Rain barrels make a difference

You may see rain barrels around your neighborhood and wonder if they really make a difference. The simple answer is YES!

  • Rain barrels keep the rain from running directly into lakes and rivers, which helps prevent stormwater pollution*.

  • They’re a great way to water flower gardens and lawns when it’s dry. In fact, rain water is preferable to city water (which may be chlorinated) or well water (which may have excessive mineral content).
  • Rain barrels can also reduce the risk of basement flooding by directing water away from a home’s foundation.

For every inch of rain that falls on 1,000 square feet of a roof, about 600 gallons of water can be collected.

To see a rain barrel in action, check out the video.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HamURhj_S3E

What should I know?

Rain barrels are placed at the bottom of downspouts to collect rain as it runs off a roof. They should be installed only on level surfaces and elevated using concrete or cinder blocks or a sturdy wooden stand. Elevating a rain barrel increases pressure so, when you’re ready to use it, the water flows more quickly.

Most rain barrels have a lid or mesh screen on top to prevent leaves and insects from getting into the barrel; spigots for easy drainage; valves that can be used to connect multiple barrels together with hoses; and overflow valves to direct excess water away from sensitive areas – like a house foundation.

Many cities and towns offer rain barrels for free or a nominal charge so check with them before you visit a store.

*Stormwater runoff is rain that’s picked up garbage, dog poop, lawn chemicals and other debris as it washes across driveways, parking lots and neighborhood and city streets. This polluted water is feed directly into our natural waterways without being treated or cleaned.

For a downloadable PDF file about the benefits of rain barrels,

click on the button above!