Saturday, October 29, 2016

PWD Rain Check Program - Stormwater Management Tools for Residents

By Stephanie Rukowicz

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) continues to run its Rain Check Program, which was created to help residents manage stormwater runoff at their homes. Residents are encouraged to attend a free workshop and upon completion can sign up to have a free rain barrel installed at their property, or a receive a discount on the installation of a downspout planter, rain garden or porous pavers. PWD funds the program, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) manages it.

Rain Check downspout planter in front of a
row home. 
There is a flex pipe attached to the downspout,
draining into the planter. To the right are
overflows to the sewer system. 

We had installed one rain barrel at a downspout from our main roof, but were interested in a second to capture the runoff from our garage roof. In September 2015, my husband and I attended a free, one-hour Rain Check workshop located at PHS (20th & Arch) and signed up to have a free rain barrel installed the following month. The installation occurred as scheduled and was completed very quickly. We have used the water captured to water our young street trees during this past hot and dry summer. One year later, I highly recommend participation in this program. It requires minimal time investment yet benefits both individual residents (free water collection) and the entire city (diverting stormwater from combined sewers during rain events).

Free rain barrel provided, delivered, and
installed through the PWD Rain Check program.
Installer cut a hole through downspout and
attached a flex pipe that includes a special
diverter which allows rainwater to flow through
downspout to sewer system when rain barrel is full.

PHS also sends out reminder emails for seasonal maintenance, as well as a reminder email to drain and disconnect your rain barrel before winter. Considering our first rain barrel was purchased for $100, this deal to get a free rain barrel delivered and installed can’t be beat.

Upcoming workshops are currently scheduled through the end of November, but if those don’t work for your schedule, you can request to be notified when new dates are added.

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