Rainwater harvesting systems typically divert and store runoff from residential and commercial roofs. Often referred to as ‘clean’ runoff, roof runoff does contain pollutants (metals or hydrocarbons from roofing materials, nutrients from atmospheric deposition, bacteria from bird droppings), but they are generally in lower concentrations and absent many of the toxics present in runoff from other impervious surfaces. Installing a rainwater collection system requires diverting roof downspouts to cisterns or rain barrels to capture and store the runoff. Collection containers are constructed of dark materials or buried to prevent light penetration and the growth of algae. From the storage container, a filtration and dual plumbing system is needed for non-potable indoor uses and/or a connection to the outdoor irrigation system.
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