Wednesday, August 24, 2016

UPDATE: Rain barrels now legal. Here's what to know.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 10:31 AM

The Greenway Fund is also getting in on the excitement over legal rain barrels. 

They're facilitating a special sale of Ivy Rain Barrels at around a 40-percent discount ($75 instead of $129), running through Sept. 25 with a pickup date of Oct. 1. 

Here's more info about the Ivy barrels and another rain barrel fact sheet:
click to enlarge Flood (or heavy downpour) preparedness starts with two-by-two (rain barrels). - COURTESY THE GREENWAY FUND
  • Courtesy the Greenway Fund
  • Flood (or heavy downpour) preparedness starts with two-by-two (rain barrels).

——FIRST UPDATE: 4:53 P.M., MONDAY, AUG. 15 ——

The founder of BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment Systems reached out to say that she just established a new barrel pickup site in Colorado Springs, near the Chapel Hills area. 

"Most of our participating barrel suppliers are not retailers - they're food manufacturing warehouses," she explains. "So customers don't actually get an address until after they purchase on our website. Then they get a voucher with complete details about where to claim their barrels, and we ship the rest of the materials to their doorstep."



We legalized weed. Why not rain barrels? 

Long a point of contention, rain barrels finally got a green light recently and officially become legal on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Ahead of that, Conservation Colorado offers the following FAQ for just about all info consumers should want to know:

Where do I get a rain barrel?
You can find all varieties of barrels at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Amazon and other home and garden stores. The company BlueBarrel gives recycled barrels a second life and helps you set them up into a rainwater catchment system. Make sure to grab an online voucher before checking out their stores in Denver, Lafayette, and Louisville.

Who can use rain barrels under this new law?
Anyone who lives in a house or townhouse with fewer than 4 units can use a rain barrel. No permits are necessary. For other narrow exceptions on who can collect rainwater, check out information on the State Engineer’s website.

click to enlarge Now coming to more yards near you. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Now coming to more yards near you.
How many rain barrels can I have?
Each household can have up to two rain barrels with 110 gallons of storage capacity. This is enough to help water your vegetable garden, outdoor plants, or a small lawn.

What can I use the water for?
Rain barrels can capture rainwater from roof downspouts and the water can only be used for outdoor purposes on the property from which the rainwater was captured. So, it can be used to water outdoor plants, lawns, or gardens, to wash your car, etc. For more very useful facts on Colorado’s new law (including concerns about mosquitos and water quality), check out these resources from Colorado State University.

What else do I need to install my rain barrel?
Just a gutter. In order to make the most of your rain barrel, you may want to to create a raised platform for the barrel, such as cinder blocks or a wooden pallet. The higher your platform is, the higher the water pressure coming out of the barrel will be and the easier to get a watering can under the spigot.
Depending on your gutter structure, a flexible gutter extension can be useful, and may need to be secured with screws and sealed with caulk. Don’t forget to measure your gutter and buy a downspout extension that is the right size!

How do I install a rain barrel?
Here’s a nice how-to guide from Tree People: How To Install a Rain Barrel
And here is a collection of videos by Blue Barrel Systems for how to set up their systems. Keep in mind that your barrel needs to be sealable to keep out breeding mosquitos.

What do I need to do to maintain my rain barrel?
CSU has some helpful hints on how to keep out impurities and contaminants. And you’ll want to make sure to winterize it for our cold winters. Once your rain barrel is installed, maintenance is easy. Simply use the water you’ve collected to water your garden and make sure the rain barrel is emptied on a regular basis.

What do I do with my rain barrel during the winter?
In Colorado, it’s not a good idea to leave your barrel set up in the winter, as water inside may freeze and damage the system. Right around the first frost, it’s time to pack it up for the winter. Adjust your gutter downspout so the water will run away from your house. Empty your barrel completely, rinse it, and let it dry. Then, either store it inside a garage or basement, or turn it upside down and leave it outside for the winter, covering it with a tarp if you have one. Make sure the spigot is open and all components are clean. In the spring, you can put it back in place and start harvesting rainwater again.

Will my rain barrel make a difference?
It may not seem like a lot, but in Colorado every drop counts. Using two rain barrels to water your plants could save up to 1,200 gallons a year. It’s also a great way to connect to Colorado’s water supply, as using a rain barrel tunes you into the natural water cycles of our region.

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