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Queens Chronicle

Catching the rain in Richmond Hill

One hundred Queens homeowners join DEP’s rain barrel program

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Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:43 am, Thu Sep 26, 2013.

September showers may not bring October flowers, but they could lower the water bills for some Richmond Hill households.

Approximately one hundred homeowners in the neighborhood took part in a new Department of Environmental Protection Program aimed at recycling rainwater.

The DEP distributed 60-gallon rain barrels, free of charge, to the homeowners at an event at Holy Child Jesus Church on Monday. The rain barrels connect directly to a home’s downspout and collect and store rainwater that falls from roof. This water can then be used over time to water lawns and gardens. By collecting the rainwater that would otherwise run off into the street, the DEP says the barrels would mitigate roadway flooding and ease pressure on the city’s sewer system and treatment plants.

Rain barrels also help reduce homeowners’ water bills as watering lawns and gardens can account for up to 40 percent of an average household’s water use during the summer months.

“DEP is helping Richmond Hill homeowners conserve water, save money and ease street flooding by distributing these rain barrels,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who recommended handing out the barrels in Richmond Hill.

Each homeowner was provided with an installation kit and maintenance instructions. The DEP says they should only be used for purposes such as gardening and must be disconnected from the downspout during the winter to avoid freezing.

The DEP’s Rain Barrel Giveaway Program is part of New York City’s Green Infrastructure Plan launched by Mayor Bloomberg in September 2010. The plan, which will cost up to $2.4 billion by 2030, aims to capture storm water before it ever enters the sewer system and thereby significantly reduce combined sewer overflows into local waterways.

The rain barrel program also builds upon DEP’s efforts to conserve water as part of the New York City Water for the Future Program, a $1.7 billion initiative to ensure clean, reliable and safe drinking water for city residents as the population continues to grow.

Participation is by invitation only. The DEP mails invitations to register for the Rain Barrel Program to single-familyhomeowners and several giveaway events will be scheduled over the next three years. For more information about the program visit nyc.gov/dep.

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