October & November 2013
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Modern Rain Barrels Manage Stormwater

Overflow crowds learned how to build rain barrels at two recent workshops organized by the Rain Garden Initiative (RGI) and members of TMACOG’s Stormwater Coalition. The 55-gallon rain barrels are designed to capture runoff from roof downspouts. The stored water is used to water lawns and gardens and to wash cars, saving water that would otherwise come from the spigot. Rain barrels and other methods of rain water harvesting reduce the volume of rain water entering the storm sewer system. Used collectively, these barrels can reduce the amount of stormwater pollution in our waterways.

The events were held in the Village of Holland at Strawberry Acres Park. Village Zoning Administrator Leslie Ferman worked with RGI, Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District, and TMACOG’s Stormwater Planner Kari Gerwin to organize the first workshop in August. The event helped the village meet their stormwater permit requirements for public outreach and education. So many people came to the August event that another was held in early September. Ferman said, “The events went a long way in having the public buy into conserving water and helping to reduce non-point water pollution.” She thanked the partners saying that they are, “genuine role models without whom I never would have thought to host even one of the workshops, let alone two.”

Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District facilitated both events. They provided all the materials and the training. Coca-Cola donated the barrels. Gerwin said, “Yes, the barrels smell like coke syrup.”

Gerwin said that the RGI is hoping to do more of the building workshops with Stormwater Coalition members as materials become available. If you have access to a lot of plastic barrels, or are interested in having a rain barrel building event in your community, contact Kari Gerwin at 419.241.9155 ext. 103.

The finished barrel has a screened opening at the top where downspouts direct roof runoff into the barrel. A brass faucet at the bottom of the barrel allows users to water the lawn and garden with a hose or watering can. An overflow hose will drain the barrel in cases of big storms that fill the barrel faster than the water can be used.


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