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Rain Barrels: Harvesting the Heavens Saving Streams


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Matt Berres is the Director of Maintenance Operations for Greenbelt Homes Inc. (GHI). He is responsible for developing and implementing GHI’s stormwater management program and supporting efforts to promote sustainability throughout the coop. He has led efforts to encourage rain barrel usage in Greenbelt and designed and implemented numerous bioretention rain gardens in the community. Prior to joining GHI, Matt led watershed education and restoration programs for the Potomac Conservancy, a regional non-profit dedicated to protecting the Potomac River watershed. Matt will talk about GHI’s rain barrel program and its other storm water management activities to reduce the coop’s pollution impact on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Published in: Self Improvement
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Rain Barrels: Harvesting the Heavens Saving Streams

  1. 1. Rain Barrels: Harvesting the Heavens Saving Streams
  2. 2. A cooperative project of Greenbelt Homes, Inc. and the City of Greenbelt Woodlands Committee, and Sustainable Design and Practices Committee Greenbelt Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (Green ACES)
  3. 3. What you will learn What are rain barrels Why are they important Where to order a barrel How to install and maintain a barrel Other cool stream saving practices
  4. 4. What is a Watershed? A watershed is the area of land that drains to a particular point along a stream
  5. 5. Hydrologic Cycle *Impervious cover produces*Impervious cover produces 16 times16 times moremore stormwater runoff than forest.stormwater runoff than forest.
  6. 6. Stream Quality Is Related to Impervious Cover < 5%< 5% Impervious CoverImpervious Cover 8-108-10% 2020% 30%30% > 65%> 65% From Center for Watershed Protection
  7. 7. 10% 40%25% Good Fair Poor Watershed Impervious Cover StreamQuality 60% 100% Sensitive Impacted Damaged Impervious Cover Model Severely Damaged Center for Watershed Protection Relationship Between Impervious Cover and Stream Quality
  8. 8. Pollutants and Problems Nutrients Sediment Trash Heavy metals (ex. Zinc, copper, lead) Pesticides/Herbicides Oil and grease Thermal
  9. 9. Pollutants Continued
  10. 10. Fresh Water At A Premium Water Planet: 70% of Earth is water, but… • Only 2.5% is freshwater. • Much is not accessible. If all earth's water was a 5-litre container, available fresh water would not fill a teaspoon! Where we use it: • Household use 10% - as much as 40% for outdoor use • Agriculture 70% - more than 50% of this is wasted. • Industry 20% By 2025, 2.8 Billion people on planet earth with face water scarcity.
  11. 11. Rain Barrels to the Rescue Why a rain barrel? • Collect “free” rain water • Water plants with non-chlorinated, renewable supply • Save money on water bills • Reduce runoff to streams • Save the planet!
  12. 12. Rain Barrels Commercially Manufactured
  13. 13. Rain Barrels Rainsaver, Raincube & Pepper Barrel
  14. 14. Rain Barrels Commercially Made – “Urban” Brand
  15. 15. Homemade Rain Barrels Food & Soap Containers
  16. 16. Our Rain Barrels Rain Box Riverside s
  17. 17. GHI Barrel Details Rain Box Size: 75 gal. 20”x24”x46” 2” overflow Ball valve tap w/ 3/4” threaded hose connector Black color Riversides Size: 132 gal. 27”dia x 51” 4” overflow Brass ball valve tap w/ 3/4” threaded hose connector Dual stage filter Multiple color choices
  18. 18. Riversides Color Choices Multiple Color Options for City Residents
  19. 19. Why GHI Barrels Heavy-duty construction Freeze-safe Child-safe Mosquito-safe filters (<500micron) Easy to clean and operate Sized for Maryland Rains! • Large high capacity downspout input • High volume overflow and storm event by-pass
  20. 20. Roof tops and Rainfall How “big” a barrel do I need? The Rain flow math: V = A² x R x 0.90 x (7.5 gal./ft.³) where V = volume of water in gallons, A² = surface area of roof in square feet, R = rainfall in feet
  21. 21. Roof tops and Rainfall How “big” a barrel do I need? roof area (approx) area / downspout (approx) water volume / downspout (approx) from ½" rainfall from 1" rainfall 400 sq. ft 200 sq. ft. 57 gallons 113 gallons 460 sq. ft 230 sq. ft. 65 gallons 129 gallons 520 sq. ft 260 sq. ft. 73 gallons 146 gallons 560 sq. ft 280 sq. ft. 79 gallons 158 gallons 710 sq. ft 355 sq. ft. 100 gallons 200 gallons 800 sq. ft 200 sq. ft. (avg. 4 downspouts) 57 gallons 113 gallons
  22. 22. Installing your Rain Barrel Site barrel near where you plan to use it. Start with a firm (and level) foundation. • Paver bricks, cinder blocks, compacted earth • Full rain barrels can weigh >600-1,000 pounds! Use hard pipe to connect. • Flexible downspout extenders tend to clog, blow in the wind, and trap water that attracts mosquitoes. Allow room for cleaning filters.
  23. 23. Barrel Maintenance After a storm • Check water level • Check/clean filters for debris Once a month • Check/clean filter screens and clear leaves – Especially in spring and fall! Once a year • Completely drain barrel to flush out fine particles. • Check barrel, screens, spigots for wear or leaks. Winter Care • Drain about ½ of water from barrel to reduce freeze risk • Turn barrel collection to “bypass” – if equipped.
  24. 24. Other River Friendly Ideas
  25. 25. Rain Gardens: What are they? Rain gardens represent innovative approaches and natural garden designs which make efficient use of rainfall and native plants to prevent pollution and erosion, and recharge essential groundwater supplies.
  26. 26. Simple Rain Garden Backyard Bed
  27. 27. GHI Rain Gardens Before and After
  28. 28. GHI Rain Gardens Before and After
  29. 29. Redirecting Downspouts Hinged Downspout Extensions
  30. 30. Cisterns
  31. 31. Permeable Pavers Driveways – Roads & Parking - Patios
  32. 32. Next Steps Take a rainy day walk • Look for areas where water ponds. • Watch how water flows across your yard, neighborhood. • Check out drainage channels and local streams during a storm. Order your rain barrel!
  33. 33. For More Information: Matt Berres Director, Operations Greenbelt Homes Inc. Other Good Websites