Ready to start saving water? Join the EPA's I'm For Water pledge and download a checklist of easy water- and money-saving techniques that you can implement in your home now.

Residents can utilize the US Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense programs, which provide guidance on more water-efficient home fixtures.

Stormwater Solutions

Green infrastructure can provide better water infiltration and absorption, helping to prevent water from entering our combined water system. In times of heavy rains, stormwater enters the system, combined with the sanitary waste, which can result in combined sewer water that overflows downstream. This contaminates our waterways, making it harder to maintain a healthy water system.  

You can improve your stormwater management at your home by integrating green infrastructure solutions, such as:

In addition, consider what you use on your lawn. Herbicides and fertilizers, if used improperly, can enter our waterways and contaminate our drinking water. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label to ensure proper application. Interested in more eco-friendly herbicides and fertilizers? Consider organic herbicides and pesticides, or compost instead of chemical fertilizers. Additional lawn tips here.

To learn more about stormwater in our community, visit the Clinton Watershed Website.

Rain Barrels

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 30% of the water used in the average American household goes to outdoor tasks such as watering lawns and gardens. The Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission and the Clinton River Watershed Council promote rain barrels as an excellent way to collect and reuse water. You should never use the water from your rain barrel for drinking or cooking.

Benefits of Rain Barrels:

  • Reduces water pollution by keeping rainwater out of the sewers.
  • Reduces the amount of bacteria, oils, grease, and other pollutants from getting into local waterways.
  • Redirects water from downspouts into rain barrels and diverts excess water from reaching wastewater treatment plants in areas with combined sewage overflow systems.
  • Helps plants thrive by providing water with no minerals, chlorine, or other chemicals.
  • Reduces peak water demand and the amount of treated municipal water used outdoors during the summer months.

Rain barrels are an excellent way to help the environment in urban areas because they reduce stormwater runoff which can carry pollutants and sediment directly to creeks and rivers. There are many ways homeowners can take action to improve their local watershed health. More resources can be found here.

Rain Barrel Guide

When deciding whether a rain barrel will work at your home, ask yourself two important questions:

  • Does my home, garage, or shed have a gutter and downspout?
  • Can I use the water collected in the barrel?

A rain barrel must be placed under your downspout, which requires you to add a diverter to the downspout to divert water into your barrel.

You’ll need to keep in mind that the barrel must be emptied regularly between rainfall, so either plan to water a lawn or garden nearby or add an overflow hose to keep water from over-topping the barrel. Learn more about Rain Barrel Best Practices here.

If you participated in the City's Discounted Rain Barrel Sale, please see the diverter installation support below.

Checklist for Proper Diverter Installation

  • The diverter should be 2-3 inches above the intake fitting and must be in line or below the top of the barrel.  
  • Please refer to Steps 2 and 11 of these diverter installation instructions when determining diverter height.
  • The barrel lid must be closed tight with a gasket to prevent spillage.
  • You will most likely need to shorten your hose to fit the desired location.  

For barrels that don’t have a mosquito screen on top, spread decorative rocks or plant flowers. This will look nice and hide the water from mosquitoes.

Rain Barrel Maintenance

Ensure you have the correct rain barrel setup and maintenance care after installing it.

  • Place the barrel on a flat surface when in use and when watering plants.
  • Rain barrels can be installed upright and placed high enough off the ground – generally a foot or more – to be able to fill a watering can or attach a hose and get good pressure.
  • Bases should be strong, sturdy, and flat, and can be made from cinder blocks, bricks, stones, wood, or cement.

Store your rain barrel properly over winter, as improper storage can lead to damage during harsh conditions:

  • Cap your diverter, drain all the water from your barrel, and leave the barrel spigot open.


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