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rainbarrel-1
A rain barrel that collects storm water as it runs down a gutter.

A group of Queens politicians is coming together in May to help homeowners save water and improve the environmental health of the city with a pair of rain barrel giveaways in Maspeth and Broad Channel.

Senator Joseph Addabbo, along with Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, Councilman Robert Holden and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato will host two separate giveaways on May 5 and May 20 in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection. Any constituent who lives in Addabbo’s district can register to receive a free 55-gallon barrel which can be attached to a storm gutter to collect rain water.

Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said the barrels can have a significant impact on the environment if people take advantage of them.

“As water is stored in the rain barrels, residents can then use that water to water the plants in their garden or wash their car, rather than using fresh water from their homes,” Addabbo said in a press release. “This will not only help preserve water for the environment, but it will save homeowners money by not having to pay for that water.”

The DEP’s Rain Barrel Giveaway Program is part of a $2.4 billion investment that the city has committed to green infrastructure projects in an effort to reduce sewer overflows into local waterways. The giveaway program began in 2008 with the distribution of 250 barrels to homeowners in the Jamaica Bay watershed, and it was expanded in 2009 due to its positive response from the public.

Last year, more than 5,000 barrels were given away to building and homeowners, schools and community gardens in all five boroughs, according to the DEP website.

“These rain barrels present community members with a simple and cost-effective way to get involved in water conservation efforts, and I hope to see them used throughout the district,” said Holden, who will co-sponsor the May 5 giveaway.

Barnwell, who will also co-sponsor the May 5 giveaway, added that the program is “a win-win for all involved, and I encourage everyone to sign up to obtain these free rain barrels.”

Pheffer Amato, who will co-sponsor the May 20 giveaway with Addabbo, expressed her excitement for the event and said, “Rain barrels are one of those amazing resources you don’t want to miss out on.”

The May 5 event will take place at the Maspeth Federal Savings bank from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., located at 56-18 69th Street in Maspeth. Those who pre-register must pick up their barrels between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., and the rest of the barrels will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The May 20 giveaway is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American Legion Post 1404, located at 209 Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel.

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