DEP giving away rain barrels

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that they will be giving away free rain barrels allowing residents to capture and reuse rain water while alleviating pressure on the sewer system.

One thousand barrels will be distributed in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. These barrels can hold up to 55 gallons of water and hoses can be easily attached allowing users to water their lawns, rinse their car, etc. Easy-to-install and use, the rain barrels attach directly to a house’s downspout.

The summer months sees an increase in outdoor water use, when over 40 percent of water usage is outdoors.

While one gallon of water only costs approximately .4 of a cent, outdoor water use can add up quickly. And come July 1, there is a proposed 7.5 percent price hike in the water rate. Watering your lawn can use hundreds of gallons a week, as can washing your car and filling up a pool that has lost some water.

Using water collected in these barrels may ease the summer assault on your water bill but will also help the sewer systems by preventing thousands of gallons of water from entering the sewers lowering the chances of combined sewer overflow – a discharge that is a mix of stormwater and wastewater that can be released when sewers surpass capacity.

“Distributing free rain barrels is a great way to help protect our harbor waters, and help homeowners prevent potential flooding and save money,” said Cas Holloway, the environmental protection commissioner.

The rain barrels will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible for the barrels you must live in a single-family or attached two-family home. The giveaway will take place on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cunningham Park (196th Place and Union Turnpike).

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