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Rain Barrels

Rain barrels collect rainfall from your downspout for later use, with the added Rain Barrelenvironmental benefit of diverting rainfall from the city’s aging combined sewer system during rain events.  We’ve installed over 3,500 rain barrels in the District, which equals over 425,000 gallons of rainwater – and the surface pollution it carries – diverted from the sewers.

Here are some tips for maintaining your rain barrel to protect it and to increase its effectiveness.


 

Every spring (when temperatures are high enough to avoid frozen barrels):

  • Turn the diverter valve on your rain barrel to “collect” so that rain water enters your barrel
  • Close the drain at the base of the barrel (unless you have a soaker hose attached to the spigot)
  • Clean your filter bag (attached to the diverter valve on the rain barrel)

Monthly (when diverter valve is open)

  • Clean your filter bag (attached to the diverter valve on the rain barrel)

Before it rains

  • A rain barrel can only collect as much rain as it has space to hold, so empty your rain barrel prior to large forecasted storms
  • “Before it rains, it’s time to drain!”

Every winter (when temperatures are low enough to freeze water in the barrel)

  • Turn the diverter valve on your rain barrel to “bypass” so that rain water does not enter your barrel
  • Open the drain at the base of the barrel to allow all water to pass out of the barrel