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Re: Is there a hidden danger in using rainwater off your roof

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Is there a hidden danger in using rainwater off your roof
  • From: Lenny Librizzi plantlot@rcn.com
  • Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2004 10:50:20 -0500

As the first line from the below referenced article states: "The literature on health aspects of RWH is surprisingly 

The Water Resources Group, a coalition of NYC greening and community garden groups, has been installing rainwater 
harvesting (RWH)systems in community gardens in NYC for the past 2 years with 20 now in use (actually drained right 
now for the winter) . As we are only using the water for non potable uses, that is, watering gardens we are using only a 
very basic filtering called a roofwasher.
For a discussion of roof washers and RWH in general see:

As for asbestos, again from:
 "Not surprisingly the safety of water harvested from ‘asbestos’ (= asbestos-reinforced cement mortar) roofs has been 
queried, but the consensus is that the danger of developing cancer from ingested asbestos is very slight , Campbell 
1993. The danger from inhaled asbestos dust is however sufficiently high that working with asbestos sheeting, for 
example sawing it, without special protection is now generally banned in industrial countries."

Other concerns include bacterial contamination, mosquito control, atmospheric pollution and even someone drowning in 
the storage tank.
As with anything else regular maintenance and good design are important and will minimize the dangers from any of 
these sources.
But if the water is only being used to water plants most of these issues are not a serious concern.

If you want to drink the water then that is another story.
Check out this web site to see all of the filtering and treatment neceesary to insure drinkability:

We are always looking for research into RWH water quality issues and if anyone has any good sources or is interested 
in researching or testing water quality in RWH systems we have a good sample of installations to study.

Some additional RWH web sites in no specific order and no guarantees for content:





















Good Luck.

Lenny Librizzi

4:31:16 PM, LouVicRob@aol.com wrote:

>  From:   LouVicRob@aol.com
>  Date:   Tue, 6 Jan 2004 16:31:16 EST
>  To:     community_garden@mallorn.com
>  Subject:[cg] Is there a hidden danger in using rainwater off your roof
>  Is there any danger in using rainwater water off a flat roof that has
>  asbestos embedded in the tar paper. Is this still used in current roofing
>  materials? Does the runoff have fine power of dried asbestos which than
>  blankets ones garden? Has anyone discussed this issue in publication?

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