Three Simple Rainwater Tank Maintenance Tips for Farm Owners

When access to treated municipal water is impossible, you may opt for the good-old rainwater storage. Prudent management of water is equally important for an environmentally conscious individual. Even if you have piped water on your property, a rainwater tank can significantly reduce the household water bills while relieving pressure on this scarce resource. However, a rainwater tank will need regular maintenance to be efficient, and to ensure quality and safety of the water. Here are some maintenance tips for farm owners.

First Flush Diverters -- When it rains for the first time, there is a likelihood that dirt and dust have accumulated on your gutters and roof. Since you cannot regularly wash these collection surfaces every time before it rains, the best alternative is to use flush diverters. The diverters enable the first water collected on the roof to bypass the water tank and flow into drains instead. You will have to install the system in the down-pipes to enable the diversion of the first water. Subsequent rainwater will be redirected into the tank through a ball and seat mechanism. This system by no means replaces your routine roof cleaning regimen.

Remove Sludge at the Bottom of the Tank -- Over time, sludge will always accumulate at the bottom of your tank. You may want to remove this sludge before it builds up to the water exit level. The sediments may contain pollutants and chemicals that can be harmful to humans, animals, and crops if they exit through the taps. It is recommended that you check your tank every two years, and clear the tank of the sludge accumulation. You should know that this cleaning may need you to empty the tank.

Clean Gutters, Pipes, and Roofs -- When debris accumulates in gutters and pipes, water will stagnate, allowing the growth of algae and slimes. Birds' feces, dead animals, and leaves are the common debris found in gutters. Algae and slimes can cause your drinking water to have an unpleasant aftertaste or smell. Furthermore, some algae can be a source of ill health. Ensure that you keep all the pipes and gutters clean, especially for U-bend designs that may not flush fully. Use access points of these U-bends to clean, or disassemble and clean them according to the manufacturer's instructions. You may also consider installing a gutter meshing to prevent accumulation of debris. Ensure that the water collection surface is not made of hazardous materials, such as lead or asbestos. These toxic materials can easily wash into the fresh water in the tank.