What contaminents are in run off water, from asphalt shingle roofs?

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I have a rain barrel that catches run-off from the down spout. I have an asphalt shingle roof. What contaminents are likely to be present (other than bird poop, of course) in the water from such a source? I understand about airborn chemicals that might wash down with the rain. I'm asking specifically about what might be leached out of the shingles. Thanks

-- Bokonon (bokonon@my-deja.com), August 12, 1999


Bokonon - I have never heard a satisfactory answer to this. If your house was recently reshingled and you know who the manufacturer is, you could inquire there about the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Modern shingles tend to be mostly fiberglas; very old shingles could contain some asbestos. I would expect some petroleum and the rubbly aggregate if the shingles are getting old.

A rule of thumb is to bypass the "first flush" from a storm which tends to carry off the worst of the accumulating pollutants. There have also been suggestions to throw a tarp over your roof so the rain never touches the shingles. By filtering the water (coffee filters would help) you will remove whatever contaminants have adsorbed to the particulates.

I will use my rain barrels mostly to water my garden (assuming, of course, it ever rains again...)

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), August 12, 1999.

Brooks, Thanks for the response.
Watering my garden is what I will go back to using it for, if nothing happens. I want to get contaminents info for, you know, just in case.
Y2K has actually opened my eyes to a whole realm of self-sufficiency items, that just make good sense, in my so-called normal life. Not only does the rain barrel give me a source of drinking water, if I need it, I needed to get the downspout out of the ground, anyway (Had an underground leak).
It's been that way with the vast majority of my preps. I've been slapping myself in the head and saying, "I should done this decades ago!"

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), August 12, 1999.

Hey folks, consider that a crow or buzzard or whatever carrion eating bird just took a dump on yor roof after eating a 3 day old roadkill sewer rat. That dump probably contains 6 different kinds of parisites and a slew of delightful bacteria. Clean plastic tarps or any plastic sheeting is safe........... It doesn't take much to give you a 3 day case of the runs and maby a chronic case of hookworm or giardia. Be careful what you put in your body................

-- Zeda (rickster@n-jcenter.com), August 12, 1999.

This doesn't specifically answer your question but ...

I lived in Bermuda for 7 years. Bermuda is a relatively small island (about 1 mile wide at the widest point, and about 14 miles long as the crow flies). Because of the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean to every square foot, there are VERY FEW wells, and those that are there tend to be somewhat brackish. Almost all of the houses use the roofs to collect water which is then stored in "catchments", or tanks, frequently connected to the house. (If you go to a hotel there, they generally use distillation plants).

Dust, bird doots, leaves, etc, collect on the roof between periods of rain. The leaves are strained out before going in the tank, but not the rest. Over a period of time, the tank collects a layer of sediment (mud) in the bottom. Every so often, you need to drain the tank and shovel out the crud. It smells like clam flats. Clorox is added to the water to help kill any harmful (or beneficial) bacteria.

Moral: Dust is another contaminent that will end up in your barrel. I can't speak of the shingles (they don't generally use them there), but definitely add some form of bleach to the water. I don't remember the ratio, but I think it was similar to what others are recommending for storing water in bottles.


-- Tim Jacob (tjacob@nb.aibn.com), August 13, 1999.

Take a sample to your local environmental cleanup specialist for testing. Anyone with a well should do the same. The testing here in the NW costs about $25.00. Cheep insurance.

-- Richard Bloom (rfbloom@uswest.net), August 19, 1999.

Don't use a " black plastic sheet " ( visqueen (sp) ), most have a oily surface layer and the rest rip easaly ( not to mention it tastes bad and may not be to good for you : ). Get 10 mil Clear plastic sheeting, Keep it clean and roll it up between uses. Stuff degrades in UV, but will last out the first year.

Got polly tarps?

-- CT (ct@no.yr), August 19, 1999.

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