In an effort to emphasize environmental stewardship and giving back to the Finger Lakes, the Finger Lakes Institute turned to HWS students for assistance with its Store the Storm Rain Barrel Program on Saturday, Aug. 25. During Orientation weekend, members of the Classes of 2016 volunteered their time to build 50 rain barrels that will be installed in residential settings throughout the Finger Lakes region.
The Finger Lakes Institute began promoting rain barrel usage in 2008, and, after conducting a workshop in 2011, has established the Store the Storm Rain Barrel Program to produce and sell rain barrels.
In addition to offering rain barrel parts, the program provides an instructional manual, an identifying sticker, maintenance materials, and an online video tutorial. The purpose of the program is to encourage the installation of rain barrels as a way to slow stormwater runoff, decrease erosion, and conserve both water and energy.
In addition, the installation of a rain barrel can help homeowners save on water bills. The average monthly rainfall amount (April-October) in Geneva is 3.23 inches, equivalent to approximately 2,000 gallons of rainwater per month on a 1,000 square foot roof, and the water rate in the City of Geneva is $4.28/1,000 gallons. If those 2,000 gallons of rainwater were collected in a rain barrel and used to water a garden, wash a car or pet, or fill the swimming pool, a homeowner could save more than $100 per year.
Much of the work done to establish the Store the Storm Rain Barrel Program has been done by FLI Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer and William Smith student Kelly Watters ’13. Both Meyer and Watters were present at the event to help the student volunteers rinse the 55 gallon food grade barrels of their previous contents, drill holes into the barrels, and equip each barrel with the necessary hardware, filter, and spicket to function as a rain barrel.
The project was sponsored by the HWS Orientation Committee and F.A. Church Hardware Inc. located in Geneva, N.Y. Educational materials were sponsored by the Ontario County Water Resource Council and the Finger Lakes Institute. To learn more about the Store the Storm Rain Barrel Program and how to build your own, visit http://www.hws.edu/fli/projects_green.aspx .
In the photo above, members of the Classes of 2016 build rain barrels during Orientation weekend.