A home with a rain barrel sounds like something out of the Dust Bowl era, but rain barrels actually are handy devices, even here in the soggy Northeast.
The Aquarion Water Company, which supplies water to most of southern Fairfield County, is handing out blue plastic 55-gallon rain barrels at reduced cost –– $75.95. They typically go for $119. “We’re not making any money on this,” said Lorraine Bukowski, a water company spokeswoman.
Rain barrels important, particularly in Bridgeport. Why? Because much of the city has storm sewers that flow into the sanitary sewer system, and this storm runoff, because it enters the waste treatment plant, wastes energy and money, and causes pollution in Long Island Sound as well.
Besides, free, collected rainwater can be used to water lawns and gardens, and for washing your car. In August, after a dry spell, that water in your barrel will come in handy. Just a quarter-inch of rainfall on an average roof will fill the barrel and provide free water to use during dry periods.
But you’ll have to act fast. The rain barrel program for this year (the program is in its third year) ends on May 31, 2011. Aquarion says that it has sold about 400 in the first two years of the program.
The barrels are manufactured in the USA from heavy-duty, recycled plastic and they come with a five-foot hose that connects to a brass spigot near the bottom of the barrel. Another spigot near the top releases overflow, and several safety features prevent children and pets from getting inside, while also keeping insects and debris out. They’re actually recycled from the barrels used by the Coca-Cola company, and an outfit in Massachusetts adds the necessary fittings and modifications to turn them into rain barrels.
The blue color helps prevent the growth of algae, too.
To order, visit to www.aquarionwater.com by May 31 and click on the rain barrel link at the left side of the home page. The barrels will be available for pick-up Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trumbull Town Hall, 5866 Main St., Trumbull.