Today I built my first rain barrel! It will be the first of probably four rain barrels that I'd like to put around my house to catch a lot of the runoff from my roof. The barrels we used our the workshop today were originally used to hold, pickles, olives or onions and hold approximately 50 gallons.
Why should we use rain barrels you ask? Runoff is the number one cause of pollution in our waterways. And here in the DC Metro area, we all know that many of our streams, rivers, and even the Chesapeake Bay, have been struggling due to pollution. Rain water runoff carries with it oil, fertilizers, pesticides, debris and more directly into our streams and tributaries and also causes erosion. A 30 x 40 foot roof will produce more than 700 gallons of rooftop run with 1 inch of rainfall. That's a lot of water! When you collect water using a rain barrel you can use the water captured to water your gardens, lawn and indoor plants, wash your car and fill bird baths. Rain water has no chemicals and is usually soft and doesn't contain dissolved minerals. Another great perk is that rain barrels help you save money!
If you're not much in of a do-it-yourself type, there are plenty of rain barrel options available. Rain barrels come in different sizes and shapes, some are more aesthetically pleasing than others. Whatever kind of rain barrel you choose, know that you will be making a positive impact on our waterways, which we must keep healthy and clean.