Why use a rain barrel?

Rain barrels connect to your downspout, decreasing the amount of rain that runs off your property. Why is that important?  Reduced runoff helps prevent water pollution and flooding.  Every time it rains, unabsorbed water rushes to storm drains and directly to local waterways.  This water carries with it pollutants such as pet waste, automotive fluids and fertilizer.

Installing a rain barrel benefits the environment and you.  The water saved in rain barrels can be used for watering flowers, gardens and lawns all through the summer, even in times of drought.  Reduced water demand will lower your use of municipal water supplies, saving you money!

Want to buy a rain barrel?

Bluegrass Greensource sells rain barrels year round. The rain barrels are made out of plastic, 55 gallon, reused, food grade barrels. The price for one is $75 plus tax. If you are interested in buying a rain barrel from Bluegrass Greensource, contact us.

Maintaining a Rain Barrel

The water caught in your rain barrel should not be used for human consumption unless you have used a high quality filtration system after extracting the water from your barrel.

  • Don’t allow the water to overflow and saturate the ground around your home’s foundation; use an adjustable diverter or an overflow pipe, available from stores and companies selling rain barrels and accessories.
  • Place the barrel on cinder blocks or an outdoor wood stand; this allows the spigot to work better.
  • Wooden rain barrels should always have at least 3-5 gallons of water in them, to keep them from drying out and shrinking.
  • Agitate your rain barrel before using the water. This will help prevent the build up of sediment in the bottom of the barrel.
  • Roof top debris can enter rain barrels that are directly connected to downspouts. It is advisable to create or install some type of gutter guard that keeps leaves and pine needles out of the rain barrel.
  • Empty your rain barrel no more than a week after a rain event to prevent the water from becoming stagnant.
  • Mosquito Dunks are available in most home improvement stores and on many Internet websites.

A common concern is the possibility of mosquitoes breeding in the stored water. Precautions should be undertaken to minimize infestation. Top or side mesh screens or plastic lids will act as a barrier to insects, but eggs may still drop through or wash in from the gutters. Non-toxic water treatment is a simple, proactive approach to pest management. Mosquito Dunks are available on many Internet websites, such as abundantearth. Just be sure you’re using the all-natural B.t.i. (Bacillius thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) dunks. B.t.i is a live bacterium that kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to other living things.


Organize a Rain Barrel Workshop

Bluegrass Greensource can lead a rain barrel workshop for up to 20 people in Central Kentucky. At the end of the workshop, each participant will have converted a food grade barrel into a working rain barrel.

Bluegrass Greensource will:

  1. Provide all tools and supplies
  2. Provide instruction on how to use rain barrels and hand out maintenance information
  3. Give an overview of water quality and water conservation, as well as how small changes, like rain barrels, can make a big impact in our local environment
  4. Assist with promotion of the workshop

Host organization will:

  1. Pay Bluegrass Greensource a workshop fee of $250
  2. Pay Bluegrass Greensource $45 for each participant to cover the costs of the materials, including barrels
  3. Pick up the barrels for the workshop from our supplier in Mercer County
  4. Assist with promotion of the workshop
  5. Provide a place for participants to register

Download our rain barrel maintenance tip sheet.

Make Your Own Rain Barrel

If you are interested in making your own rain barrel, check out our events page to see if we have a workshop coming up. If there are not any, here is a link to a video with instructions!