In the last post I commented on a rain barrel project the City of Windsor was working on. I’m a bit obsessed with them at the moment and think they are a great way to conserve water. On Tuesday, the city launched the project in the South Walkerville neighbourhood.

Approximately 250 homes located west of Kildare and south of Ypres will soon have the opportunity to receive a free rain barrel as part of a pilot program being launched by the City of Windsor in partnership with the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC) and the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA). Funding assistance for this pilot project has been generously provided by the Detroit River Cleanup Committee and the Province of Ontario.

As a suggestion provided by residents Doug Alley and Mike Finn, Windsor City Councillors Alan Halberstadt and Jo-Anne Gignac launched the idea as a means of combating basement flooding problems and to promote water conservation. Disconnecting roof leaders from the storm sewers in this south Walkerville neighbourhood while providing rain barrels will result in a number of benefits to the Detroit River and to area homes.
“The Woodlawn/Ypres/Memorial Storm Relief Study recommended disconnection of at least 50% of roof leaders connected to the storm sewer in the area to combat basement flooding, but we have not yet achieved this result. Disconnection in this area will reduce the strain on the neighbourhood sewer capacity and the Ypres Pump Station, thereby reducing occurrences of basement flooding,” explained Councillor Alan Halberstadt and co-chair of the Windsor-Essex County Environment Committee.
”A major pollutant of the Detroit River is the release of untreated sewage into the river during storm events. Disconnection will reduce the volumes flowing through the system at these critical times, ensuring that more sewage is properly treated at our Pollution Control plants” explained Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac.
Providing free rain barrels to the residents in the pilot area will also help with household water conservation efforts.
“Water conservation is an important issue and the use of rain barrels for rain water collection is an effective way to reduce the demand for water during the peak summer season,” explains Councillor Ken Lewenza Jr., WUC Chair. “It is estimated that lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer months.”
Research on rain barrels and rainwater storage has identified a number of benefits, including decreased water bills, energy consumption and problems associated with storm water runoff. As well, many gardeners prefer the soft, chlorine-free water available to produce greener lawns and gardens. The rain barrels feature a spigot and hose connection for easy use, and the cover has a fine-meshed screen that prevents mosquito growth and captures debris.
“Rainwater runoff can pick up pollutants on the way to the storm water drainage system,” explains Councillor Dave Brister, ERCA Chair. “Preventing the excess run-off by capturing this water in rain barrels can help stop water pollution at the source.”
Over the next few weeks, homeowners in the pilot area will receive correspondence inviting them to call 311 in order to receive their free rain barrel. City of Windsor staff, as they disconnect downspouts from the storm sewers within the neighborhood, will then install up to one rain barrel per household.
For more information on rain barrels or regarding the project call 311. If you’re interested in purchasing a rain barrel, I saw them advertised at Canadian Tire for $80. They are a great way to conserve water and provides nutrients for your garden.
And just because Earth Day is over, doesn’t mean you have to stop being energy and environmentally conscious. We all need to make an effort everyday to ensure that the world we live in today is the world our children and their children can live in tomorrow.