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  • Writer's pictureJason Ferguson

Can I use rainwater for my PWS?

In general, it is not recommended to use rainwater collection for a Public Water System (PWS). This is because PWSs are subject to strict regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which sets standards for water quality and requires regular testing and reporting to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

While rainwater is generally considered safe for many uses, including irrigation and some domestic uses, it can be contaminated with various pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and other contaminants that can pose health risks to humans if not treated properly. Public water systems are required to meet specific standards for water quality, which can be challenging to achieve and maintain with rainwater collection.

That being said, there are very rare situations where rainwater collection can be used in conjunction with other sources of water to supplement a PWS. For example, rainwater can be used to offset some of the demand for municipal water in landscaping, or as an emergency backup water supply. However, in such cases, the rainwater would need to be treated to meet the SDWA's standards for water quality, and the PWS would need to be designed and operated to meet these requirements.

While rainwater collection can be a useful source of water for some purposes, it is generally not recommended as the sole source of water for a PWS. The SDWA sets strict standards for water quality, which can be difficult to meet with rainwater collection alone, and public water systems are subject to significant regulatory requirements to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

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