Rain Catchment Barrels

Ever considered rainwater catchment? For suburbanites, it may only be meaningful as a way to water the garden, but hey - it's free water!

For our trek out to Missouri, Nux and I are setting up a catchment system starting with 2 plastic 55-gallon barrels. We'll need some large surface to catch water on (a supported tarp, angled strategically so water pours where we want it? The small roof of an existing outbuilding? Who knows), but also somewhere to store it, and a few random parts and fittings to get the water out of a spigot and into our pots, bottles, and showers.

Probably one of the most exciting parts of this journey happened today - an adventure to a Pepsi bottling facility in Charlottesville, VA to pick up two free barrels. I had searched for the number online, called a few wrong numbers, and eventually had been transfered to the Production Manager, a friendly man named Francis who (though doubtful that I could fit Anything in a Mazda 626) told me he'd leave a couple barrels by the guard shack around noon.

Well, they were there alright, and they were big. For anyone planning to attempt similar stunts, please note that a small-framed driver and adventurous passenger are ideal, because you're not likely to have any room in the front seats unless you're driving a pickup! This is what the car looked like once we got them in there:


Ben said…
Hello Young Girl,

This sounds great! I live in Charlottesville and want to set up a rain catchment system for my vegetable garden, but I don't have a lot of mullah. Do you think the Pepsi plant could part with some more barrels? I imagine they are food grade since they are being used by Pepsi, which would be perfect.

HennaLion said…
Hi Ben,

Yep, they're food grade. Ours still had some soda left in them, though we were told they had been 'cleaned' - they have the fork/knife emblem stamped onto the bottom.

The last I heard, that particular Pepsi plant was saving up nearly 200 barrels to give to ... the city of Cville? Or a college? For them to distribute as rainwater barrels to interested parties.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to call the plant anyway and make contact. You might just have to wait until they've filled that order to grab a few more. Also, looking on Craigslist is sometimes fruitful.

Good luck with your garden!