Our Barrels Runneth Over!

You know you are an eco geek when you have spent your day twittering about your rain barrel!

But that is exactly what we have been doing today in Mar Vista. Those of us lucky enough to already have gotten our city rain barrels installed are posting on facebook and blogs and generally giddy about what we are seeing.

It was amazing how quickly that 55 barrel filled up! Even more amazing - yesterday when there was a lull, I drained four buckets worth off the barrel to water some pots that were under cover. There is nothing like a visual to make the concept of 'first flush' real. First flush is the run off from the first 3/4" of rain that hits your roof. A month without rain will allow significant amounts of pollutants to build up on a roof. The first flow from rain after a dry spell will contain concentrated poisons dissolved in the rainwater as it flows across the roof surface, into our sewer system and directly out to Santa Monica Bay. So if the accumulation from a month is toxic, what is it like in a drought condition like ours?

This is the big plus about our rain barrels. Not only are we capturing water that we can use - we are capturing that all important first flush. Even if the rest of it overflows from our rain barrels, we have diverted the toxins that were on our roof and captured them. Then we let the earth do what it does best. We use that water in our gardens where the earth will filter it.

Look at that bucket - do you want your kids swimming in that?


  1. And The Learning Garden isn't allowed to have rain barrels! Can you tell I'm upset about this? It is a stunning travesty. While I think the only solution is to dissolve LA USD and replace it with a worthwhile organization, I would be very happy if we could just change their minds.

    They say 'LA is a desert' and my good friend, Orchid Black snorts back, 'Because we MADE it that way.' All our technology sent the water straight out to the ocean. We should have been saving it all along.


  2. join us at our meeting on 10/25 to bring this up! You should also talk to John Ayres - he brings a lot of water conservation issues up to the school system. There is no safety issue - they are securely bolted to the building and enclosed - can't fall over and you can't fall in. We could get Paula Henson involved - she has a rain barrel company