Task force promotes rain barrels
April 17, 2012 • Joe Koncel, Bear Facts managing editor
Filed under News
The Green Lake Zurich Team, a task force created by the Lake Zurich Board of Trustees, is pursuing its first initiative: selling rain barrels.
Rain barrels prevent rain water from seeping into the ground and into drainage systems, sewers, and water treatment centers. Serious rain storms can be too much for these to handle, particularly as Lake County is having sewer overflow issues, according to the Lake Zurich Water Management team. The task force is touting ran barrels’ capacity to ease the load.
“We’re promoting saving water off rooftops to prevent flooding,” Jim Mihelic, member of the task force, said. “[The rain barrels] are designed to sit in the back yard and collect water.”
The rain barrels sit under downspouts and collect the water that runs off roofs, which can then be reused to water plants or wash cars or pets. For every quarter inch of rain, the barrel will collect 52 gallons of water. Using water from a rain barrel saves the owner money on water bills, among other benefits.
The barrels lighten the load on taxpayers as well, who have to pay a higher utility bill for any sewer expansions necessary to handle heavy rain storms. The Village commissioned a study in November that reported the Village is behind in sewer infrastructure replacements and will need to increase tax rates; rain barrels could partially mitigate this.
A typical rain barrel could cost up to $85, but the group is able to sell them for $40 (to cover assembly and parts). Coca-Cola donated the barrels, and the task force outfitted them with mesh filters (to keep out leaves and other objects) and spigots to remove the water.
“[Coca-Cola] gave us the barrels because they wanted to get rid of them, and they had to recycle them,” Mihelic said.
To promote the rain barrels, the task force is going to have a Rain Barrel Decorating Contest, encouraging individuals and groups (or clubs) to submit their painted rain barrels. The group showed off a rain barrel painted by local artist Jack Latter at the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. They have not yet decided on a date for the contest.
The group will also be discussing rain barrels and encouraging residents to purchase one on April 21, at the Lake Zurich Earth Day celebration at Paulus Park.
The task force began in February to search for ways to make Lake Zurich more environmentally friendly. Dana Rzeznik, Village Trustee, leads the task force, which is made up entirely of volunteers.