• Water quality from rainwater catchments throughout Alaska: looking at contaminants in catchment materials

      Hart, Corianne Irene (2003-12)
      A field study which focused on linking materials used in rainwater catchments to the quality of water they produce was conducted throughout Alaska in the summer of 2003. The importance of this project stems from the fact that many families throughout Alaska depend on rainwater catchment systems to provide water for washing, cleaning, cooking and/or drinking purposes. After a core group of participants were identified, samples were periodically collected from participants' water taps and were analyzed for a suite of contaminants that included metals (e.g., Pb and Zn), organics (e.g., volatile organic compounds) and bacteria. Based on variables, such as construction materials, the frequency of rainfall, the amount of water collected and the duration of storage, we evaluated the effectiveness of various catchments for providing safe drinking water. This fieldwork, coupled with a companion document addressing best management practices for rainwater catchments, provides valuable information for owners of small systems seeking to use rainwater catchments in Alaska. The conclusions of the study were that zinc concentrations of water collected at the tap were affected by roof and tank material, lead concentrations of water collected at the tap were affected by roof material, and copper concentrations of water collected at the tap were affected by pipe material.