Tag: Homeowner (Page 1 of 2)

Designing an infiltration trench

Eventual design from a Rainwater Harvesting book.

Eventual design from a Rainwater Harvesting book.

If you have been following along recently, you will have learned that Rainwater is the fountain of life, that you have the ability to Reduce Urban Runoff. The City of Santa Monica has a program designed specifically to Capture Urban Runoff with a guide and a worksheet to build the best rainwater capturing system for your site. You will heave learned that drainage gravel takes up considerable space in the ground, perhaps there are better options available?

“Whether you have a gardening green thumb or solar panels on your roof, capturing rainwater at home is the next logical step towards our natural resource independence.”

Our latest article in this series discussed placing a rainwater infiltration basin in an area away from underground utilities, on or near current drainage piping and away from high trafficked areas. With every project it is a good idea to draw up some design plans which we can utilize to properly build our system.

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The Original Residential Recycled Water Fill Station Closes for Expansion Project

DSRSD Recycled Water Fill Station

DSRSD Recycled Water Fill Station

On Tuesday, December 6th 2016, Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) awarded a contract to upgrade their recycled water facility to produce more recycled water. This project will increase plant production by 70%, leading to an increase from 9.7 MGD (million gallons a day) to 16.2 MGD. Work is scheduled to begin in January 2017 and last 18 months until the fall of 2018. Continue reading

How to: Where to Build a Rainwater Infiltration Basin

In our article titled “Why do we talk about rainwater harvesting?”,  8 principles of rainwater harvesting are discussed, as noted from the book titled “Rainwater Harvesting For Drylands and Beyond” written by Brad Lancaster.

These principles are:

  • Begin with Long and Thoughtful Observation
  • Start at the Top – or Highpoint – of Your Watershed and Work Your Way Down
  • Start Small and Simple
  • Spread and Infiltrate the Flow of Water
  • Always Plan for an Overflow Route, and Manage That Overflow Water as Resource
  • Maximize Living and Organic Groundcover
  • Maximize Beneficial Relationships and Efficiency by ‘Stacking Functions’
  • Continually Reassess Your System: The ‘Feedback Loop’

These principles were put to use to find the best place on my property to build an infiltration basin.

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Why Do I Haul Recycled Water?

Utility pump connected to 150 gallon water bladder.

Utility pump connected to 150 gallon water bladder.

By my calculations, I have hauled over 23,000 gallons of recycled water since buying my first tank in 2014. In that span, I have made 159 trips to and from a fill station, driven over 1,100 miles while carrying an extra 1250 pounds in my truck. I have since purchased a new set of tires and what do I have to show for it? My water bill is down 92% from 2013 levels and my drought tolerant yard has never been greener.

I happily haul recycled water because it is the right thing to do.

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DIY: How to prime a utility water pump

Hydrostar Pump from Harbor Freight

For anyone that hauls recycled water, whether it be in a water bladder, 275 gallon tote or a 50 gallon barrel, a pump is a great tool to use to unload water fast. In this post I’ll show you how to prime a pump.

It is very easy to prime a pump, especially when the hose on the suction side of the pump is already full of water. I have removed the vent plug on my Hydrostar Portable Utility Pump and installed a small ball valve to act as an air relief.

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El Niño Could Lower Tax Bill

Water storage in Texas.

Water storage in Texas.

California usually sets the stage for policy when it comes to environmental issues. When it comes to rainwater harvesting, we are far behind. As we face this drought to drench, we should have the drive and motivation to capture as much rain was we can.  Even with reservoirs rising 391 billion gallons after a storm, we’re still short of average for this time of year.

Many call for building more dams or raising their levels to store more water – but all of that comes at a price and an environmental impact.

To put things into perspective, think of this call-to-action as de ja vu.  Back when installing photo-voltaic panels (solar panels) on homeowners roof’s was something deemed unworthy has now turned into a economic boom for the state. Nearly every neighborhood has dozens of homes covered in panels. Those power generation stations were funded with tax rebates. Rainwater harvesting should be no different.

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DIY: Flush the crud from your hot water heater

I am a homeowner with a hot water heater. I also living in a water service area with dissolved solids in the water supply. Combine the two in a hot water vessel and something happens. The dissolved solids drop out of suspension and form a coating on the bottom of the heater. Unfortunately, this also reduces the efficiency of the heat transfer from burning natural gas into heating water for showers or laundry.

But did you know, using the tools you probably already have at home, you can flush this crud out of your hot water heater, water the plants in your yard and increase efficiency and the life span of your hot water heater? I’m going to show you how.
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Capturing Rainwater for Landscape Plantings

Hydrologic Cycle (image: Beaver River Watershed)

Hydrologic Cycle

Percolation. This may be new rainwater term to most homeowners, but it is a term and activity that we need to embrace. Simply put, it refers to keeping rainwater on the land and letting it flow into the ground, ultimately replenishing ground water.

An inch of rain falling on about 1600 square feet of rooftop will produce about 1,000 gallons of run-off. Capturing this water on the property at the start and end of the rainy season will lessen irrigation needs and help plants cope with drought conditions.

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Recycled Water in the Vegetable Garden

Tomato plants water with recycled water.

Tomato plants watered with recycled water.

Last summer Bret hauled a lot of recycled water. His front yard was lush and green while his neighbors’ yards were brown. Given the mandatory water rationing California experienced due to drought, he had to find new ways to water his vegetable garden. If recycled water made his grass really green, what would it do to tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, sunflowers, kale, or romaine lettuce?

“I was nervous at first, but decided to use recycled water anyway due to the city watering rations. I read about other places that used it on crops so I figured I would give it a shot,” said Bret G., recycled water hauler and friend of the blog.  Continue reading

Clear Leaves from Storm Drains

Leaves blocking drain after rain.

As homeowners, we are responsible for the trees on our property. That means when trees decide to lose their leaves, we are responsible for where they go. If you’re anything like my neighbors – your mind says “if the leaves are in the street, it’s not my problem.”

Except, they are your problem. Too many leaves blocking a storm drain can cause flooding in heavy El Nino rains. Flooding leads to impassable streets, safety hazards and possibly property damage.

You have the power and ability to help keep your community safe during winter storms. If you feel up to the task, jump in and help out.

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