Kingston sings praises of rain barrel program
The Utilities Kingston Rain Barrel program, which started up again last week, offers customers a number of benefits to help the environment as well as their pocketbook.
“It’s a good deal for our customers and they’ve been taking advantage of it,” Jim Keech, Utilities Kingston president and CEO, said. “There are quite a number of environmental reasons with this program, and while none of them are huge, every little bit helps. Water is free and falls from the sky, and it’s a savings as well.”
Rain barrels can be obtained locally from Clean North.
When customers use rainwater for their gardens or to wash their cars — instead of using water from the municipal system — that means less water that Utilities Kingston needs to pull from Lake Ontario and treat, with energy and chemical costs.
In 2017, Utilities Kingston delivered 630 rain barrels to customers throughout the city.
The cost of a rain barrel is $46 plus HST and delivery, and can be added to the customer’s upcoming utilities bill.
“We’ve been running it for over 10 years,” Keech said. “Initially, it was only one rain barrel per account, and now we will do up to four rain barrels per [customer] account. These rain barrels hold approximately 210 litres; have a child-proof lid and mosquito/ debris screen to keep water in the barrel clean and free of pests; and may be connected to other barrels to increase water capture capacity.”
“There got to be such a demand … we actually had people lined up and we had traffic problems here, so that’s when we moved to the delivery of them,” Keech said. “We’re doing this for a number of environmental reasons, and one of the things we looked at is that with the cars lined up and people idling their motors, it was actually more
environmentally friendly to have them delivered.”
Initially, the program was only offered in areas that had overflows when it rained, to help ease pressure on the municipal water system.
“We started this program for two reasons,” Keech said. “One was to reduce the amount of rainwater that ended up in the sewer systems … because with some rain events, we do have some overflows [and flooding in areas]. The second part is that it’s a source of water that doesn’t come from our treatment system. There is an extensive amount of energy and electricity that’s used for treating/pumping of water, so [using the rain barrels] is a double environmental positive.”
These rain barrels hold approximately 210 litres; have a child-proof lid and mosquito/ debris screen to keep water in the barrel clean and free of pests; and may be connected to other barrels to increase water capture capacity.” Jim Keech
Rain barrels can help the environment.