Save the Rain for a Sunny Day!!
WHAT IS A RAIN BARREL? A rain barrel is a container used to collect and store rainwater that would otherwise be lost to runoff and likely diverted to a storm drain. Collected water may then be used to water lawns and gardens. Rainwater can be harvested in many ways. The catchment system described here is just one way to capture rainwater for usage in your yard.
WHY USE A RAIN BARREL?
- WATER CONSERVATION – Approximately 60% of our municipal water supply goes directly to watering our lawns. By using rain barrels, you lessen the amount of water flowing into our storm drains, sewer systems, and ultimately local waterways. This water can then be used during hot or dry spells to water your garden.
- PROTECTION OF LOCAL WATERSHEDS – 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns each year, contaminating storm water (rainwater) runoff. Fertilizers and pesticides are the primary source of water pollution. By collecting rain water, you prevent that runoff from picking up and carrying these harmful pollutants into our local waterways.
- NATURAL GARDENING – Using rainwater to water your garden is natural and healthy. Plants and beneficial microbes like rainwater because it is naturally soft – free of chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals.
RAIN BARREL Q and A’s:
Q – Will my rain barrel attract mosquitoes?
- Not if properly constructed. Some types of rain barrels are a closed water system and there is consequently no standing water in which mosquitoes can breed. If the barrel is open, a screen should be included as a cover.
Q – Can I add a second (or third…) barrel to the same system?
- YES! Simply drill a hole at the bottom of your first barrel and at the bottom of your second barrel. Thread each hole with the pipe tap, wrap the ends of the hose barbs with Teflon tape and insert into the holes. Connect the bottom of the barrels with a small hose, making sure the connection is taut and secure. You can hook up as many barrels as you like and harvest all the rainwater you like!
Q – Can I paint my barrel?
- YES! There are several paint types that will adhere to plastic. Ask at your local hardware store.
Q – Can I drink the water from my rain barrel?
- NO! The water that falls into your barrel is not potable for humans or animals. It will have run over your roof and down your downspout – only plants and grass like this water.
Q – Can I put a rain barrel on my house or garage?
- We encourage you to check with your local city hall to see if they have any restrictions about cutting your downspout. Be sure to tell them that you are diverting the rainwater.
Articles and Links
- Harvest Rainwater – NWI Times Article – March 2012
- You Tube Video on How to Make a Rain Barrel
- You Tube Video How to Make a Cheap Rain Barrel
- Handout from EPA on How to Make a Rain Barrel
- Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County Rain Barrel Workshop
- A Store Near You Sells Them