Rain Barrels

A rain barrel collects and stores stormwater runoff from rooftops. By temporarily holding stormwater runoff during a rain event, you can reduce peak runoff to storm sewers and creeks, reducing erosion of nearby stream banks. Collected rain water released at a later time recharges groundwater and can be used to water thirsty plants and lawns. Rain barrels also help reduce water pollution by reducing the amount of pollutants and sediment washing into our streams.

animated image of barrel full of water

Rain Barrel Guide

  • Barrel must be placed on flat and level surface.
  • Barrel should be raised about two feet off ground in order to enhance gravity flow into a hose and get good drainage. Cinder or landscaping blocks provide a good base.
  • Overflow hose must be installed in addition to an outflow spigot. Overflow from the barrel as well as the garden hose from the spigot must be directed into a landscaped bed or lawn area at least 4 feet away from foundation.
  • Empty rain barrel within a week after a rain event to optimize use for the next rain event, and to avoid problems with standing water.
  • Build Your Own Rain Barrel

Winter Care

  • Empty buckets, watering cans, rain barrels. Emptying reduces freezing damage, prevents the accumulation of debris and allows for any needed repairs or refurbishing.
  • Disconnect downspouts and redirect.

Sources: Stroud Water Research Center, Education Department; Graphic courtesy of Philadelphia Water Department.

Learn More

To view or download "How to Build Your Own Rain Barrel," or for information on where to purchase rain barrels, view the Chester, Ridley, and Crum (CRC) Watersheds website. This message is brought to you by your municipality and Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association.