Storm Water Management
Rain Barrel Program
ECA is proud to present our new line of eco friendly rain barrels. Our barrels are the embodiment of ECA’s commitment to environmental stewardship and socially equitable enterprise. Each barrel is made from nearly 100% recycled materials. Our barrels are then constructed by hand by low income Philadelphians who are pursuing careers in the green jobs economy.
The barrel itself is a recycled reused 55 gallon food grade barrel. Each barrel is certified to have only contained food products and have been professionally steam cleaned to ensure maximum cleanliness. Barrels are also purchased locally to reinvest in our community and cut down on their carbon footprint.
Each barrel uses a rubber diverter that pulls water to your barrel from your downspout without major alteration to your existing downspout. Only one 2-1/8 inch hole needs to be drilled into your downspout. From there our flexible 3’ accordion hose fills your barrel and allows any excess water to be directed back into your downspout.
Each barrel also includes a plastic spigot which has standard garden hose threading on it to allow you to attach any garden hose or garden hose accessory to the barrel.
Installation of the barrel requires a power drill and one 2-1/8’’ hole saw bit and takes mere minutes. Once installed our barrels can help you prevent flooding and pollution associated with stormwater and it also gives you access to a free and renewable sources of water.
It is recommended that rain barrels are disconnected from the water source during the freezing winter months. Included in your purchase is a winter cover for the hole drilled in your downspout. Simply use the screws included with your diverter to screw the cover on your downspout.
Remember that water from barrels is untreated rain water and should not be used for drinking, cooking, or any other ingested uses. Our barrels are specifically designed to minimize contact with and prevent breeding of mosquitoes. Please remember that water in rain barrels is not pressurized and will not flow out of your barrel at the same rate that water flows from your spigot attached to your home.
Rain Check Program
Rain Check is a cost-sharing program funded by the Philadelphia Water Department that provides stormwater management tools to Philadelphia residents. These tools are landscape improvements that can beautify your home and will improve the water quality of our rivers and streams. Rain Check supports Philadelphia’s long-term stormwater management plan, Green City, Clean Waters.
Through Rain Check, participants are able to have the following installations completed at their homes:
1. Downspout planter boxes
A downspout planter is a decorative garden planter filled with gravel, soil and vegetation that utilizes rainfall from the roof as irrigation. Downspout planters, also called flow-through planters, are connected to the roof downspout to let water flow in and are designed to slow water down from entering the sewer system and allow excess water to flow back into the sewer.
Downspout planters can be constructed in many sizes and shapes, and with various materials, including concrete, brick, plastic, lumber or wood.
2. Rain gardens
A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater from impervious areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). They can be designed for specific soils and climates. Rain gardens improve water quality in nearby bodies of water and can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.
Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally do not require fertilizer, are more tolerant of local climate, soil, and water conditions, and attract local wildlife such as native birds. The plants — a selection of wetland edge vegetation, such as wildflowers, sedges, rushes, ferns, shrubs and small trees — take up excess water flowing into the rain garden. Water filters through soil layers before entering the groundwater system. Root systems enhance infiltration, maintain or even augment soil permeability, provide moisture redistribution, and sustain diverse microbial populations involved in biofiltration.
3. De-paving & Pourous Pavers
By removing existing impervious surface (such as asphalt or pavement) and replacing it with a surface type that will allow for water to infiltrate back into the ground (such as a green space or porous pavers), we help to prevent excess stormwater from entering our sewers. This takes some of the burden off of the City’s sewer system and can prevent contaminated water from overflowing into our waterways.
4. Yard trees
Through a joint effort with the Philadelphia Water Department, ECA has developed and implemented stormwater management training at its Knight Green Jobs Training Center in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Building professionals are being trained on how to perform comprehensive stormwater site assessments as well as how to install various stormwater management practices such as the ones listed above. These students will take part in the PWD’s Rain Check residential stormwater management program.
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