Reduced-cost rain barrels available now
Marlborough - Wi th spring upon us, which usually means a weather pattern of rain ahead, now is the perfect time to get a rain barrel. Thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Marlborough residents can now through Tuesday May 20 purchase rain barrels at a discounted price.
The barrels are 55-gallon blue recycled containers that can be positioned strategically to catch the run-off rainwater from the roof of a house.
According to the New England Rain Barrel Company, which is supplying the rain barrels, a one-inch rain all on a 1,200-squarefoot house can yield over 700 gallons of water. In just five rainstorms throughout the summer, an average resident can collect 275 gallons of free water in one rain barrel. For homeowners interested in collecting even more, the rain barrels can also be attached together.
It is estimated that nearly half of home water usage is used for outdoor purposes. Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Doran Crouse, who oversees the grant and distribution of the barrels, said that using water collected in the rain barrel for outdoor uses, reduces the waste of treated drinking water.
The barrels have two brass spigots, one for attaching to a hose and the other for overflow, making it handy for use in the garden.
Through this program, the barrels will cost consumers $56.50 each and will come with a five-foot hose with a shut-off valve.
Crouse explained that the barrel is safe for pets and children because the top does not come off. The rain is caught through a six-inch diameter opening with a screened louver to keep bugs and debris out.
Conservation Commissioner Priscilla Ryder is hopeful that community members will take the opportunity to purchase the reduced-price rain barrels.
"We want people to use the barrels to conserve water by catching and saving the rain … that would just sit on the ground," Ryder said.
If everyone in the city used the rain barrels, she said, it would significantly reduce the draw on the drinking water supplies.
"If you take the residents' individual contributions and multiply it by 35,000 people, you can certainly make a dent," Ryder said.
The rain barrels are also a good solution for watering gardens or grass during the summer drought months and potential water bans, Crouse said.
Although the city did not have to impose a community water ban last summer, it did pay a higher rate for 75 percent of the city's water because it was brought in from reservoirs outside of the city. By conserving water, Crouse explained, the city could reduce its demand on the water source outside the city's two reservoirs, which would result in a savings for taxpayers.
In addition to rain barrels, Crouse said that the city supplies free retrofitting water conservation kits to all homeowners. The kits include low-flow shower and sink aerators, toilet bands, rain gauges for the garden, and lowflow hose nozzles.
Last year, Crouse said, the program was a success, with over 60 residents ordering the reusable barrels.
Orders are now being taken in advance for the rain barrels at 877-977-3135. Pick-up of the rain barrels is scheduled for Tuesday May 20.
For more information about water conservation, stop by the office of the DPW or visit the website at www.marlborough-ma. gov.
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