What is a Rain Barrel?
Rain Barrels are storage containers that collect rain water from downspouts. Downspouts lead the rain water from the roof to the ground or storm sewer. Rain barrels usually consist of a plastic storage container with lid, a system that diverts water into the barrel, an overflow that diverts water away from the house, a screen to keep out debris, and a water spigot to which a hose can attach. The rain barrel is connected into the downspout system, in order to capture and store some of the rain water.
Why would I want a Rain Barrel?
This storage of rain water serves dual purposes. First, the water can be used for purposes such as gardening, washing down patio furniture, lawn watering, etc. that otherwise tap water would have to be used for. This ends up allowing the owner to use the collected water for these uses instead of paying for tap water. Second, the rain barrels serve an environmental purpose. By storing the rain water, there is a decreased impact of stormwater runoff to streams which helps to protect the environment and minimizes sewer back ups. Please be aware that residents who install rain barrels are not eligible for a discount on their stormwater bill.
How can I get a Rain Barrel?
The Energy Coordinating Agency and The Philadelphia Water Department are giving away rain barrels to people located within the watersheds of Philadelphia. In order to receive a rain barrel, it is mandatory to attend a rain barrel workshop to be educated on the installation process and use of the rain barrel. There is a one-per-household limit. Rain barrel workshops are held in locations around the city throughout the year.
You must be a resident of Philadelphia in order to attend a workshop and receive a free rain barrel.