That is very interesting. Can you please provide some details about your rain barrel? Was it DIY or pre-made?
My local Pepsi bottling plant (you have one nearby as well) sells food-grade plastic 55 gallon drums for $10 on Friday mornings. They once held flavoring syrup, and apparently it is cheaper for them to throw them away than rewash them. The $10 is for their trouble.
I placed it under my gutter downspout on about 3 feet of cinder blocks. I cut a hole in the top with a saw and covered it with screen. I then drilled a hole in the bottom for a faucet. I cut a hole in the side near the top for an overflow, and attached a 3" hose.
I use a hand-operated bilge pump to get water from the rain barrel to my display tank (about 10 feet away). I could use a pump, but I'm cheap! I generally use buckets for my 25g QT tank, which is further away.
I would give two warnings:
1) collect clean rain water. I generally let it rain for 5-30 minutes, depending on the strength of downpour, to wash out the atmosphere of pollutants.
2) watch the NH3 level in the barrel. At certain times of year my gutters get dirty and cause about 0.5 to 1.0 ppm ammonia in the barrel. I treat the whole barrel with Prime and none of my livestock seem to care.
Overall it works well for me. All of the expense was up front (except the Prime) and for my build was about $50, including pump, hardware, cinder blocks, and barrel.