Rain Barrels Support A Clean Environment

by Frank Panzarella, NH Bioregional Group

Much of city land is covered with asphalt, concrete, and buildings. Rain water from these surfaces can carry oil, chemicals, and a variety of trash that can create serious pollution problems and sewer overflows, especially with heavy rains.

New Haven and other cities have introduced bioswales, rain gardens, and permeable surfaces to help reduce these issues and to separate storm water from sewers. Rain barrels are another part of this effort that can save money and tap water for homeowners, keep more rain water out of sewers, and provide gardens and flowers with water during dry periods.

In the last several years the Rain Barrel Project, together with the NH Bioregional Group in cooperation with the GNH Water Pollution Control Authority, has provided free rain barrels, training, and kits in the GNH area to gardeners and homeowners. In 2021 this project received an Environmental Stewardship award from the GNHWPCA. We hope to continue the project this spring and are applying for a grant to help cover the costs of barrels and kits. If you are interested in obtaining a rain barrel for this spring season, send an email to [email protected]. Also look for our table at Earth Day in Hamden and North Haven. As soon as we are able to get a new batch of barrels and kits, we will schedule a training and giveaway day.

Bringing in The Rain: Workshop March 20

by Lynne Bonnett, New Haven Bioregional Group

It’s been five years since we presented our first Bringing in the Rain session at the Mitchell Library to talk about stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows and what citizens can do to help clean up our rivers and harbor.

Citizens with their local political representatives convinced CT’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to adopt a watershed-based approach to cleaning up the West River and New Haven Harbor. The City of New Haven, Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (GNHWPCA), CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), nonprofits and citizen groups have each had a role to play in helping us meet clean water standards in a cost-effective way, saving us money from expensive construction costs while cleaning our waters.

The challenges of reducing raw sewage overflows into the West River and reducing pollution from stormwater runoff are outlined in a West River Watershed Plan. The community has been implementing the plan for the last 3-4 years and we have accomplished a lot.

Come celebrate our efforts Tuesday, March 20, 6-8 p.m. and engage in residential stormwater management—learn how you can get involved. We will have a rain barrel on display with a sign-up sheet if you are interested in getting one for your home, presentations about rain gardens—the easiest and most attractive way to let rain water soak into the ground, and presentations from local schools, researchers and GNHWPCA. Light refreshments, family-friendly, we will start by showing a short film segment from Water Blues, Green Solutions about how community efforts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, helped reduce pollution from stormwater runoff in their community.
Barnard Nature Center at West River Memorial Park, 200 Derby Ave. (corner of Ella Grasso Blvd,), New Haven.