XXIII. Rainbarrels

  1. Introduction
    Rain barrels are recommended as a useful tool in capturing and recycling rooftop rainwater runoff.
  2. General Requirements
    1. Approval Process. An approved GHI rain barrel request form  is required for installation. Members must also sign a statement of maintenance responsibility prior to installation approval. Staff will inspect and approve the final installation of all rain barrels. If a rain barrel does not pass final inspection the member must correct any deficiencies or remove the barrel.
    2. Rain Barrel Minimum Performance Criteria
      1. Barrel capacity. Barrels should be sized to capture 100% of at least ½" rainfall event - 60-132 gallons based on roof surface area.
      2. Barrel overflow. Rain barrels must be designed and installed with a "return-to-sewer" or "return-to-swale" bypass so excess water volume from a filled barrel is directed away from the unit. The overflow discharge pipe may be connected either to the underground storm water system (if present) or to above ground swale, rain garden or other landscaped area. The overflow discharge pipe on the barrel must be at least 1½" diameter.
      3. Mosquito prevention. Barrels must have an intact 200-micron mesh screen over the water inlet. A mesh of this size will prevent mosquito development. Barrels must also have a tight-fitting lid that prohibits mosquitoes from entering and prevents drowning risks for pets and children.
      4. Other design features. Barrels should be made from a heavy-duty HDPE plastic to provide strength and durability. Barrels must also have an outflow valve for extracting water from the barrel. The valve must be sized to fit a normal garden hose and have a threaded or molded point of valve attachment to prevent leaking.
      5. Barrel foundation. Barrels must be designed with a stable base that provides a solid footing. Furthermore, when barrels are installed on-site they must be placed on a solid, level surface, such as concrete or a paver block footing, to prevent leaning or tipping.
      6. Downspout connection. Flexible plastic downspout connectors are not permitted.
      7. Color. Approved barrels have fixed colors. After-market painting is prohibited.
    3. GHI Approved Barrels
      capacity footprint (apprx) height (apprx) color manufacturer
      120-132 gal. 27" wide <51" any RiverSafe 
      60-75 gal. 24" wide <46" black RainBox  or equivalent
      Rain barrels other than a GHI-approved barrel must meet or exceed minimum performance criteria and will be reviewed by GHI on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Location and Installation
    1. Barrel location. Barrels are permitted on any GHI unit downspout based on member preference pending approval by GHI Staff based on the technical feasibility of the location. Only one barrel allowed per downspout. Rain barrels on other downspouts require an exception.
    2. Shared downspouts.  Consent from the adjoining neighbor is required for rain barrel installation on shared downspouts.
    3. Screening. Screening not required.
    4. Consistency. Barrel types must be consistent within a court.
    5. Fee-For Service Installation. GHI will provide a Fee-For-Service rate for installation. If a member elects to install a rain barrel without GHI assistance final installation must meet minimum criteria described above and must be approved by GHI Staff.
    6. End-of-use or change of owner considerations.
      1. Barrel Removal. Since downspouts are a GHI responsibility, member will bear cost of barrel removal and replacement of downspouts if they wish to remove a rain barrel. GHI will provide a Fee-For-Service rate to remove rain barrels and restore downspouts.
      2. Resale. At the time of resale of a unit with an installed barrel, the prospective new member will be educated about the rain barrel and given the opportunity to accept the barrel and agree to its proper use, and sign a statement of rainbarrel responsibility. If the prospective member does not desire the barrel then the rainbarrel must be removed at the expense of the departing member.
      3. Barrel Disposal. Since the barrel is the property of the member they may elect how to dispose of a removed barrel. GHI will accept unwanted barrels and offer functional barrels for sale to members at a discounted rate.
  4. Maintenance
    1. While the periodic maintenance of the selected rain barrels is minimal, the proper functioning of any rain barrel is contingent upon proper regular maintenance. The majority of this responsibility will fall to the member. GHI will offer free educational materials and workshops to members.
    2. Member must sign a rain barrel maintenance agreement prior to installation, or when accepting responsibility for a previously-installed rainbarrel.
    3. Routine member responsibilities for rain barrel maintenance include:
      1. Emptying the barrel following most rain events.
      2. Cleaning leaf filters on a monthly basis or as needed.
      3. Emptying the barrel and opening all valves to winterize.
      4. Annual inspection of valves, hoses, and barrel for proper operation.
    4. Maintenance deficiencies. If a member does not keep the barrel clean and functional, GHI reserves the right to notify the member of the deficiency. If the member does not bring the barrel into compliance GHI will service the barrel and charge the member a Fee-For-Service maintenance fee. If a member exhibits chronic maintenance problems with their barrel, GHI reserves the right to remove the barrel and charge the member a Fee-For-Service barrel removal charge, including restoration of the downspout.
  5. Status of existing rain barrels in GHI
    Members who have installed a rain barrel prior to the adoption of the GHI Rain Barrel Policy are required to complete a rain barrel request form and sign a statement of rain barrel responsibility. If existing barrels meet minimum performance criteria they will be grandfathered. If barrels do not comply, members must correct performance deficiencies or remove the barrel.