Rain Barrels: Harvesting Rainwater!

“Artsy stormwater management: I-89 northbound rest stop gets new rain barrel
May 21, 2015

By Betsy Tharpe

Those passing through Williston on Interstate 89 can expect some stormwater education with an artistic flair at the northbound rest stop.

Last Thursday, Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG) Program Director Breck Bowden and Williston Stormwater Coordinator James Sherrard installed a new rain barrel to collect roof runoff from the I-89 rest area roof. The barrel will store stormwater from the roof during rain events to be used for irrigating landscaping during dry periods — reducing runoff to local streams and conserving potable water.

In 2009, LCSG partnered with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, The Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and others to install rain gardens, a rain barrel and educational stormwater signage at the rest area. The installations aim to capture runoff from the building and walking path’s impervious surfaces, restoring pre-development water flows and reducing the harmful effects of stormwater on area streams and ponds. After years of high use, the rain barrel on site was in need of replacing. Sea Grant contacted local artist Tara Goreau, who painted a new barrel with a playful depiction of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains and the farms and streams that dot the landscape. If you look closely, you may spot Champ on the barrel, too.

The Town of Williston has instituted significant changes to address the impacts of stormwater runoff this year, most notably the establishment of a townwide stormwater program to manage the town’s stormwater infrastructure and help meet state permit requirements. Williston’s Stormwater Coordinator James Sherrard notes, “Like many growing municipalities, portions of Williston are experiencing higher stormwater runoff volumes as a result of increased development. This higher flow leads to increased pollutant loading, localized stream channel degradation and land erosion. Mitigating the impacts of development on our waterways has become a central focus for Vermonters as the health of the tributaries in our cities and towns directly impact the overall water quality of valued natural resources, such as Lake Champlain.”

Installing rain barrels and rain gardens to capture stormwater flow from residential rooftops and driveways are small efforts that can add up when implemented across a landscape, according to Sherrard.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program Director Breck Bowden says that even though rain barrels are small, they can make a big difference. “In a quarter inch rain event, one rain barrel can capture runoff from 350 square feet of roof. If rain barrels are installed at every downspout of a residential home, that can translate into total runoff capture in these smaller rain events — and that’s good for the aquatic environment.”

The Lake Champlain Sea Grant program funds scientific research in the Lake Champlain Basin and offers watershed education to K-12 students, adults, professional groups and municipalities.
This year, Williston is hosting the third annual “Connecting the Drops” rain barrel exhibit. In partnership with the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, the Chittenden County Regional Stormwater Education Program and Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Williston will display seven hand-painted rain barrels courtesy of local artists. They will be installed in the Williston Community Park with accompanying panels depicting the Kids Vermont Stormwater Story – an illustrated tale of how rain water becomes stormwater and what each of us can do to reduce the flow. The barrels and story will be on display until July 3, when lucky winners will be selected at the Town’s Fire Cracker Fun Run and ice cream social event. To learn more and to sign up for a chance to win one of the painted rain barrels, visit: letitrainvt.org/connecting-the-drops/

Becky Tharp is the land use planning & water quality educator for Lake Champlain Sea Grant at the University of Vermont.”-https://www.willistonobserver.com/artsy-stormwater-management-i-89-northbound-rest-stop-gets-new-rain-barrel/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: