RiverSides promotes stormwater diversion as a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to save urban residents and their local governments the financial and environmental costs caused by storm events.
(Click images to enlarge)
Why Is Stormwater Runoff a Problem?
The stormwater that runs off city roofs through eavestroughs and downspout (or that runs off paved surfaces) can be a problem when it moves directly down into the city sewers for the following reasons:
- It takes with it all the urban pollutants that have fallen on the roofs (and streets and driveways)
- It only waters our trees and gardens during rainfall
- It can lead to basement flooding
Where Does Stormwater Runoff Go?
When stormwater, contaminated with pollutants, flows directly into the sewer system, the untreated water can either flow into our rivers (see blue arrow, bottom left) or it can overflow during a heavy storm event into the sanitary sewer (white arrow curving to right), leading to further contamination (brown arrow curving to left).
Water from the sanitary sewer must go through costly municipal treatment before it can be used in households, and untreated overflow can end up back in our lakes (blue arrow, bottom right).
How Do Rain Barrels Reduce Damages and Costs?
A storm event can lead to basement flooding. This happens when the flow of large amounts of rainwater directly towards city sewers causes sewers to fill up too suddenly. It also happens when the heavy flow through a eavestrough downspout causes water to back up in the below-grade drainage pipe near the house.
A rain barrel can capture a considerable amount of water. The water can be redirected for slower, controlled release to a garden or land farther from the house.
After being absorbed into the ground in this way, less water ends up in city sewers, with the bonus that the water has been naturally filtered through the ground.