Throughout Arlington Echo we have Rain Barrels attached to the downspout of every building—adding up to 96 Barrels throughout campus. Rain Barrels gather the water that falls on the roofs and slow it down. The water from a 30 minute storm is released over 2 days.
Did You Know?
- 60 % of lawn fertilizers are washed away by surface water
- 30% of nutrient & sediment overloading in the Chesapeake Bay can be attributed to non-point pollution and human land use
- Anne Arundel County has the fourth worst air quality in the U.S., most of this pollution ends up in our runoff
So what does this have to do with rain barrels? Some people might think that rain barrels are only used for water conservation during drought periods, when in fact they are just as useful during rainy periods.
Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. For every 1000 square feet of roofline, one inch of rain equates to 632+ gallons of water. This is a large amount of free “soft water” that can be stored and used later to wash cars and windows, water plants, fill ponds, or feed a rain garden during periods of drought.
The water that falls carries pollutants that are usually directed into groundwater or allowed to flow directly into waterways around the Bay. Water that runs off the land can be loaded with nutrients, bacteria, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals. By placing a barrel at every downspout, rainwater can be collected from the roof and redistributed into a filtration area such as a rain garden or a bog that filters nitrates, phosphates, and other pollutants. The barrels collect the first flush, the most critical rain that is loaded with pollutants, and then slowly releases the water to a garden or shallow dry well area. By diverting water from storm drains, the impact of runoff into streams and the Chesapeake Bay is greatly decreased.