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Elected officials hold Richmond Hill rain barrel giveaway

By Patrick Donachie

Elected officials and representatives of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection were on hand in Smokey Oval Park in Richmond Hill Saturday to give away free rain barrels to community members, saying the practice could help the environment and save people money when their water bills come due.

During the event, 200 barrels were distributed, and each can hold 65 gallons of water. Someone can cut off a piece of the roof gutter and insert it into the barrel, and roof spillover will then collect inside. A hose can then be attached in a hole cut in the barrel so people can obtain the water to reuse it.

“It was great to see so many residents taking advantage of our rain barrel giveaway in Richmond Hill,” state Sen. James Sanders (D-Rochdale Village) said about the giveaway. “Reusing rain is a great way to save money on water bills and help the environment.”

In addition to Sanders, state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) was on hand, as well as representatives from the Richmond Hill Economic Development Corporation. Several community members noted that the barrels could be applied to a variety of uses.

“This is a great way to catch water and save it for the plants,” Floretta Sage of Springfield Gardens said. “Everybody wants a barrel. You can use less water and the plants grow better.”

The DEP started the rain barrel giveaway program as a pilot project in 2008 in the Jamaica Bay area, and more than 5,000 barrels were given away throughout the city last year to homeowners, schools, community gardens and other facilities. Elected officials throughout the city are sponsoring similar rain barrel giveaway events.

The barrel giveaway is part of the DEP’s $2.4 billion investment in green infrastructure and other programs to reduce sewer outflows by 2030. The DEP also hopes to conserve water in a plan that includes a partial shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct to repair cracks and leaks. The aqueduct supplies about half of the city’s daily drinking water, according to the DEP, and the department intends to reduce water consumption throughout the city by 5 percent by the proposed shutdown in 2022.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona[email protected]cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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