FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17-22
April 13, 2017
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Department of Environmental Protection Will Join Council Member Debi Rose for Rain Barrel Giveaway on the North Shore
Rain Barrels Collect Precipitation, Reduce Residential Water Bills and Help to Protect the Health of New York Harbor
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Council Member Debi Rose will join NYS Senator Diane Savino and NYS Assemblyman Matthew Titone to distribute rain barrels to up to 125 homeowners on Staten Island on April 29. The 60-gallon rain barrels are easy to install and connect directly to a property owner’s downspout to capture and store the stormwater that falls on the rooftop. The water collected in the rain barrel can then be used to water lawns and gardens, or for other outdoor chores. Rain barrels can help reduce a homeowner’s water bill as watering lawns and gardens can account for up to 40 percent of an average household’s water use during the summer months. They also help to reduce the amount of stormwater that enters the City’s sewer system, which helps to protect the health of New York Harbor. Last year, DEP distributed a record-setting 11,111 rain barrels to New York City homeowners. The free giveaway event will take place on Saturday, April 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Snug Harbor located at 1000 Richmond Terrace, and the rain barrels will be provided free of charge. Barrels will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
“By using the water collected in a rain barrel for gardening and other outdoor chores, Staten Islanders can help to reduce their water bills,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “In addition, rain barrels help to mitigate localized flooding and protect the health of New York Harbor.
“Using a rain barrel to capture excess stormwater can not only cut down your water bill, but also protect our waterways from excess stormwater,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “I’m happy to make these available to my constituents at least once a year and I encourage my constituents to take advantage of this free opportunity.”
“Rain on our roofs is a resource that we are literally letting go down the drain,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone. “The rain barrel giveaway allows our constituents to help themselves and the environment by saving water and reducing storm runoff, a win-win all around.”
“I am thrilled to partner with my colleagues and DEP once again for the annual rain barrel giveaway. We’ve been seeing an increase in participation which is a true sign of our communities’ commitment to the environment,” said Senator Diane Savino.
DEP’s Rain Barrel Giveaway Program is part of New York City’s Green Infrastructure Plan that aims to capture stormwater before it can ever enter the sewer system and thereby reduce combined sewer overflows into local waterways. DEP has committed to invest $2.4 billion in green infrastructure projects as well as other source controls, such as rain barrels, to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows by 2030.
The rain barrel program also builds upon DEP’s efforts to conserve water as part of a $1.5 billion initiative to ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for more than nine million New Yorkers for decades to come. As part of this initiative, DEP has begun a project to repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct that supplies roughly half of the city’s daily drinking water. In order to complete these repairs to the Aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down in 2022. Ahead of the planned shutdown, DEP aims to reduce citywide water consumption by five percent.
In addition to encouraging homeowners to conserve water, DEP is installing activation buttons on spray showers at 400 playgrounds around the city that will save 1.5 million gallons of water a day during the summer months. Work is also underway to install new, high efficiency fixtures in the bathrooms of 500 City schools to reduce water consumption by nearly 4 million gallons each school day. And, DEP has partnered with hotels, restaurants and hospitals across the city to reduce water use at these facilities by five percent annually.
Installation of rain barrels is easy and they require little maintenance. Each homeowner who receives a rain barrel will be provided with an installation kit and instructions. Rain barrels should only be used for non-potable purposes, such as gardening, and must be disconnected from the downspout during the winter months to avoid freezing.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 21 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.7 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.