Rain Harvesting in Houston-Metal Rain Tanks, LLC
By Mike Hart
In keeping with this month’s theme of freshwater scarcity and everyday sustainability we are pleased to Spotlight Metal Rain Tanks, LLC, a Houston startup company. For the past four years Nell Wheeler and Dean Cook have been manufacturing and installing tanks for rain water harvesting, and, yes, rain water harvesting is legal in the state of Texas. Rainwater harvesting is part of the state plan for water conservation. In addition, there is no state sales tax on rainwater items and many Texas communities encourage it with various tax breaks and incentives and under Texas law, Homeowners’ Associations cannot prohibit rainwater collection.
They originally used galvanized iron for its nostalgic look but found that today’s galvanized isn’t what it was decades ago, Today’s galvanized tanks only have a life expectancy of about 15 years, and that’s only if they’ve been coated internally with a toxic fume producing epoxy. So they switched to stainless steel because it lasts practically forever, and it does not require a plastic/epoxy coating which produces toxic vapors. Currently about half of their tanks are installed in the Houston area and the rest are shipped out all over the country.
The primary uses for the rainwater harvested are irrigation and storm water retention. Rainwater contains no chlorine or chloramines but does have some dissolved nitrogen which is good for plants. If you are currently watering your lawn, flower beds, trees and garden with tap water, you can save money and continue to water during the summer even during water restriction days. Your green lawn will be truly green. In Houston, adding impervious surface frequently requires storm water detention. Usually, this takes the form of a rainwater retention pond to hold the run off for a while and then release. Rainwater tanks can accomplish the same purpose in less space.
Harvested rainwater can be used for drinking and other household uses but the user would have to be responsible for its testing and treatment. It is possible to do this even inside the city, but a system that will pass the city building code is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. However, in rural west Texas rainwater harvesting and filtration is more cost effective than drilling a well.
As the aquifers become more depleted and surface water becomes more difficult to treat, rainwater harvesting will become more important and more cost effective. Even today it is another way to conserve our scarce resources of fresh water and make our world a little greener.
For more information about rainwater harvesting and Metal Rain Tanks go to their website metalraintanks.com or call them at 832-630-9556.
Metal Rain Tanks, LLC
PO Box 21534
Houston TX 77226