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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17-40
May 24, 2017
deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection to Join Bronx Electeds for Rain Barrel Giveaway

Rain Barrels Collect Precipitation, Reduce Residential Water Bills and Help to Protect the Health of New York Harbor

Residents Must Register in Advance to Receive a Free Rain Barrel

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will join State Senator Jamaal Bailey, NYS Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, Council Members Andy King and Andrew Cohen, and Bronx Community Board 12 Chairman William Hall to distribute rain barrels to up to 150 homeowners in the Bronx on June 3. 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, June 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Community Board 12 offices located at The Bronx Town Hall, 4101 White Plains Road. Rain barrels will be provided free of charge. Barrels MUST be reserved in advance. RSVP by calling Community Board 12 at (718) 881-4455.

“By using the water collected in a rain barrel for gardening and other outdoor chores, New Yorkers 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.

“Rain barrels are not only good for the environment, but they will also help Bronx homeowners reduce water usage costs, putting money back in their pockets. I encourage homeowners to utilize the barrels provided and would like to thank the Department of Environmental Protection for its commitment to residents of the Bronx and the City of New York,” said NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

“Collecting water through rain barrels will not only help to conserve New York’s water supply, but it will also save residents money by helping them to reduce their water bills. I want to thank Community Board 12, the DEP and my colleagues for hosting an event in order to aid in this issue,” said NYS Senator Jamaal Bailey.

“The DEP’s rain barrel giveaway is one of the best programs available. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water, reduce water bills and keep storm water from overflowing the sewers. I’m proud to partner with my colleagues and the DEP to encourage the use of this green resource that benefits both the people in communities by saving them money, and local sewer and transportation authorities who must deal with potential sewer overflow and the consequences of water damage. Everyone should jump at the chance, and they do, judging by how quickly these barrels get snapped up by green-minded New Yorkers,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“This somewhat old-fashion technique is very effective for homeowners who want to ensure that their plants don't suffer in summer heat and for business owners looking to manage stormwater runoff from rooftops. Not only will harvesting rainwater safeguard plants and keep the sewer pipes from overflowing but it’ll help many save on their water bill. You can’t beat that!” said Council Member Andy King.

“The Rain Barrel giveaway program does so much to help us conserve water in New York City,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “Having a rain barrel at your home gives you water to use for gardening and other outdoor chores and helps you ensure that New Yorkers will have safe drinking water for decades to come. I’m proud to support programs like these and I encourage everyone to pick up a rain barrel on June 3rd.”

“Community Board 12 is pleased to partner with our local representatives and DEP to give out free rain barrels,” said Bronx Community Board 12 Chairman William A. Hall. “This is a win-win for the community. Rain Barrels reduce rain water run-off and helps homeowners save money on their water bills."

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.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600