Rainwater Tank Plumbing Fittings Installation – Part 2

I install a 1200 gallon (4550 liter) rainwater harvesting tank to collect water for our garden when our irrigation well runs low in the summer.  This is four part mini-series.

Jump to:

Part 1Pour a Rainwater Tank Foundation
Part 2 – Rainwater Tank Plumbing and Fittings
Part 3Rainwater Tank Pump and Irrigation
Part 4First Run of Tank Drip Irrigation System

Rainwater Harvesting Tank Plumbing & Fittings
Watch this video on YouTube.

Install a Rainwater Tank – PART 2: the Plumbing and Tank Fittings

(this is a transcript from the video)

This is part two of my series on installing this 1200 gallon rainwater harvesting tank. It the first episode, I excavated a level spot beside this shed and poured a curb to hold the gravel that supports the weight of the tank AND allows water to drain from around the tank without causing erosion.

In this episode I’ll show how I connected this tank to the gutters.


Link Gutters on Two Buildings

To get the most water I can in our dry summers, I connected the gutters from the larger workshop to this shed and that gave me about 1400 square feet of roof.

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

A few years ago I installed a steel roof on these buildings and added new gutters that have a leaf guard.

Because of that I won’t need to add a leaf screen to the downspouts. And that’s good because I don’t have a lot of distance from the bottom of the gutters to the top of the tank.

I have just enough space for pipe slope so I can connect BOTH sides into one. In the winter when we get heavy rains I can remove the pipes that connect the gutters between buildings and reinstall the aluminum downspouts.

Downspout Plumbing

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

I replace the downspout on the shed here with 3″ PVC drainpipe. I added a gate valve for water collection in the summer. I close the valve and water backs up and fills the first flush diverter then runs around the building to the other side.

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

On the opposite side of this smaller workshop I’ll put together another pipe and fitting assembly as the first one.

Plumbing and Fittings

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

The gate valve and the “T” at the top of the first flush diverter are designed to fit a Schedule 40 PVC pipe. That’s a thicker walled version of the 3″ drain pipe I’m using for everything else. So I need to first glue in these sleeves to allow me to connect everything together.

I could only find the black ABS sleeves but they will work fine for this. I just need the right glue that works on PVC and ABS together. And you have very little time, a few seconds really, to get the parts in the right position once you glue them and slide them together. And there’s no going back for a second try.
So planning is key to making this work. I dry fit everything first and use a sharpie to mark what goes where. Except, the morning I was working on this assembly.

I work as a Paramedic and my schedule is erratic and not always consistent. I worked a night shift and didn’t get enough sleep in the morning, then tried to do some plumbing. Not a good combo.

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

I glued the sleeves into the “T” at the top of the first flush diverter and that was okay. But, right there is the problem.

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

For some reason I was thinking that the “T” that sits above the gate went in the same orientation as the first flush T. And I went ahead and glued them together.

Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought
Installation and plumbing a Rainwater Harvesting Collection Tank for drip irrigation during a drought

And that’s the moment right there that I realized what I did. And then some choice words came out of my mouth.

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