“Our community is growing rapidly, and we all have to do our part to contribute to its sustainability,” said Koo.
The giveaway is part of a $2.1 billion investment the city has made to improve the water quality in Flushing Creek. The rain barrels, in addition to over 50 bioswales the city is building around Flushing, are intended to keep stormwater runoff from entering the sewer system and ultimately the creek.
“And hopefully you'll see a reduction in your water bill,” said Ibrahim Abdul-Matin of DEP, who added that Queens was a significant focus of the agency's rain barrel program given the number of single-family homes in the borough.
To collect the water, the rain barrels are attached to a home's downspout, while a lid prevents the barrels from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The water can then be used around the house for activities like watering lawns and gardens.
“Not all of the water we use has to be potable or suitable for drinking,” said Susan Lacerte, executive director of the Queens Botanical Garden, which will host the June 3rd giveaway in its parking lot on Crommelin Street.
The rain barrels, which can cost up to $100, are free, but residents must make a request for one in advance by calling Koo's office at (718) 888-8747. According to a spokesperson from his office, they have already received numerous requests.