Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the County's health and safety requirements for above-ground rain barrels and cisterns?

On-site rainwater harvesting is an option offered by the County's Low Impact Development (LID) manual to meet requirements for new development and redevelopment in unincorporated parts of the County. In order to satisfy health and safety issues associated with above-ground rain barrels and cisterns, County Building and Safety plan checkers will check for the following:

• The above-ground barrel or cistern must be manufactured of UV-resistant heavy duty molded plastic or better. Plastic sidewalls must be a minimum of 3/16 inch thick.
• Free-standing above-ground barrels or cisterns must not exceed five feet in height, and the height must not exceed 1.5 times the width.
• The above-ground barrel or cistern must be equipped with a screened inlet of 18x16 stainless steel mesh (T-316 Stainless steel, Material Standard ANSI/ASTM A555-79). Roof drain downspouts cannot connect directly to the container and must be installed with a minimum 3 inch air gap above the screen.
• All above-ground barrel or cistern connections and openings must be sealed, plugged, or screened to prevent mosquitoes from entering the device.
• The above-ground barrel or cistern must have no opening larger than 6 inches wide when any seal, plug, cover, or screen is removed.
• A gravity flow hose bib connection must be located near the bottom of the barrel for discharging flows.
• All containers must be clearly labeled at the point of discharge to read in English and Spanish "Not Safe for Drinking," or with words conveying the same intent.

  Rainwater Harvesting Products

  L.A. County LID Manual
BMP WMD Watershed groundwater stormwater conservation runoff quality FEMA NPDES TMDL BMP Levees Levee certification Flood insurance NFIP Flood zone determination IRWMP