Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Quench Your Inner Nerd

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I was recently attending a certification class in Austin through the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association; ARCSA. I overheard the following anecdote.

A woman had re-purposed an unused backyard swimming pool as a cistern to hold harvested rain water. Although the pool was covered, she admitted that she was not maintaining her system as well as she should have been. After a few months, she noticed that the water was beginning to taste funny but you could still “drink it”. Later in the year, the water just tasted “terrible” and was undrinkable. She called in an ARCSA consultant for help.

The consultant went to the site at her home in Honolulu, Hawaii. The first step of his investigation was to inspect the cistern. Upon removal of the pool cover, they were shocked to find a recently drowned cat floating in the water.  This floating feline carcass was determined to be the source of the foul tasting water. Following his recommendations, the cistern was to be drained of the contaminated water.
As the draining cistern water receded near the pool bottom, another shocking discovery was made; a complete cat skeleton, of a second cat. The cistern was professionally cleaned, refilled, and secured. The consultant’s conclusion should prove valuable to designers of future harvest systems; “One cat” water “tastes funny”, but “two cat” water….. you just can’t drink!”