link to Home Page


I am an Alaska State Trooper, and every year we bag some health nut that comes to the wilderness to get back to nature. The chief cause of their death is the water barrel they drink from. I've seen catch barrel setups made from roof down drain pipes, tin roof, modern shingle roof, and various steel and scrap metals. All of these junk metal setups end up putting rust, lead and mercury into the water barrel. While modern roof catches end up putting all sort of fire retardants and chemicals in it (not to mention acid rain). Another big mistake they often do is to use 55 gal. steel drums, which leaves rust and disease in the drinking water.

More times than not they use an open barrel (no lid). This permits leaves, fungus, molds, seeds, insect larvae, bird waste, and animals saliva to collect in the barrel. Though rarely visible to the naked eye. Then of course they fail to do the most basic of requirements, boil the water before drinking. Remember, most rain barrels were used for irrigation and wash water collection, not human consumption. Rain barrels are deadly poison - if not done properly! See a professional plumber to install the right kinds of metals and always boil standing water before drinking!

Offered by Dewey.

What type of materials do they use in Alaska? We collect rain water off our roofs for drinking all over Australia (some places have nothing else). On outback properties there is no retriculated water. I'd agree the 55 gal. drum is a problem as they are mainly used for chemicals and such. The lid is correct to keep animals from using the water, (provide a separate source for them) the rest of this is rather dubious info unless there are poisonous plants nearby, as for insect larvae this indicates clean water and all else settles to the bottom and causes no problem. Boiling is only the answer for bacteria, etc., not heavy metals. The metal is not the thing to check, make sure you check out barrels that have contained anything other than food stuffs. We drink rain water direct from the tank without boiling all the time and I'm 58 years young.

Offered by Jan.