Amherstburg Council approved a rain barrel pilot project Monday night that will allow residents to save money while benefitting the environment, reducing the risk of flooded basements and decreasing the burden on the Town’s wastewater treatment facility.
We voted to earmark $6,500 in the 2022 Budget to purchase 100 rain barrels that can then be sold to residents, offering them a wholesale discount compared to retail pricing. There would be a limit of one barrel per home during the pilot project and the costs would be recovered through barrel sales.
It’s hard to see why residents wouldn’t snap these barrels up at a discount considering all the good they can do. Residents can save a boatload of money using rain water to soak their lawn and their plants and they might even have healthier gardens since natural water is better than tap water for plant growth. They can also use this free water to top off their pools or to wash their cars or windows.
What’s more, water captured in barrels is water that is directed away from the foundation of homes and water that is not entering the storm system at peak times, decreasing the burden on our wastewater treatment facility. Extreme rainfall events are occurring more frequently and rain barrels are one of several tools that can be used to deal with them.
Other flood mitigation tools include backwater valves, sump pump overflows and the disconnection of downspouts. Learn more about the Town’s Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program.
“Encouraging the purchase and use of rain barrels by property owners could enhance the Town’s overall flooding reduction strategies to the benefit of the specific participating property owners and the Town as a whole in relation to potential flooding events,” said an Administrative report. “In addition, it would allow an opportunity for the property owners to cut back on water consumption, save money and protect local lakes and rivers.”
How much water are we talking about? A 2,000-square-foot roof can collect about 1,000 gallons of water during a one-inch rainfall and that’s accounting for a 20 per cent loss from evaporation, runoff and splash, according to information on the City of Windsor’s website.
The Administrative report says rain barrels retail anywhere from $90 to $160 before taxes but that the Town could purchase 100 barrels from EnviroWorld for $62.90 plus tax and pass those savings onto residents.
The Town’s Environmental Advisory Committee wants to host an Earth Day event and the report suggests that would be a great place to sell the barrels. Residents would also be able to purchase them from Infrastructure Services.