Why Rain Barrels?
Rain barrels can be attached to downspouts to capture roof runoff. Water stored in a rain barrel can be used to water gardens or lawns. Rain barrels can also help control stormwater runoff, which can cause erosion. Harrisionburg City residents can receive a 20% credit on their stormwater utility fee for properly installed rain barrels.
How much does it cost?
- One Rain Barrel $75.00
- Two Rain Barrels $140.00
Click here for a rain barrel promotion flyer. Feel free to post it at your discretion.
Pre-made rain barrels are available and can be picked up from the SVSWCD. Make sure to bring a vehicle that can accommodate a 55 gallon barrel, or roughly a 21″W x 42″ H.
Pre-made rain barrels include:
- A 55 gallon up-cycled hard black plastic pickle barrel
- 1 water spigot Placed at the bottom of the plastic barrel for water extraction
- 1 overflow nozzle *Note* You should have an idea of where you would like the overflow nozzle to be placed so that you can direct the SVSWCD staff on where to place it in relation to the spigot. (left or right of spigot). We suggest attaching a hose to your overflow nozzle to direct any overflow water away from the base of your house.
- 1 screen The screen is used to keep mosquitoes larvae out of your rain barrel water.
- 1 hard plastic lid with holes The hard plastic lid can be used either in addition to the screen or in place of the screen and is a viable option if you have animals that may try to sit on the rain barrel lid as the screen would not hold.
- 1 hard plastic ring Used to hold down the screen and/or hard plastic lid
*Actual included pieces may differ slightly from pieces pictured below in aesthetics but NOT in functionality*
*Pre-made rain barrels DO NOT include diverters, elevation boxes, hoses, or connective pieces to attach rain barrels in a series*
You can easily modify the design of the rain barrel for your needs. By combining rain barrels in series, you can increase the amount of water you can store. You can also elevate the barrel(s) using bricks, cinderblocks, and treated wood to increase water pressure. Once filled, the barrels can be extremely heavy so be sure that the raised platforms are stable.
Click here for an installation guide once you get your rain barrel home.
Two types of rain barrel connections…
1. Connecting to an existing rain barrel: To connect the barrels a hole must be drilled at least 6” from the bottom of each barrel. Use male fittings in each barrel and female fittings on the ends of the connecting tubing.
2. Connecting two new rain barrels together: To connect two new rain barrels together, use mail fittings in each barrel and female fittings on both ends of connector hose with a T-valve in the middle.
- DO NOT drink rain barrel water or use the water for cooking.
- DO NOT collect rain water if you use moss-killer on your rooftop as this will be harmful to your garden plants.
- Use the mesh screen provided to protect from mosquitoes, leaves, twigs, and any other debris.
- Alternatively, the hard plastic lid with holes can be used to prevent small mammals such as cats or squirrels from falling into the barrel.
- Disconnect the rain barrel during the winter to prevent water from freezing and cracking the barrel.
- Empty and hose out the barrel at least once a year.
- Try to use the water before the next known large rainfall; this will help provide stormwater management benefits.
- Attach a hose to the overflow to divert any excess rainwater away from your home.
- Consider attaching a diverter, this helps control the movement of water to your rain barrel. Some diverter options are “Save the Rain Diverter”, “Oatey Mystic Rainwater Collection System” and “Earth Minded Flexifit Diverter”.
- Click here for an informational brochure on rain barrel maintenance.