Borough to sell rain barrels to residents at a discount

Rain collecting containers to help offset stormwater management

A sample of what the rain barrels available for purchase on Dec. 10 will look like. (Special to The Sun/The Sun).

Haddonfield residents have one day to purchase and pick up 55-gallon rain barrels at a steep discount, thanks to negotiations between the borough and the Haddonfield Environmental Commission.

Normally priced at $150 or more, the 36-by-24 inch barrels will be sold for $50 at the Public Works Complex on Dec. 10.  

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Bob Bergbauer, chairman of the commission, explained that residents can use the water collected for irrigation, such as lawn or plant watering and car washing, but he emphasized that the water should not be used for drinking.

“The reason that’s a benefit is that every drop of water you utilize by recycling what falls out of the sky, or recycling rainwater, is water that we will not otherwise use that has to go through our treatment system,” Bergbauer explained. “We’re lightening the load on our treatment system.

“Utilizing freshwater to water our plants and lawns and for irrigation purposes is actually better for the soil, because it’s at the perfectly correct pH level, whereas treated water that comes out from our spigot outside or our facet in the house has to go through a whole treatment process, and it is not the optimal pH for watering plants and vegetation,” he added.

Though the barrels will not solve stormwater management issues in the borough, they  can help offset flooding a bit.

“What it will do is that it will take off some of the load from our stormwater management systems, and in a more sustainable way, re-utilizing water that would otherwise just run off into the street and into the stormwater system,” Bergbauer noted.

To install a rain barrel, residents might need to cut the downspout in half so water can flow directly into the container, but Bergbauer said the process is reversible. People who want to temporarily try a rain barrel should keep the latter part of the downspout.

To ensure the water is free of debris, residents must make sure that gutters aren’t overflowing or blocked. The rain barrel also has a lid that is sized for the downspout.

“It’s a very simple system,” Bergbauer pointed out. “You literally just find a place where you have one of your downspouts coming down from the gutters, and you direct the downspout into the rain barrel so it’s at a stable point.

“You want to make sure that the pavement or the grass underneath the downspout is somewhat level,” he added, “so the rain barrel isn’t walking back and forth. But other than that, it’s pretty simple.”

To order a rain barrel, fill out the form at https://bit.ly/3tkqws3 and bring a $50 check to the Public Works Complex on Centre Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more about the barrels, visit https://bit.ly/3NYETvO

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