The effort to get property owners engaged in a real easy-to-ignore problem—floods and contaminated lake water—was dealt a blow in September when an appellate court told the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District it didn’t have the authority to collect a fee based on the square footage of hard surfaces at homes and business. Observers wondered if this was a death knell for green infrastructure, aka using rain barrels and natural methods to absorb rain where it falls.
GreenCityBlueLake is curious, were you shopping for a rain barrel because of a monthly stormwater fee ranging from $3-10 that started showing up on your bill? Maybe you didn’t notice or make the connection to the District's attempt to inspire individual action, like many.
The typical 55-gallon rain barrel sells readily for $75 at Home Depot, and is still your cheapest way of harvesting water for your garden. Until the program was halted, the Sewer District was offering a 25% credit for hooking up 75% of downspouts to a rain barrel. That would put a payback (not counting the water saved) on your investment at around 8 years.
Maybe there are other drivers that inspire more rain barrel and rain garden installations? It could start with a collective vision for dealing with flooding and raw sewage overflows into streams and the Lake. GCBL explores a regional vision for stormwater and its chances of leading to change in this new page.
As we say, “it’s all about taking responsibility for our environmental impacts.” Do you agree?