Last month, Evesham Township held a workshop to demonstrate the use of the stormwater cistern that was recently installed at the Blue Barn Recreation Center (1004 Tuckerton Rd.). This project will collect rainwater which will be available to the community gardeners.
The cistern, or tank reservoir, complements the township’s rain garden which was installed behind the Blue Barn in March of this year.
Councilwoman Patricia Hansen, who also serves as township council’s liaison to the Evesham Environmental Commission, noted that the commission suggested the installation of the cistern. She also cited grant funding from the Pinelands Preservation Alliance along with designs and volunteers from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program.
“[The environmental commission] did the research, presented it to the township for consideration and were instrumental in obtaining the grant from Rutgers that allowed us to create the rain garden and install the cistern,” she said.
“Their work made [the rain garden and cistern] financially plausible and at no cost to taxpayers,” she added.
The rain garden is a depressed area in the landscape that collects rain water from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. The project is part of the South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program and was installed by volunteers from the Environmental Commission and the Evesham Green Team.
The cistern, which was installed behind the Blue Barn in June, can hold up to 3,000 gallons of rainwater. Two of the six downspouts on the roof of the Blue Barn feed the cistern, which is also equipped with a hose to allow patrons of the township’s community garden (also located behind the Blue Barn) to use the harvested rainwater for their plots. Rainwater is known to offer many benefits that city water does not, including extra nutrients and the softer nature of the water.
Hansen remarked that the cistern could easily fill up on any given day that brings heavy rainfall. She also cited the advantages of using rain water as opposed to city water.
“[The installer of the cistern] said that he uses some of the water in his bird baths and feeders for animals and [the animals] will always go to the rainwater feeders,” she said.
There is a submersible pump inside the tank that will provide on-demand pumping capabilities. A garden hose is attached to the pump, and will reach the perimeter of the garden. Individual users can add additional lengths and as well as a hose nozzle. Also included is an outlet at the bottom of the pump that has a red valve and hose bib which allows users to access water in the tank via gravity.
Hansen expressed gratitude for the workers and volunteers who helped build the rain garden and cistern and the township for initiating both projects.
“This has been a team effort and I’m really pleased and proud of our township for doing this.”