Wingham, ON, and Stratford, PE, have been selected to participate in a rain barrel initiative later this year
Following the release of the first rain barrel study by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Wingham, ON, the next participating town has been selected. Stratford, PE, with a population of 8,500, will begin the rain barrel initiative later this year.
The goal of the study is to measure how the collective use of rain barrels can help reduce stress on storm water and sewer systems and help keep basements dry during intense rainstorms.
One rain barrel can collect about 45 gal of water. "While this seems like old technology, it is part of the solution to dealing with a 21st century problem," said Bill Adams, vice president of Atlantic Canada IBC. "Collecting rainwater will provide relief to the storm water and sewer system infrastructure, which is dealing with ever-increasing amounts of rain water due to changing weather patterns."
Years ago, storm water and sewer system design was based on weather patterns that predicted intense storms would occur every five years. But these intense storms are now occurring every two years. Rain barrels will capture and hold storm water until it can be safely processed, reducing the stress on the storm and sewer systems. The rain barrel could be one of a number of innovative solutions allowing municipalities to use their existing infrastructures more efficiently until they can be updated.
To encourage participation, IBC is providing free rain barrels to all Stratford homeowners. The Wingham rain barrel study determined that out of 1,000 homes, 72% of downspouts were disconnected from the storm and sanitary sewer system, providing immediate relief. Even during heavy rains with direct downspouts disconnected and rain barrels in use, Wingham remained within its storm system capacity.
This second study will include a simple solution to the full barrel problem: a slow-release drain valve allowing the barrels to empty on their own over 24 hours.
To view a clip about the Wingham Rain Barrel Study, please visit http://youtu.be/Ee2q8763_7Y 
To learn about how to install and use a rain barrel (with drainage cap), please visit http://youtu.be/OaJ_mFHVzaA 
A copy of the Wingham study and other background materials are available on ibc.ca .