Rainwater Collection Systems

Water is becoming a precious commodity for commercial buildings and factories. The cost of using potable water (water that is treated well enough to drink) to do non-potable tasks (flushing toilets, wash-down tasks, cooling tower makeup, irrigation) has become a large expense.

Build owners pay for water usage and the cost of clean drinking water continues to increase. In some cities, the storm drains and sanitary sewer lines are combined into a single stream, either at the building itself, or in the street. Thus, cities are charged with the task of treating rainwater and sanitary sewage as a single stream. Treatment facilities are being overwhelmed, and the cost to separate the lines is cost-prohibitive.

The quick way to relieve this reality is to look at alternative ways to capture and use rainwater.

Rain run-off from the roof and parking lot is free. The key is to capture rain water for non-potable use.

A rainwater collection system is comprised of a pump system, a series of piping and valves, a tank, a diverter valve and a filtration system for the first capture from the storm drains. The pump is then designed to pull water from the tank and deliver it under pressure to the intended use.

One use of rainwater in facilities is for flushing toilets. In this case, the water is pressurized and delivered to a plumbing header dedicated to some or all toilets in the facility.

Another use that is a natural for rainwater is cooling tower makeup. Buildings that employ cooling towers as part of their air conditioning system have a regular demand for makeup water, as the water in the tower evaporates during the general course of the process. This can be a significant amount of water in larger commercial towers, and is a natural for rainwater.

Of course, rainwater is also a natural for irrigation - the watering of building plants, grasses and athletic fields.

A rainwater collection system can also earn points towards earning LEEDS Certification, in that it reduces overall water usage and drainage off of a building site.

To get a rainwater collection system started in the facility, a professional from Robert Brown Associates consults with the engineer or the customer. Many factors are reviewed including where to put the tank(s), what type of material to use (plastic, steel, fiberglass, etc.), system pressure needs, and flow needs based on the usage assigned to the system.

Then the elements of the system are integrated into a single system design, with controls, and a system backup to serve the needs when rainwater supplies run low.
Existing buildings can be retrofitted using a series of tanks, where existing doorways prohibit entry of larger tanks into a building mechanical room. Tanks can be installed underground or in the basement of a building, depending on the facility.
A control system including a flow meter tells how much rainwater the facility has used and it will even calculate the savings.

Robert Brown Associates can supply all the equipment, write the specifications, and perform the startup and system maintenance on the system. A complete training is conducted with the customer for the system so that everyone understands the mechanics, controls and operations.

Rainwater collection systems have been installed in universities, hospitals food processing plants and many other facilities around the country.

Robert Brown Associates Rainwater Collection System Installations:

o Drexel University

o University of Miami

o Broughal Middle School

o Tasty Baking Company

o Friends School in Philadelphia

About Robert Brown Associates

Robert Brown Associates is a full service industrial fluid pump sales and pump systems package provider. The company has over 30 years of experience in pump installations and systems design. Robert Brown Associates was established in 1982 and utilizes facilities, engineered fluid pump staff, service personnel, service vehicles and an extensive inventory from major industrial fluid pump manufacturers. Learn more at www.rbapump.com

Robert Brown Associates

Tom Halley


6-C Mount Pleasant Road Aston PA 19014

Tel: 610.354.0200 | Fax: 610.354.0340


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