How Do Rain Barrels Work?
Rain barrels are good for the environment and your wallet. They help you conserve water by catching rain droplets and storing them for later use. These barrels are an especially attractive water conservation method in urban areas where most of the landscape is “impervious” – paved-over and unable to absorb water. As rain water runs through the streetscape, it collects impurities like trash, oil and excess nutrients from pet waste before it falls into storm drains. Much of this water is released into streams and rivers without being treated first, which pollutes ecosystems downstream. For example, excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in aquatic ecosystems can trigger abnormally large algal blooms that deplete resources like oxygen and sunlight at the expense of other wildlife.
Viewer: Even though each rain barrel may capture only a fraction of storm water runoff, rain barrels can make a big impact if everyone uses th Tipem! For detailed instructions on how you can build and install your own rain barrel, visit www.cbf.org/document.doc?id=30.
The National Environmental Education Foundation is spreading the word through its Be Water Wise – DC program by teaching students at participating schools about stormwater and water conservation issues with activities and projects like the rain barrel competition.
Left: On May 3, 2012, Be Water Wise – DC, a National Environmental Education Foundation program, displayed student-decorated and painted rain barrels as part of a contest for the best designed barrel.
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Stormwater Program.” Accessed Online May 4, 2012. http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Sources and Solutions: Stormwater.” Accessed Online May 4, 2012. http://epa.gov/nutrientpollution/sourcessolutions/ss_stormwater.html)