Constantinides, Gianaris and Simotas to Host Rain Barrel Giveaway on July 28

The flyer for the Rain Barrel Giveaway on July 28 in Astoria. Photo: Facebook

ASTORIA – New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides is partnering with New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas for a Free Rain Barrel giveaway at Chappetto Square, Hoyt Avenue and 23rd Street in Astoria on Saturday, July 28 at 10 AM.

For more information or to reserve a free barrel, email: Mike Corbett mcorbett@council.nyc.gov by Monday, July 23. Reserved barrels will only be held until noon, at which point they will be given on a first come, first serve basis.

The rain barrels help save money on water bills, are sustainable and eco-friendly, keep our water quality healthy, and reduce flooding from heavy rain.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) 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, as noted on the DEP’s website.

The 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 the 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, the 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.

The giveaway program began as a pilot program in 2008 with the distribution of 250 rain barrels to homeowners in the Jamaica Bay watershed. The program was expanded in 2009 due to the public’s overwhelmingly positive response. Last year, over five thousand rain barrels were given to NYC building and homeowners, schools, and community gardens in all five boroughs. The DEP partners with elected officials and city agencies to organize distributions events throughout the city.

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, washing cars, or for other outdoor chores. 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.

More information and video guides for setting up, maintaining, and winterizing the rain barrels are available online: rainbarrel.ca/assembly/.