Greening Park Forest One Rain Barrel at a Time


Commissioner Jim Saxton explains the rain barrel concept at a workshop last August. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— The Village of Park Forest and the Park Forest Environment Commission have arranged for Upcycle Products to provide rain barrels for $49 each – an extremely reasonable price if you have researched the costs of rain barrels on-line.

What is a rain barrel, and why should I use one?
Rain barrels are containers that collect and store rainwater from your rooftop via your home’s disconnected downspout for later use on your lawn or garden, or other outdoor uses. Rain barrels are primarily used as a water conservation tool but can also be helpful in managing storm water.

Why would I want a rain barrel in my yard?
Lawn and garden watering can make up 40% of your household water use during the summer months. You can significantly reduce the amount of water you consume by using rainwater instead of tap water. The water collected in your barrel can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Water your garden and lawn
  • Wash your car or bike
  • Clean work boots and tools
  • Water potted plants

Many gardeners claim that they find that their plants like rainwater better than tap water.

Is a rain barrel right for my home?
A rain barrel may be a good idea for your home if:

  1. You will use the rainwater collected in the barrel often after it rains
  2. You can place your barrel underneath a disconnected downspout
  3. The land surrounding the rain barrel slopes away from your house and surrounding homes
  4. The area surrounding the rain barrel has enough pervious surface to soak up overflow without causing flooding

Will my barrel overflow when it rains?
Probably. Keep in mind that a 1,000 square foot roof accepts approximately 310 gallons of water in a half-inch rainfall. If the roof has 4 downspouts each accepting roughly the same amount of water, one downspout will accept 75 gallons, causing the barrel to overflow by 25 gallons.

What should I do with the overflow?
Make sure overflow does not cause flooding or flow into a neighbor’s property. Ensure there is enough pervious surface around the barrel to soak up overflow. Trees and plants with deep roots are good absorbers. Concrete and asphalt are not acceptable.

Rain Barrel Details

  • Made of recycled material (usually containers that previously held food)
  • Will hold 50 gallons of water
  • Mosquito-proof
  • Contains overflow holes, spigot and drain hole
  • Will fit in the back seat of most cars.

How Can I Get A Rain Barrel?
There are 2 ways to get a rain barrel as part of the Park Forest initiative.

  • Cash and carry at the Farmers’ Market on June 6th, July 11th, August 1st and September 5th. The Park Forest Environment Commission will sell the available stock-on-hand for $49 each. Common accessories such as linking hoses, flex elbows, pedestal risers, and diverters will also be available for nominal costs. Payment at the Farmers’ Market can be made in either cash or personal check made out to the Village of Park Forest.
  • Pre-Order a rain barrel at Village Hall. Order your rain barrel at the Department of Parks and Recreation window in the color of your choice (terra cotta, gray, black or blue). A minimum deposit of $25 is required at the time you place your order or you can pay in full. Bring your receipt and pick up your rain barrel at the Farmers’ Market on June 6th, July 11th, August 1st or September 5th.

For questions or more information about Park Forest’s rain barrels, contact Jim Saxton at [email protected].