With environmental issues increasingly at the forefront, I have had several homeowners asking about rainwater collection. The first question usually is: can I collect water on my property and is it legal?
The answer is yes but there are some rules.
It is legal in Corvallis to collect rainwater for irrigation but not for consumption. Although rainwater can be made safe for consumption it is not currently allowed anywhere in Oregon except Portland. In the future, we are likely to see changes here but for now, we are limited to irrigation only.
Even so, there are plenty of reasons to collect rainwater. First, every gallon of rainwater used is a gallon of drinking water saved. Second, in summer, water usage goes up in the garden so why not use rain that was so plentiful just months ago? In Corvallis, a 1200 square foot roof will yield over 28,000 gallons of water!
The first thing that ensures safe storage is a rain barrel that is opaque and sealed or screened for mosquito control. A downspout is connected to the top of the barrel and a spigot at the bottom. An overflow pipe is also attached and is required to flow into a location for the downspout that’s approved by the City. Remember you don’t want the barrel to overflow around the foundation of the house and create moisture and settling problems.