VALPARAISO | The city again is offering rain barrels to residents at a reduced price.
The 55-gallon barrels cost $51, but the city is charging $20 to the first 400 city residents who order them. The deadline for ordering is May 16, and they will be handed out at Central Park Plaza from 3 to 7 p.m. on May 23.
"Rain barrels have many advantages for residents and the environment," said Mingyan Zhou, the city's municipal separate storm sewer system operator. "Not only can rainwater save money by providing water for plants, but collecting rainwater also helps reduce the amount of stormwater runoff carried to storm sewers.
An inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof can produce up to 600 gallons of water. The city estimates lawn and garden watering make up 40 percent of the water use during the summer, the cost of which can be greatly reduced by collecting rain water.
The rain barrels have a screw-on lid with one-inch holes, a screen mesh to keep out debris and mosquitoes, an overflow hose connection, a drain valve and a connection to attach addition rain barrels. A full barrel weights about 450 pounds.
Residents have several options for using the barrels. A garden hose, landscape tubing or drip tubing can be attached to the spigot at the bottom of the barrel. The barrel also can be placed on a flat, stable platform so the water can be drained into a bucket for watering plants.
To order a rain barrel online, go to www.UpCycle-Products.com and click on the Valparaiso link. Residents can buy a second barrel or barrels are available to nonresidents for $51.