Collecting Rainwater for Drinking, with an Eye to Flint, Michigan

Trying to collect drinkable rainwater, we are back to trying plastic. I bought some 3 mil that is not especially said to be food safe, though I am sure such a thing exists: an 8×10 or so piece of food plastic. We wonder about the plastic dissolving into the water, and we won’t be leaving it in the sun. I have a frame about 3 feet off the ground, so I took dowels and wrapped the plastic around the dowels, attached this with staples, then draped this over the frame. Then small dowels were similarly wrapped into the sides, and a few staples solidifies the whole thing. Three rocks hold the center of the plastic over the hole in my 5 gallon Absopure bottle, with a coffee filter and funnel in the opening.

No one has confidence in rainwater for drinking, and this seems strange to me. I will surely test what I get, by evaporating it to see what remains, but we expect this water to be very clean.

In Flint, Michigan, water from the Flint River has caused lead poisoning throughout an entire city. No one has said yet, or even asked, why the water was dissolving the lead pipes. The whole response of government to the crisis is a fine example of why we do not trust government.

But the people of Flint might have gathered water from their roofs to wash in, in rain barrels, rather than for example trying to bathe in expensive bottled water. My method could be set up on the cyclone fence in the back corner of most yards, with three 2 by 4’s as the minimal frame. Course, the same factory that poisoned the river is probably upwind as well!

I would start a business making rainwater collectors: One of plastic, one of 100% cotton, wrapping dowels to drape over a frame with a rock and hole in the center. This is a patentable, marketable invention. So too would be a sheet of stainless steel with a card table-style folding stand. But my best would be stone, beginning with a granite collector maybe 4×6, tapered with a hole in the middle. These might be beautiful in a garden. Finally, imagine statue like sculptures, maybe with three giant clam, various inventive things, cleanable and designed to collect rainwater clean enough to drink.

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