For many, the benefits of watering with reverse osmosis or rain water may not be worth the time, energy or money it costs to set up. However for others with really poor quality water like me, it could also be a very good idea for the health of your trees.
In a few months I will be returning my old Reverse Osmosis system to the original owner. This person was very kind in letting me borrow his for the past year or so, but it's time to get my own. Because of this I bought a new one and updated my watering set up. I've posted the results below with a little write up about what I did in hopes that it may give you some ideas if you have poor water quality like me. I'm now using a combo of collected rain water and reverse osmosis water for my trees.
Here's what my new overall set up looks like:
My new RO system is housed inside this small rubber made shed. I drilled holes in the side of the container to put the lines through, so I can completely shut the door and keep the RO fully covered. Both the RO system and the rain barrels empty into the trash can on the right.
The water is pumped out of the trash can using this electric submersible pump, through my hose and finally out of my watering wand.
After doing some research online and reading some good reviews, I decided to go with this Stealth RO 200 made by Hydro Logic. The system costs about $220 on Amazon and is made by the same company who produced the old RO I was using called The Merlin. This new system costs only a fraction of the price compared with the Merlin, but also only produces good water at the rate of about 20% compared with the Merlin. The Stealth also produces slightly better quality water, by filtering a greater amount of particles compared with The Merlin.
Here's a picture which shows a comparison of the good(blue line) and bad water(black water) being produced from the new Stealth. I have the black line connected to a much larger line running to my lawn in the front yard.
The Merlin RO produced about 1000 gallons per day and was considered a "Tankless" system. The Merlin produced water fast enought so I could just turn the RO system on until the trash can was full. This would usually take anywhere from 10 minutes to about 1.5 hours depending. Because the Stealth is 80% slower, this time around I drilled a hole in the can so I could install this float pump.
Here's a pic of the RO water filling the can with the float pump installed.
Once the water level forces the white plastic piece to a set level, both the water from the blue and black lines shut off. This makes things much more convenient, because now I don't have to worry about forgetting to turn the RO off or guessing when the can is full. I'd highly recommend using a float pump if your going to use an RO system.
In addition to the RO water filling the trash can, I set up these three 55 gallon food grade barrels to collect rain water. I found them on Craigslist for $20/each from an olive oil farm. If I could do it over, I'd suggest finding barrels with removable tops. I ended up having to cut large holes in the tops to clean them out and insert the fittings. You'd be surprised at how much water comes off your roof and at how fast these guys fill up. I got a bit more than what's shown from one short drizzle.
There are several ways you could link your barrels together. Just Youtube rain barrel construction for other options. Personally I used these fittings below which you should be able to find in the PVC section of any hardware store. To help get a better seal, I used PVC cement around all the threads. No leaks so far.
To drill the correct size holes, I used a bit like this.
I also used PVC cement on the insides of the fittings which the flexible PVC tube inserts into.
To add the facet head, I just drilled a hole using the bit shown above and threaded the head into the barrel adding PVC cement around the threads.
Here's a picture showing the pressure coming out of the first barrel.
I cut an old hose and connected the threaded side to the faucet tap and the other end through a hole in the trash can.
Here's what the inside of the can looks like when both the RO and Rain Barrels are filling my can. The light gray hose shows the water pressure from the rain barrels.
To help filter the rain water, I used two-dollar store colanders, with two sheets of aluminum window screen in between them. There are pre made screen filters you can buy, but this was a lot less expensive. I also wanted something that was east to take apart and clean.
For now, i'm using trash can lids to cover the barrels. The colander filter is right below where the gutter drains into. I also fitted another plastic pot with window screen and fitted it around the gutter opening.
I also plan to install an overflow line near the top of the last barrel and run the line to the lawn in my front yard. But, that's about it for now-So there you have it, my new watering system. Thanks for looking, really appriciate it!