Dept. of Environmental Protection to give away 1,000 rainwater collection barrels to residents
Green-thumbed New Yorkers have soaked up a rainwater-collection program with such thirst that the city wants to put even more containers in residents' yards.
The Department of Environmental Preservation next month plans to hand out 1,000 barrels that connect to rain gutters and hold up to 55 gallons of water to use on lawns and gardens.
The free eco-friendly offerings come after a successful pilot program in 2008 and 2009 that planted 1,000 barrels in Queens.
"People really love them," said Carter Strickland, the DEP's deputy commissioner for sustainability.
"We did a survey to make sure people were using them and happy with them, and they were," he said. "Almost 90% of people surveyed installed the barrels."
Strickland said the collection systems are popular because they save New Yorkers on their water bills. Some 40% of water usage in one- and two-family homes is devoted to gardens during summer months, officials said.
"It's an inexpensive way to start making a difference on a small-scale basis," he said, adding the city spends about $80 on each barrel.
"We live on a fixed income so it's really nice," she said. "We connect a hose to the barrel. It came with all the directions, and it is really quite easy."
Manigoult, who grows tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and a small lawn, said she "feels like they grow better with the rainwater. Whether or not that's really true I don't know."
The new batch of barrels will be given away on a first-come, first-serve basis from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at these locations:
- Queens: April 30 at Cunningham Park on 196th Place and Union Turnpike.