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Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District program offering residents reimbursement on rain barrels

Posted May 17, 2018 in Your Community by Anna Subler

Homeowners in Hilliard are being encouraged to participate in the Community Backyards Rebate Program. Through the program, administered by Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, homeowners can receive a $50 reimbursement on the purchase of a rain barrel and learn how stormwater runoff can cause stream-bank erosion and loss of property, degrade habitat and carry pollutants to local streams and rivers.

Visit communitybackyards.org for more information on this program.

 


 

When it rains, water from roofs, driveways, sidewalks and roads is directed to storm drain inlets and travels, unfiltered and untreated, straight to the nearest stream or river. As it travels towards the stream, this rain “runoff” often picks up pesticides, excess nutrients from fertilizers and pet waste, litter and fluids from leaking cars. These pollutants create a harmful environment for animals and people.

As development increases, the ability of our environment to perform its natural processes decreases. This is because the natural landscape that was once able to absorb the clean stormwater is covered by impervious surfaces. Impervious surfaces lead to more runoff entering our stormdrains during a large rainfall event. Studies have down that up to 70% of the pollution in our streams, rivers and lakes is carried there by runoff from practices we carry out in our own yards and gardens!

The amount of runoff itself can be a problem, because the stream is not able to accommodate the extra water it’s receiving. The sudden surge and velocity of the runoff can cause our stormdrains to overflow. Residents can reduce runoff by using rain barrels and rain gardens to capture rainwater from roofs. Water collected from rooftops in rain barrels can then be used later for outdoor chores, watering gardens and indoor plants, and save the homeowner money on tap water utility charges. Most rain barrels now come with a downspout diverter, making installation easy even for those without many DIY skills. The diverter fits in the downspout and attaches with a hose to the barrel. When the rain barrel is full, the rain continues down the downspout without overflowing the barrel.

Rain Gardens are attractive, landscapes areas planted with perennial native plants which don’t mind getting “wet feet”. Built in shallow constructed depressions, the gardens are designed to increase infiltration allowing rain to seep naturally into the ground. They are not wetlands; rain gardens are designed to drain within 24 to 36 hours. Rain barrels and rain gardens can be designed to work together to catch the most amount of stormwater runoff before it enters the stormdrain as shown in the graphic below.