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April 26, 2017
deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov, (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Celebrates Earth Day with Rain Barrel Giveaways in the Bronx Brooklyn and Queens

Rain Barrel Giveaway, St. Albans, Queens

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

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

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) joined State Senator Martin Golden, State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman, Council Member I. Daneek Miller and community partners The Point and Neighborhood Housing Services, to celebrate Earth Day this past weekend by helping to distribute rain barrels to nearly 400 homeowners in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and 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 New York Harbor. Last year, DEP distributed a record-setting 11,111 rain barrels to New York City homeowners. The free giveaway events took place on April 22 and 23 in: Hunt’s Point, Bronx; Bay Ridge and Marine Park, Brooklyn; and St. Albans, Queens.

“By using the water collected in a rain barrel for gardening and other outdoor chores, New Yorkers citywide can reduce their water bills,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “These giveaways were a great way to celebrate Earth Day, since the rain barrels help to mitigate street flooding and protect the health of New York Harbor and local waterways.”

“I would like to commend the Department of Environmental Protection for their partnership this weekend to provide 200 rain barrels to southwest Brooklyn residents,” said State Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn). “The most valuable natural resource is water and this program is leading efforts in helping to preserve and conserve our water supply. New York City continues to be a leader in green initiatives and we are a shining example of an environmentally friendly city.”

“I thank DEP for partnering with local elected leaders to distribute rain barrels to the residents of Southeast queens,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “Rain barrels provide tremendous help to our environment by encouraging gardening, conserving water, and reducing erosion. I encourage everyone to practice environmental stewardship by participating in a rain barrel giveaway this spring or summer.”

“The rain barrel giveaway was a success, homeowners were informed about the various ways we can increase local sustainability” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “These rain barrels will help residents save money on their water bills and protect our environment. Looking forward to our next event.”

“My district continues to suffer tremendously from the effects of localized flooding caused by a rising water table and an antiquated sewer system”, said Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans). “I am grateful that local residents are doing their part to help ease flooding conditions and conserve our most precious natural resource. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, along with my colleagues in government, Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, and the New York State Attorney General’s Office, remain great partners in this fight. I thank them for co-sponsoring this event, and for their continued efforts to provide conservation education for us all.”

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 received a rain barrel 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 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.

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