceptionally dry (so far). This is quite a contrast to last year's weather. It seemed that while I was building the frame of the house it did nothing but rain, but now that the roof is up it hasn't rained hardly at all. To make things worse, I decided to connect the down spouts to the cistern. (Yes, I'm the one responsible for the dry weather. It's Murphy's Law at work!)
I have become quite concerned over brush fires of late. In March, the La Crosse area had it's first major brush fire and I suspect there might be more on the way if the weather stays dry. For this reason, I am spending extra time making sure that the grass stays trimmed and I'm also keeping any combustibles away from the house and pole barn.
Back to the cistern... As you recall, I designed the cistern to include a backup holding tank. I may still do this sometime in the future, but for the time being I have constructed a system that does not use an above ground storage tank.
The first task to complete was designing a piping system to take the runoff from the roof to the cistern. At first, I considered using 6" PVC pipe from the down spouts to the roof washer. I found that this option was not only quite costly, but it would be difficult finding 22.5 degree elbows for 6" pipe. I then considered using 4" PVC pipe with 22.5 degree elbows, but decided to go with flexible 4" drain tile. The drain tile is easier to install and it just might help filter some of the sediment through its corrugated structure.
I also found drain components that are made for drain tile that I could easily attach to the down spouts. I modified these "buckets" to screen out leaves, etc. before they go any further into the system. I'm not sure if the 4" drain tile will handle the heaviest of downpours, but it should handle the majority of the gentler rains. It's an experiment, so I'll report later on how well it works.
Both drain tiles (from each down spout) empty into an eight foot length of 6" PVC pipe. This is the roof washer. The roof washer will take the initial rainwater from the roof and dump it down in this tube. If there's to be any "icky" water, it should get dumped here first.
After the 6" tube is full, the excess water will flow out of the 6" tube (near the top) to a 4" pipe that leads to the cistern.
If the cistern is full, the bottom of the 6" tube is fitted with a 90 degree elbow that has a plug in it. This plug can be removed and replaced with a 50' length of drain tile (exit tube) that will move the water down the hill and away from the house. This plug will also allow me to clean out the roof washer.
As stated earlier, this is all an experiment that hopefully will soon be tested once we get some rain. We'll see with time how well this works out. If it doesn't, I'll go back to the original plan. At this point, I haven't invested a lot of money. If I end up going to another tank, that will increase the cost of the system by at least $300 or so.
Now if it would only rain.