Asphalt Rain Water Collection

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Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby LeeMorgan » Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:28 pm

Does anyone know the toxicity of collecting water from an asphalt roof? I know that tar shingles are not the best, but the water does not just sit on the roof and then get collected, especially during a downpour. If the water was really flowing and then run through a filter like the Sawyer All In One, how bad would the water be for you? Does anyone have any hard data?
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Re: Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby Comrad » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:02 pm

I don't have any hard data, but I couldn't see there being anything wrong with it. I suppose the only thing that might be an issue with asphalt would be the solvents used during its installation (diesel, etc...) but that would only be the case if it was brand new. If it had rained a few times to wash anything initially off, then I would be fine to drink any water coming off it.

If you were concerned, you could install a "first-flush" system with a simple dropper tee, and a slow drip hole in the bottom of it, instead of the complicated check-valve design ones. I usually don't worry about it, I drink rain water as-is. I don't filter it or anything. I have a bit of a mesh on the tank outlet to stop any mosquito larva going in my glass, but other than that, I just drink it all. I figure that humans have been doing it for a hundred thousand years, any contaminants in the rain water (stored in an appropriate vessel) would only serve to strengthen my immune system.
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Re: Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby dustingebhardt » Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:30 pm

One thing to consider with asphalt/felt shingles is that many of them come with copper or other biocides in them, typically to prevent the growth of unsightly black mold/mildew/whatever. I don't know if the copper/stuff washes away over time or it is a part of the color granules, which ideally don't wash off during normal rain events.

Additionally, you need to consider your environment. Do you live near areas where agricultural sprays are being applied and could collect on your roof? Do you live in an urban environment where smog, soot, dust, or other stuff could accummulate? Do you live near industrial facilites that can discharge pollution that can produce slight amounts of acid rain, which would make any of the previously mentioned issues more significant. What about "natural" products, like pollen? I know that when the pine trees in NC are in bloom, I would not want to drink any water from my roof that had not first gone through a filtration system, and a first-flow diverter isn't going to cut it.
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Re: Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby LeeMorgan » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:58 am

Both great thoughts. I know that some copper is ok since you can get copper rain gutters that automatically partially disinfect the water, although they are probably quite expensive. I agree that filtering first would be my guess, but I was more worried about potential heavy metals or whatever that might get through the filter. Only way I know of disinfecting that is through using a still.
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Re: Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby dustingebhardt » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:49 pm

A Berkey filter should take care of the heavy metals, or make up a batch of activated charcoal first, then send it through the Berkey. I already make my own charcoal for my grilling needs, so I suppose making activated charcoal or biochar wouldn't be much more difficult.
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Re: Asphalt Rain Water Collection

Postby Comrad » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:34 am

Copper definitely isn't going hurt you. I'm not sure what its like where you guys live, but here, everyone's water pipes are copper. I know the Romans used to use lead pipes, and that obviously wasn't a great idea, but we've gained a slightly better chemical/toxicity knowledge since then, and we wouldn't be using it in the pipes if it was harmful.

If you still want to filter, Berkey is definitely the way to go. If you want to kill any biological organisms, just boil it. It's not like you need to boil it for ages, 30 seconds is more than enough, once water boils, unless you suddenly increase the barometric pressure its not getting any hotter, no matter how long you boil it for.
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