Is the water collected by rain barrels are safe to drink? Can they be used to dispense beverages such as iced tea or lemonade? These questions are always been asked by several rain barrel users.
Judging from the physical attributes of a rain barrel, other do have colourful designs, while other looks like an empty plastic container, but no matter how simple and complex the design of a rain barrel would be, they all have one common denominator; they are created to collect rain water. Rain water collecting commence when rain water falls from the sky as it falls naturally it also collects pollution on its way down. Other than that, it also collects and trickles down your roof, and for sure bird dropping will surely be collected as well as rain water runs down to the downspout and finally into the rain barrel. Sad to say that is the reality. These are the reasons why drinking rain barrel water is not recommended unless your installed rain barrels had sophisticated purification and filtration system.
Another fact that household must be aware of is the fact that empty plastic containers are usually not constructed of food grade plastic so they are considered unsafe for storing consumable products. To ensure that you are using a food grade plastic rain barrels, make sure that it came from beverage companies like Coca-Cola plant where some of their empty plastic containers can be bought, and if you are lucky enough, some of those plastic containers are given for free. If you are not too fuzzy in this kind of stuff then expect a lingering odour in the water which can be quite appalling if you have to serve your guests of purified and filtrated rain water.
But there are other food grade plastic that is not suitable enough to be utilized as rain barrel. For example, the empty plastic container used to harvest olives. Sure this plastic container is food grade but the problem would be the harvested olives will retain its olive smell which for sure will affect the water.
As a conclusion, regardless of rain barrels construction, use the rain barrel for the purpose it’s intended and that is to collect rain water and water plants and grass. Leave the food business to products that are made for that purpose!