As the City of Kingston explores options to separate outdated combined sewage outflow lines, officials may want to consider including a broader storm water mitigation plan that involves installing rain barrels for homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and municipal buildings.
Why? Well, the benefits are enormous, and include reducing the volume of water that has to be treated. More importantly, capturing rain water keeps it from flowing into storm water drains along with road salts, oils and other contaminants on our city roads. And not only does this make our streams and rivers much less polluted, but capturing water reduces flooding.
This past Saturday at the Forsyth Nature Center, Steve Noble, environmental educator, gave a workshop on rain barrels and how easy it is to install one. The barrels cost about $100, and the water captured can be used to wash your car, water your garden and water your plants.
Steve said during the summer months, a rain barrel can save a homeowner about 1,300 gallons of water. If the city were to implement a rain barrel pilot program, say with 500 barrels installed, more than 650,000 gallons of water could be diverted -- which saves money in water treatment costs and reduces pollutants as well as flooding.
Worth considering? And as this prior post points out, there could even be a cottage industry here in harvesting rain.
In the meantime, there are other ways that residents can help to reduce the volume of waste water in their homes. Here are some tips from Steve:
* Don't cut your lawn grass low. Higher grass needs less water.
* Fix dripping faucets, which can waste 54 gallons per month.
* Take shorter showers.
* Turn of the faucet while shaving, washing, brushing teeth and washing dishes.