If you’re anticipating trouble, the best thing you can do is get prepared. Whether you’re getting prepared for man-made or natural disasters, stocking up on the basics is the best thing you can do.
When it comes to basic resources, hardly anything is more precious than water. Sadly, that’s usually the first thing to go when those tough times arrive, so many citizens are once again turning to rainwater collection systems to keep themselves stocked up.
Unbelievably, these systems are not legal everywhere. How about Maine? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Maine?
No, it is not illegal to collect rainwater in Maine. There are no state level regulations concerning rainwater collection at all.
As far as I’m concerned, if you want to be free, the best kind of laws are an absence of laws entirely, and concerning rainwater collection, Maine definitely gets an A+ in that regard.
If you live in Maine and are thinking of installing your own rain catching system, that’s definitely good news, but keep reading and I’ll touch on other important aspects you need to know about.
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Maine?
No. Surprisingly, there is no state law in Maine whatsoever that prohibits the collection of rainwater.
This means that residents are totally free (as far as the state government is concerned) to collect rainwater, and there are no restrictions, fines or penalties for doing so.
However, it’s important to note that there are no state laws that explicitly allow the practice either, and your collection and use must still adhere to all other relevant laws, particularly water rights and health codes.
This lack of legislation can create uncertainty, but for those interested in collecting rainwater you’ll have a lot less roadblocks!
Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?
No, at least not in any county I was able to find. But know this: Even though Maine lacks state-level regulations for rainwater harvesting, it is possible that some counties or municipalities have enacted their own laws and codes regarding the practice.
For this reason, it is still best to research and familiarize oneself with any local laws before buying or installing your collection system. Make sure to look up zoning ordinances, land use regulations and building codes.
It is also worth noting that some local authorities in Maine may require permits for the installation of such systems, or for systems of a certain type or size and that might entail inspections.
Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Maine?
Any reason or any time they want. Since there are no statewide standards or laws for rainwater collection in Maine, individuals and property owners are free to collect water as long as the water is sourced from their own land, does not interfere with the water rights of others, and adheres to all other relevant local and state laws.
Regarding water rights, proper management and careful planning are essential to ensure large-scale systems don’t lead to the disruption of the local waterways or the rights of other water users, particularly concerning overflow and discharge.
And once more, look up all the relevant local codes and regulations for your county and city; they will likely matter more than the state ones!
Is There a Limit on How Much Rainwater You Can Harvest in Maine?
No. There is no specific state law in Maine restricting collection over time or total capacity. As always, your municipality may have its own regulations that can limit the amount of water you can collect.
Typically this is a non-issue for anything except true agricultural or livestock use, but you had better double-check.
Also, don’t forget to review any HOA guidelines and covenants, if applicable: most will not want large and gaudy tanks visible on any properties in the neighborhood!
What Does Maine Allow Citizens to Use Rainwater For?
Maine law does not dictate the use of rainwater collected by individuals. Generally, typical uses for rainwater include irrigation, gardening, and non-potable purposes but you could ostensibly use it for drinking water also.
However, it is highly likely repurposing rainwater for human or animal consumption will still fall under health codes and perhaps local laws as well.
Considering only the practical ramifications for a second, don’t forget that harvested rainwater could contain all sorts of contaminants picked up from any surfaces it contacts, and that can mean waterborne germs like bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
It’s essential that any rainwater collection system used for potable water undergoes regular inspections, cleaning and maintenance, and that the water itself is properly purified to keep it free of any debris and contamination.
Don’t forget to do the same for any equipment used to transport or store the water prior to consumption.
Does Maine Require Special Equipment or Inspection for Rainwater Collection?
No. There are currently no state-mandated guidelines on installation, equipment requirements or inspections for rainwater collection systems in Maine. Local laws and codes are likely to apply, though.
In all cases, proper installation of the system and any related plumbing fixtures should be done in accordance with local building codes to prevent issues in the future.
Following best practices and management protocols will ensure the collected rainwater is free from potential contaminants and your system does not leak or cause problems.
Does Maine Offer Incentives for Rainwater Collection?
No, currently Maine does not offer any state-level financial incentives for rain collection, at least by private citizens.
Some counties or municipalities may provide equipment rebates or tax credits for installing these systems according to their own local initiatives.
Bottom Line: Is Maine a Good State for Rainwater Collection?
As far as I am concerned, I think Maine is a great state for rainwater collection. You don’t have to worry about any state-level laws snarling up your efforts, and most localities are agreeable or equally relaxed to the idea.
And while Maine is known for its typically cold and snowy winters, it still receives approximately 46 inches of rain annually, with higher amounts in coastal areas. Quite a lot!
The brutal winters will necessitate that you winterize your system yearly, and that’s a pain, but the sheer quantity of water you can collect with even a tiny system makes this more than worth it. Overall, I give Maine excellent marks for rain collection.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.