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Braintree offers rain barrel program for residents

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  March 29, 2013 03:19 PM

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Rainy days are looking a lot less dismal in Braintree with officials announcing that they will sponsor a rain barrel program for town residents.

The barrels, being sold through the town at a 40 percent discount, are meant to collect rainwater to be used for outside watering, reducing water consumption in the town.

“The barrels help to provide irrigation water during times when there are restrictions on outside watering and bring down water costs” said Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan, who noted that he has a rain barrel himself. “Like the recycling bin, we hope rain barrels become a standard in each and every home.”

Braintree did a similar effort from 2007 through 2010, helping sell an estimated 400 barrels. Though demand slowly died off, officials say they have been getting phone calls to start the program again, and are expecting the program renewal to be popular.

“We’ll see how it goes this spring. I’d expect 100-200 people [to buy barrels],” said Kelly Phelan, conservation planner with the town, who is spearheading the initiative.

The program, being done in partnership with the Great American Rain Barrel Company, can have a dramatic effect on water consumption.

When connected to downspouts, a house with a 2400 square foot roof could easily collect more than 20,000 gallons of fresh rainwater from May through September, where there is typically 16 inches of rain seen by the region.

That collected water can help reduce the town’s water consumption, which increases an average 60 percent during spring, summer, and fall as people water gardens and lawns, fill pools, and even wash cars.

In addition to conserving water and lowering residents’ water bills, officials are also hopeful that the rain barrels will reduce water runoff.

“[Rain barrels] keep water from going into the storm drains. If your downspout runs off into the street, it goes from the town storm drain and into wetlands and rivers and lakes…[collecting] oils from the street. If people keep it on site and people put it into the ground, it becomes groundwater, and over time it helps retain ground water, which also filters out any pollutants,” Phelan said.

According to Suzanne Gebelein, owner of the barrel company, towns across Massachusetts have developed similar programs.

“More and more organizations nationwide, like Braintree, are bringing large scale programs to their towns, encouraging more residents to conserve water but also helping their town mitigate pollution in the water supplies on a larger scale,” Gebelein said.

According to the company’s website, Cambridge, Milton, Newton, Brookline, Walpole and more have all started similar programs. Numerous other states, including Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, even Texas and Tennessee have programs

The company recommends buying one barrel for every 100 square feet of garden.

Barrells, which cost $69 at the reduced price, must be ordered by April 29 at 5 p.m. in order for Braintree residents to receive a discount.

The barrels come in three colors; Forest Green, Earth Brown or Nantucket Gray.

To take advantage of this community program discount, visit their website and look for “shop local programs” in the left side bar and find “Braintree”.

Residents can also or email or call 1-800-251-2352.

The barrels will be delivered to Braintree Town Hall on May 7 from 4 p.m. till 6 p.m.

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