Green Affairs Wants Your Enthusiasm and Ideas!

MCV Green Affairs focuses on making MCV campus at VCU and the Richmond community greener through service and education. This student-led organization welcome students, faculty, and staff, from all schools and disciplines, both medical and academic from either campus, as well as Richmond community members to help us pursue our goals of educational outreach, increased recycling access, improved sustainable practices and policies at VCU, and community outreach. Email Green Affairs to share your ideas or to get involved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Buy a Rain Barrel, Help Green Unity

Green Unity for MCV Campus is now selling rain barrels to help support our ongoing efforts to make MCV Campus and the surround community more sustainable. Purchasing a rain barrel won't just help Green Unity, it will save you money on your water bill, as well as helping improve the water quality in the James River.

Rain barrels are placed beneath a downspout. Each barrel holds 55 gallons, which will completely fill during just one average rain storm. You can then use the water to water your lawn, your plants*, even wash your car. Multiple rain barrels can also be chained together, so that they all fill with water from one downspout. Every time it rains, the sewage system is overwhelmed, and raw, untreated water is flushed into the James. When rain water is diverted into rain barrels instead of flowing into the storm system, this helps reduce the stress on Richmond's sewage treatment system.

Cost: $55 each
Volume: Approx. 55 gallons
Dimensions: Approx. 20"W x 40"H
Pick-up only, 2 min. from MCV Campus. One rain barrel will fit in the backseat of an average-sized four-door car.
Purchase through Paypal

The rain barrel will have an overflow faucet near the top of the barrel that could also be used for chaining barrels together to collect water from the same downspout. The lid will have a built in bug/debris screen.


Installation is simple. Select a site underneath a downspout that will enable easy access to your rain barrel and that is conveniently close to your garden, or wherever you intend to use the water. Level the site, and place a weed blocker, like old newspapers, 4 sheets thick over the site. Place standard driveway-type gravel 1/2"-1" thick over the newspaper. Install a sturdy raised platform on the site. Four cinder blocks, 2 stacked on top of another 2 work best. This will make it easier to access the faucet with a watering can, and increase the water pressure. Purchase a flex pipe hose (pictured left) from your local hardware store, and insert it into the top of the rain barrel. Cut your downspout pipe to the correct length to fit on the flex pipe hose. Use duct tape to seal the connection. Make sure that water flowing from the overflow spout is pointing away from your house's foundation. You may need to purchase a short hose to attach to the overflow faucet, to direct the water away from your house. The overflow hose can be directed into a nearby garden to help water your plants.

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