Stand Alone Rainwater Harvesting System
Ashphalt roofs and rain barrels
by RainSaucers Inc. on May 25th, 2011

We've always known intuitively that rainwater off an asphalt roof was not something you want to drink or use on edibles. If you've ever been up on a roof, you know that its home to birds, pollution, not to mention what remains in the gutters year after year. First flush or not, the notion of using water that has first passed over shingles without being treated is less than appetizing (fine for nonedibles however).

Now there is some real data out there that least supports the notion that asphalt roof runoff is not a legitimate source of potable water. A recent study commissioned by the Texas Water Development Board and conducted by the Cockrell School of Engineering of rooftop water quality found that rainwater from asphalt fiberglass shingle roofs contains high levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Water with DOC is not necessarily dangerous on its own, but when it’s mixed with chlorine — a common product used to disinfect water — the two substances react to form byproducts that potentially cause cancer and other negative human health effects.

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