Rain barrels are good for the environment, they reduce storm water runoff and they promote conservation. But the standard Water Department issued barrel are about as pretty as those human-cargo containers used in the 1970’s horror flick Phantasm. The evil guy was bottling up people to ship to the red planet to be used as slaves.
The good news is that the 20 new rain barrels coming to the Mt. Airy section of Germantown Avenue have been decorated by local artists.
If you would like to be the first to see the new artsy barrels stop by GeeChee Girl Rice Café at 6825 Germantown Ave. at 2 p.m. The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District will be unveiling these spiffy new conservation tools.
Mt. Airy BID Executive Director, Hollie Malamud-Price says water from the barrels will be used for 90 flower baskets and tree wells along Germantown Avenue.
You will see them soon strategically placed along Germantown Avenue between Washington Lane and Creshiem Valley Rd.
The Philadelphia Water Department provides a great description of how the rain barrels work.
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.