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April 25, 2018; 718-595-6600

DEP Joins State Senator James Sanders to Distribute Rain Barrels to Homeowners in Southeast Queens

Rain Barrel Giveaway in Southeast Queens

Approximately 100 Rain Barrels Were Given Away at Event in Springfield Gardens Park

Rain Barrels Collect Precipitation, Reduce Water Bills and Improve Health of Local Waterways

Photos of the Event are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on Saturday joined State Senator James Sanders, Jr., to distribute rain barrels to approximately 100 homeowners from the Springfield Gardens, Rosedale, Rochdale, and South Jamaica neighborhoods of Southeast Queens. 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 numerous local waterways, including Thurston Basin, Head of Bay, and Jamaica Bay. Saturday’s event was held at Springfield Gardens Park, in Springfield Gardens, and the rain barrels were provided free of charge. Last year, DEP distributed approximately 7,500 rain barrels to New York City homeowners.

“These rain barrels are an environmentally-friendly way for homeowners in Southeast Queens to save money and water, while also promoting sustainability and conservation,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “By collecting the stormwater that falls on your home’s roof during rain events, you can help ease the pressure placed on the city’s sewer infrastructure, thereby reducing localized street flooding and improving the health of Jamaica Bay and other local waterways. I’d like to thank State Senator James Sanders for partnering with DEP on this successful giveaway event.”

“I am pleased that so many residents took advantage of my rain barrel giveaway in Springfield Gardens and that DEP was able to help me and my team in this effort. Reusing rain is a great way to save money on water bills and help the environment. We must all do our part to protect the earth for future generations,“ said State Senator James Sanders, Jr.

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 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 received a rain barrel on Saturday was 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 19 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 $18.9 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, 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