Lakewood OH
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Rain barrels can save money, help environment

            The popularity of the annual Westlake in Bloom gardening contest proves the city has a lot of gardens. Many of those gardens could benefit from having a rain barrel.

            The city’s engineering department will offer a rain barrel workshop at 9 a.m. March 19 at the Westlake Recreation Center, 28955 Hilliard Blvd. Weather permitting, the workshop will be at the rec center gazebo near the pond.

Jeff Sinnema stands next to a rain barrel model located outside the offices of the engineering department in Westlake City Hall. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

Jeff Sinnema stands next to a rain barrel model located outside the offices of the engineering department in Westlake City Hall. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

           A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from rain gutters. Jeff Sinnema, stormwater discharge coordinator at the engineering department, said a key benefit of having a rain barrel in one’s yard is a reduction in water usage and fees. Instead of watering the plants using a hose connected to a faucet, the plants can be watered from the rain collected in the barrel.

            The workshop will include instruction on how to properly hook up a rain barrel.

            Three different styles of rain barrels are available for purchase through the city, but orders must be made by Friday. The three types range in price from $120 to $200. Order forms can be downloaded from the city’s website at cityofwestlake.org. For questions, call the engineering department at (440) 617-4145.

            According to Sinnema, the barrels are being purchased from rainbarrelsource.com. The city is getting a discount by making a bulk order, he said. In addition, those purchasing a barrel through the city will receive a diverter kit as well. Barrels will be available for pickup at the March 19 workshop.

            Using rainwater to water plants is better for the environment, Sinnema said. If city water is used for watering grass and plants, the chlorine and fluoride added to the water will make its way into the groundwater, he explained.

            Rain barrels are a throwback to an earlier era, Sinnema said. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, everyone collected rainwater, he said.

            Sinnema, who has been employed with the city for 15 years, said the workshop is part of the city’s outreach and public education on stormwater management. In recent decades, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has imposed more stringent stormwater management rules on municipalities in an effort to reduce water pollution.

 

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