CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
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Free Rain Barrels for New Yorkers
By MIREYA NAVARRO
New York City is giving away 55-gallon rain barrels to homeowners to help conserve water and reduce pressure on the city’s sewer system, which is often overwhelmed during heavy storms. The city started promoting the barrels by distributing a few hundred of them in Queens in 2008 and 750 more in 2009 to homeowners who applied for them. This year, 1,000 free barrels are being distributed to owners of single- and two-family homes on a first-come-first-served basis at events in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
On average, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said, as much as 40 percent of the water homeowners use goes to irrigate gardens and lawns during the summer.
The barrels, which connect to the downspout that takes water from the roof of a house and sell for about $150 at stores, are a simple way for people to save money on water bills while helping reduce the stress on the sewer system, which discharges a mix of storm water and untreated sewage into New York Harbor when it is overloaded during rainstorms, officials said.
“These rain barrels will capture thousands of gallons of water that would have otherwise flowed into the streets, leading to flooding and increasing the likelihood and intensity of combined sewer overflow,” said Cas Holloway, the city’s environmental protection commissioner.
The next barrel distributions are scheduled for:
• Queens: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Cunningham Park, 196th Place and Union Turnpike.
• The Bronx: May 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Pelham Bay Park, in the Middletown Road parking lot on Stadium Avenue.
• Staten Island: May 7, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Boulevard.
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CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES ( CCRES )