Fishtown Library hosts Rain Check Workshop

The event is being hosted by the Philadelphia Water Department

Helping to celebrate the Philadelphia Water Department’s 5th year anniversary of its Rain Check program, the Department has worked with community organizations to establish educational workshops and encourage the installation of stormwater tools. In promoting these initiatives, the Fishtown Library, located at 1217 E Montgomery Avenue, will be hosting one of these Rain Check Workshops on Monday, Oct. 23 from 6 to 7 p.m.

“Our goal is to reach as many residents as possible and to educate them about our Green City, Clean Waters program and the importance of reducing stormwater runoff on the residential level,” Jeanne Waldowski, community initiatives specialist, public affairs, of the Philadelphia Water Department, said.

During this program, which is funded by the Philadelphia Water Department and managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network, local residents are invited to come out and learn how they can receive a free rain barrel from the Philadelphia Water Department. They will also gain access to reduced pricing for downspout planters, rain gardens and permeable pavers.

According to the Department, the rain barrels and installation assistance are being provided because the subject of offering resident’s rebates or a stormwater “credit” for installing rain barrels and the cost share tools has come up many times. Yet, because the current credit system is based on a property capturing the first one inch of stormwater runoff, it is not a good fit for residential properties (e.g., a rowhouse would need to install 11 rain barrels to capture the required volume). So, the department adopted a cost share program for residential properties, with the PWD picking up 80 percent of the cost for a landscaping improvement that would also manage stormwater. Residents can take advantage of free rain barrel and its installation, as well as up to $2,000 contribution to the other cost share tools. Furthermore, PWD added that its benefits residential property owners by allowing them to become stormwater management ambassadors — a true win-win.

Before Rain Check, the Department hosted rain barrel workshops where they gave away the barrels on-site, but did not install the barrels at this time. When participants stressed that they still did not feel comfortable installing the rain barrels on their own, it would result in the barrels sitting unused, or that they would be given away. This is why the Department’s installation of them began, and to date, it has installed over 5,000 barrels.

Ultimately, the goal of the Philadelphia Water Department in setting up these workshop events is to assist residents in managing stormwater, while working to beautify their homes. Furthermore, Rain Check supports the City of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program which is working in neighborhoods across the City, adding green features to keep excess stormwater out of sewers.

“This a great opportunity for residents to get information and ask questions about the PWD’s program, as well as learning how to make a difference in making Philadelphia a greener city,” Sheila O’Steen, library manager and adult/teen librarian at the Fishtown Library, said. “In the past, this has been a well-attended program, which tells me there is interest in this type of programming. It’s also a great opportunity for those who have not yet been to the Fishtown Library to explore what we offer.”

For more information, or to register, visit: http://www.phillywatersheds.org/raincheck.