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Rain barrels, great for water conservation

Keep the streams clean, and conserve water
Keep the streams clean, and conserve water
James George

A few of generations ago, everyone was probably familiar with rain barrels, especially people living in rural areas. Water was needed for all sorts of things as it is today. Animals could be watered with liquid from the rain barrel, for instance. Plants could be watered from the rain barrel. Water could be boiled and drunk from the rain barrel.

Rain barrel at Gulf Branch Nature Center
James George

The idiom “Waste not, want not” or “willful waste makes woeful want” wasn’t just a cliche. It was a practice.

Extrapolate that idea to sustainable living. Everything that we use has a potential reserve capacity or reuse utility. The rain barrel has immediate practical applications, but it is also can serve as symbolic reminder about conservation.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests all that you need is a clean 55 gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC coupling, and a screen grate to act as a filter. If you need some help learning how that goes together there are some workshops scheduled in the greater area, according to an email message from “Ballston Pond,” that is an Arlington County blog.

There is an old style rain barrel next to the blacksmith’s shop at Gulf Branch Nature Center, if you want to see what they look like. That one could also serve as a fire barrel, storing water for an emergency. See the photo.

Jen McDonnell Stormwater Research Specialist, says in her email that rain barrels help contain runoff from your property, and therefore limits pollution. Well, that may be true, but that also reminds that one needs to be careful about drinking water from the rain barrel that contains pollutants from your roof.

There are other things to worry about in the yard regarding pollution. Don’t use pesticides. Don’t use unnatural fertilizers. Don’t discard plastic and other containers that may carelessly float into the storm drain.

Let’s check the Ballston Pond one more time to see if Fisher Price toys are still there. Yep, there they are.

“2014 Rain Barrel Workshops

jmcdonnell | July 8, 2014 |

The Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program offers 50 gallon rain barrels at a discounted price of $55-$65. You must register for a workshop ahead of time. Click here to register and learn more about the rain barrel program.

Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop – $55
Tuesday, July 22, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave, Herndon, VA 20170

Upcoming Rain Barrel Distributions/Sales – $65
Saturday, July 12th, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Falls Church Property Yard, 7100 Gordons Rd., Falls Church, VA 22043

Want to learn more about rain barrels?

Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program
Arlington County Rain Barrel Site
100+ Ways to Conserve Water
The Stormwater Connection

Rain barrels capture and store roof runoff, allowing you to use it later for watering your landscape. There is no need to use chlorinated, drinking water to water your plants! By using rain barrels, you are also reducing the amount of runoff, and pollutants that are carried away by the runoff, from your property.”

Via Jen McDonnell

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