SWCD holds Rain Barrel Workshop

March 2, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Ever look out the window as a heavy rain causes water to pour over your downspouts and think - “I could sure use some of that water on my lawn and garden when we go through a drought?” Well, on Saturday at the Vern Riffe Community Building in New Boston, the Scioto Water Conservation District showed area residents how to make that happen through the use of a rain barrel.

“We’re having our 2013 Rain Barrel Workshop,” Kate Sowards, Educationa Coordinator for SWCD said. “We have partnered with the Pepsi company in Franklin Furnace. They donated some of their food grade barrels to us, and we are providing attendees with a barrel, and a kit at cost. The price is $25, and they get the barrel and the kit, which comes from Rain Brothers, a company out of Columbus, Ohio.”

The purpose of the session, according to Sowards, is to educate the people attending the workshop about the importance of storm water management in maintaining the runoff from their property.

“You can store it from your rain gutters, and you can use that water to water your garden later, which is important, considering the droughts we have been having, and predictably we will be facing in the next years,” Sowards said. “And this is a way for them to learn about this, and also to get this rain barrel at a really cheap cost.”

Portsmouth Wastewater Director Richard Duncan was also expected to attend and speak to the people about the challenges that the community is facing.

“The rain water all drains into our sewer system here, and they are having trouble with the load,” Sowards said. “It’s a combined Sewage Overflow System (CSO), and sometimes there are overflows, and they are working on that. And this will be a small drop in the bucket in combatting that.”

Sowards said, by using the rain barrel, instead of just any bucket or barrel, the water can be saved, and there will be no mosquito problem, because there is a lid on the barrel.

“It’s also gravity-fed,” Sowards said. “There’s an attachment that you can use for the barrel where you can hook your garden hose to it to go wash your car or wash your dog or things like that.”

Meanwhile, the Scioto Soil and Water Conservation District, in conjunction with Lawrence County’s Soil and Water Conservation District has seen an approval for a $5,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources.

Sowards said the first grant funded project is a Forage for Horses workshop that is scheduled for May 11. She said they also are planning a Soil Health and Cover Crop workshop with OSU extension to be partially funded by the grant.

In addition they are planning on starting a trail cover crop program in Scioto and Lawrence Counties. Sowards said much of the details have yet to be worked out on the cover crops and soil health programs, but the Forage for Horses is ready to go and she said they are already accepting reservations for the workshop.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.