Collecting Rain for Sustainability

Project Title: 

Rain Collectors

Project Timeline

Six months to plan and install four (or more) rain barrels:

  • Review Sustainable Fee Project budget; decide how many rain barrels we can afford.
  • Schedule meeting with maintenance staff; inquire about possible flooding in certain areas on campus; decide which buildings and locations are best for rain barrel installations.
  • Mark where each rain barrel will be installed on a campus map.
  • Installation time will occur over a weekend in March, 2017.

Project Description

Four 100 gallon rain barrels will be installed to a number of buildings on the UIC campus. The exact locations of the barrels will be determined after inquiring information from the campus maintenance crew, to decide the best placement for each rain barrel. Depending on the size of each building, there will be one or more rain barrel(s) installed to each structure. There will be a total of four barrel installations, unless budget allows for more. The rain from these barrels will be used to water the gardens, the greenhouse, and the UIC landscaping. These rain collectors will prove sustainable for UIC’s water supply; assisting with the Net Zero Water promise.

Project Budget

Average cost of materials needed:

100 gallon rain barrel: $200

Overflow kit/runoff pipe: $35

Rain Diverter: $18

Soaker Hose: $21

Linking Kit: $12

Spigot, if not supplied: $5

Additional Guttering: $5

  • Each barrel installation: $296 (4)
  • Cost for installation: $1,184 for 4 rain barrels
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4 thoughts on “Collecting Rain for Sustainability

  1. While rain barrels seem like a quick and easy short term solution, we must think of what goes into a rain barrel. Typically we’d use the rain barrels when there’s no rainfall, so if we store the rainwater for too long it’ll be more susceptible to contamination. So we must question the quality of the water if we are irrigating anything edible. For example, if the water is being collected from the roof, animal droppings could be found and bring bacteria into the barrel. There are solutions around these problems like charcoal filtration and mesh bags to catch any large particles getting into the barrels. They’re a small additional cost to our barrels, but they’re a great investment for quality sake. I found a link here on a study of the rain quality in barrels and some best practices. http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/fs1218/

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    • I completely agree, that’s why I thought the water could be used for watering the heritage garden and green space around the campus, as I mentioned, rather than drinking it. Thanks for the feedback!

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      • I had the similar idea of collecting precipitation to water the green space on campus the only difference would be that once collected it would be taken to a facility where the students can sanitize it, therefor making it a learning experience before being stored and distributed. We should definitely collaborate on creating an LOI to suggest as a final project; im sure we could come up with something great.

        Liked by 1 person

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