Rain Barrel? It’s Greek to Me

Our local waste-water (MSD) company has a special program, rain barrels sold at a discount. Order in March or April, and pick up starting in May. When we went to pick one up in 2009 , one peppy puppy of a rain barrel stood head and shoulders redly above the rest in a field of low, black barrels.Greek to Me

After we got our tall adoptee home, I noticed that it had a past. I’m just guessing that “Dia Trofima” is a company, but I know that “Ellas” is Greece in Greek. “Per Alimenti”  is Italian for “for eating”. The picture of olives is also a clue. An international olive oil barrel.

That’s part of how they keep rain barrel costs down: Used shipping barrels. But the main impetus for the sewer people to distribute rain barrels is to slightly reduce the peak storm flow through their system. Sure, a half inch of rain on a 50’x100′ lot is about 30 rain barrels full. But a 1/30 savings in a billion dollar system does help.

Anyway, this spring I finally mounted the thing up on the second floor sleeping porch, near a gutter that used to leak at a corner for weeks after each rain. The professionals who did the gutters specifically assured me that they knew how to pitch (slope) the gutters correctly. But they installed them to leave about 3″ of water sitting in them at this end of the house. So now I am draining that surplus. No more leak, and rain water for the plants.

Rain Barrel on Sleeping Porch

Why, you may well ask, on the second floor sleeping porch? Well, the water pressure at the outlet faucet runs from a droopy two psi down to zero, as it drains. Last year, the barrel on the patio took 10 minutes to fill a watering can. Now, the barrel is 18 feet above the patio, so the nozzle pressure can be almost up to ten psi. The water shoots from the hose. It’s still not city water pressure (80 psi), but it is quite adequate. Also, with the barrel reservoir above, we can walk the hose around, rather than filling a watering can.

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