Morehead Housing Authority Saving Money and the Environment with Rain Barrels

[Photo 1: Rain barrels installed at Morehead Housing Authority save both money and the environment.]
Rain barrels installed at Morehead Housing Authority save both money and the environment.

ARRA funds have made a big difference with just a relatively small investment for the Morehead Housing Authority. Residents at the Triplett View Apartments in Morehead, Kentucky are enjoying the many benefits of five recently installed rain barrels. While this might initially sound inconsequential, the overall benefits of rain barrels are rather significant to the Housing Authority, its occupants, and the environment.

A rain barrel is a closed system that has been connected to a roof gutter's downspout. Whenever it rains, the water will still flow through the downspouts, but it will be captured in the barrel as opposed to spilling out onto the ground.

The greatest benefit for such a system comes from utilizing the captured water in the barrels as a supplement to using the traditional municipal water system. This not only saves a precious resource, it also saves the Housing Authority money. The rainwater can be used for a variety of tasks, such as caring for a garden, plants, flowers, the lawn and even washing a car or the exterior of the buildings.

Captured rain water is also better for watering vegetation, such as flower beds and food gardens, rather than using municipally treated water. This is due to the fact that treated water from the tap contains chemicals, such as chlorine, which makes it safe for human consumption. However, while the water is safe for us, it has been treated and can be harsh on vegetation or items that you own and clean outdoors due to the damaging or diminishing affects of chlorine over time.

[Photo 2: Signage as you enter the Triplett Community Garden.]
Signage as you enter the Triplett Community Garden.

Reducing the burden on sewer system treatment is another benefit. If water is being captured in a rain barrel system, then it is being diverted from a sewage treatment plant. By minimizing the amount of water being treated, it helps prevent sewer overflows and extreme contaminated runoffs into larger bodies of water. Even better is the fact that if there is less water that needs to be treated, there will be little need to expand the size of facilities, which in the long run will assist in keeping sewage rates from rising.

Mr. Jeffrey Patrick, the Executive Director of the Morehead Housing Authority, believes that the barrels have increased their curb appeal and quality of life for the families at Triplett View Apartments. "Our barrels are used to help water a community garden project for our residents, who are learning how to prepare, sow and cultivate a small, raised bed plot of their own. This multi-sponsored effort is used to help educate and involve our residents and also offset the increasing cost of vegetables at the local stores."


Content Archived: February 18, 2014