Drinking Rainwater: Safe or Risky?
The collection of rainwater is an incredible method for preserving and conserving resources. In fact, certain individuals use water for watering plants, cleaning, washing, or drinking. In any case, it is critical that the water filtration system is regularly maintained and appropriately monitored, and the water quality should be fitting for the intended use.
So, the million-dollar question is, is it protected to collect and drink rainwater? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are various pollutants that can mix in the water, like microscopic organisms or bacteria, infections, parasites, dust, smoke particles, and different synthetic compounds. On the off chance that you collect rainwater from a rooftop, it could likewise contain traces left by animals and insects, like bird poop, and in the event that the rooftop or drainpipes are old, materials, for example, asbestos, lead and copper could likewise wind up in your tank. If, by chance, that water is put away in an open container, it might additionally be loaded with insects and decaying organic matter, like dead leaves. Thus, the CDC prompts against collecting and drinking rainwater yet suggests involving it for different purposes, like watering plants.
Be that as it may, the levels of these pollutants can differ altogether, contingent upon where you reside, and the risk of sickness relies heavily on how much rainwater you drink. In the event that you have a spotless and clean collection system and appropriately clean the water, either with synthetics or by boiling and distillation, then, at that point, the majority of the pollutants can be eliminated. This has prompted a ton of disarray about whether rainwater is risky or safe to drink.
However, presently, in the modern time of human-made synthetic (or chemical) substances, there's another risk related to drinking rainwater. In a study review distributed in August 2022 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, specialists found that water all around the globe has concentrations of harmful PFAS (per-and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) that surpass the existing health guidelines and standards. These discoveries imply that drinking rainwater is most certainly dangerous to drink, particularly assuming it is untreated.
1.1 What is PFAS
PFAS is an aggregate term for in excess of 1,400 human-made chemicals and substances that have generally been utilized for a scope of products, including textiles, firefighting foams, nonstick pans, food packaging, artificial turf, and guitar strings. As such, they are often labeled as "forever chemicals" because they never break down in the environment. Moreover, there are four (4) perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) that denote biological impacts: perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA).
They are found all over the place - in air, soil, and water, as well as in wildlife, plants, and people. They can be tracked down on the most elevated mountains, in the profound seas, and on the two poles. As per the US Environmental Protection Agency, there are more than 12,000 of these synthetic compounds or chemicals that are being used. They have been delivered and involved for an enormous scope in a large number of modern and business applications since WWII.
Previous studies have shown that these synthetic substances or chemicals are very poisonous and can cause a large number of issues —including various kinds of cancer, infertility, pregnancy entanglements, developmental issues, immune system conditions, and different illnesses of the guts, liver, and thyroid — as well as possibly decline the viability of vaccines in children.
1.2 Contaminated Rainwater
For the four well-established PFAS, people are exposed principally through food, drinking water, and family dust. Food and drinking water are polluted essentially by the climate. For the bigger class of PFAS, human exposure pathways change tremendously, and there are a large number of other PFAS that are not checked or learned by any stretch of the imagination, so we don't realize anything about their exposure levels or poison levels, which is quite concerning.
There are ways of eliminating PFAS from water. However, it isn't clear on the off chance that the levels can be brought underneath the most recent health advisories and warnings. Standard vacuuming can diminish dust exposure. However, it is absolutely impossible to eliminate PFAS from food. Accordingly, it is beyond the realm of possibilities to totally keep away from openness to low-even-out PFAS. Unfortunately, there is really nothing much to do, but for people should live with it.
1.3 Factors That Affect Rainwater Quality
Pure rainwater collection that falls straightforwardly from the sky is adequately clean to drink, yet water seldom stays pure as it makes landfall. Downpour water can wash away toxins in the air and ashore, so you can't be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that drinking water is really great for you. A few variables might influence the virtue of the water, making it hazardous to drink rainwater, such as Air pollution, Acid rain, Dirty containers, Debris from homes, Leaves, and other contaminants.
For example, the water going through your drains is exceptionally debased and contaminated with buildup from the brown haze, littered leaves, and bird crap. Water from these sources is most certainly unsafe to drink. Try not to drink water when the corrosive downpour, otherwise known as Acid rain, is available too, or then again, assuming you live in a space with a lot of chemical plants or power plants.
1.4 Collecting Rainwater as Drinking Water
Many individuals are harvesting rainwater for use in their gardens, as well as cleaning the house, washing, or in any event, for use in lakes and aquariums. Water is normally soluble and contains broken-down minerals, and it is accepted to give various advantages like diminishing water consumption costs and giving a naturally-purified water supply.
In any case, water isn't clean all of the time. If you must, you should continuously do rainwater harvesting in an open region, where the water won't move off rooftops, walls, shafts, or different pollutants. This will build the possibility of gathering the purest water quality from rainwater.
Furthermore, you can utilize a huge, net-shrouded compartment to do rainwater harvesting. As rain tumbles from the sky, your compartment tops off while sifting through any debris that washes away in the downpour. Select homes are fitted with water-reaping systems also, which are associated with the drains, and consequently separated for use in the home.
1.5 Rainwater Harvesting and Treatment - Is It Possible?
Is there a method for treating water subsequent to harvesting? Indeed, you can gather water and treat it at home utilizing filters and heat. Drinking clean water builds alkalinity in your body and may work on your skin and hair. Rainwater kills the corrosiveness levels in your circulatory system, prompting fewer gastric issues, and further developing blood oxygenation.
To be more exact, read on several ways below on how to treat rainwater to ensure clean and safe drinking water.
Rainwater Treatment Methods
In general, there are a lot of rainwater harvesting systems that are done by involving surface runoff or spillover in metropolitan regions. In certain circumstances, surface water might be utilized for farming. In another framework, rainfall and water are moved to the surface and put away as a water supply.
Water can contain pollutants, animal toxins, and particles that are considered "toxic" or poisonous. The collected water ought to be filtered and treated prior to being utilized as water for daily consumption. Water could likewise contain sullied soils, animal dung, or different substances debasing people. So collected rainwater ought to be cleaned to guarantee its protected use.
The harvesting of water from homes started right off the bat. Water stores are utilized for drinking water and different purposes. As a result of the event of Earth-wide global warming, water has become scarce around the world. Water levels have fallen consistently, making an absence of water, and the accessible water has become exceptionally risky on the grounds that it is so contaminated and, subsequently, can cause disease or even death for residents.
The treatment of rainwater includes two principal stages — filtration and then sterilization by chlorine or UV illumination.
Sand Filters for Cleaning Harvested Rain Water
First on the list are sand filters which can give a safe and environmentally friendly strategy for dealing with rainwater collected for washing garments or baths. During the filtration time frame, slow sand can altogether lessen microscopic organisms, bacteria, and protozoan defilement yet can't eliminate infections. By and large, it includes a layer of sand (or gravel) on plastic or substantial compartments. This filter shapes a bioactivated layer that increments protection against disease-causing pollutants and bacteria.
Ultraviolet Sterilization of RainWater
A good strategy for disinfecting water is utilizing UV light. All things considered, it was utilized by Europeans almost a hundred years back, and presently it has been generally taken on in numerous states and countries. The UV lighting strategy channels water first through a filtration system. UV light sterilization expects the water to have little to no residue, so the reaped water should go through a filtration process, being initially subjected to a sediment filter, for example, an activated carbon channel.
In the event that the water doesn't enter the water channel, the microorganism creates a shaded area over the water, empowering the live microbes to enter safely. UV light infiltrates cells and forestalls generation in this manner, making them innocuous. UV lights can modify the water's synthetic substance without leaving any results. In addition to that, ultraviolet light offers an effective method of sterilization by impeding pathogen-producing cells.
UV Light For Rainwater Treatment
UV light and water treatment go well together. UV water disinfection systems use UV-C light to obliterate unsafe organic entities that might be present in the water, giving a protected, clean supply of drinking water. UV lights additionally give a brilliant method for killing microbes on surfaces that come into contact with crude sewage or different sources of contamination, as well as those found in storm-water spillover from roads and rooftops.
UV light is a successful method for killing toxins, pollutants, and different microorganisms that can be tracked down in the water. UV lights are ordinarily utilized for sterilization; however, they additionally help to eliminate chlorine from drinking water. UV radiation works by changing the DNA of these living beings so that they can no longer reproduce.
UV light filtration isn't destructive or poisonous to people since it doesn't infiltrate humans profoundly by any stretch of the imagination, and that implies that UV lights are good choices for use around individuals and creatures. In fact, in the currently prevailing ebb and flow of water emergencies, UV light is being utilized as a primary solution. UV lights can refine water by killing microbes and toxins that can cause ailments or damage individuals' well-being. Ultimately, UV light technology has been around for a long while now and has been demonstrated viable in numerous locales, including India, China, and Taiwan, and that's only the tip of the iceberg!
Ultraviolet Light Filtration Systems
UV light filtration systems are a fundamental piece of any water treatment system since they eliminate microorganisms, viruses, and different foreign substances from your drinking water, making it more secure to drink. Likewise, the ultraviolet light filtration system can dispose of these dangerous microorganisms without utilizing synthetic substances, toxic chemicals, or extra power supplies by saddling bright energy with UV light.
As such, UV light assumes a pivotal part in water treatment. Its bright beams kill microorganisms and separate natural matter, diminishing the risk of pollution from harmful bacteria and viruses. For your convenience, they can be integrated into a current tank, or it could be important to have a different holding tank for the UV light that is utilized to treat the water before it enters your home.
Chlorine Sterilization of RainWater
Utilizing chlorine to disinfect drinking water makes it simple to produce consumable water after it's been "filtered" out. For water tanks of fifty (50) liters, 250 mg of chlorine ought to be added for sterility. Thereafter, a portion of 25mg of chlorine per liter is required.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Berkey Water Filter is also a good choice to filter rainwater and make it suitable for human consumption.
Health Risks Associated With Collected Rainwater/Harvested Rainwater
Every year, waterborne illnesses torment a huge number of individuals, fundamentally those living without clean, safe, and reliable drinking water in developing countries. The so-called waterborne diseases are ailments brought about by tiny organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, that are ingested through polluted water or by collecting rainwater. Needless to say, these diseases pose a significant health hazard.
On the off chance that each individual in the world had the option to execute safe sanitation and cleanliness and approach clean water, these sicknesses wouldn't exist. Legislatures, NGOs, and networks themselves have taken extraordinary steps in the beyond 20 years to end waterborne illnesses. In any case, the "steps" taken are not enough, as access to clean drinking water is not yet widely available.
Typhoid fever is rampant in developing countries; it's assessed that up to 20 million individuals overall experience the ill effects of the said sickness every year. It's spread through debased food, hazardous water, and poor sanitation, and it is exceptionally infectious or contagious.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, fatigue (or exhaustion), sweating, and diarrhea or constipation.
Cholera is usually found in health emergencies, especially in marginalized villages, where poverty and poor sanitation are out of this world. The illness is spread through contaminated water and causes serious dehydration and runs of diarrhea. Cholera can be lethal inside the space of days or even long stretches of exposure to microorganisms, yet just one out of ten individuals will foster perilous side effects.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle cramps.
Escherichia Coli (E. coli)
E. coli is a bacteria with different strains, some hazardous and some helpful. For instance, E. coli microscopic organisms are significant in making a sound digestive system. Be that as it may, assuming animal waste has found its direction into farmland where produce is developed or on the other hand, if kinds of E. coli are spread through the method involved with making ground beef, the people who drink these food varieties could encounter side effects of the waterborne ailment. The microscopic organisms are additionally found in risky water sources all over the world where human water sources and dairy cattle exist together.
Symptoms include stomach cramps and pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.