This past spring and summer, over fifty rain barrels found homes in our upstream communities, especially Cheltenham Township, helping to capture and slow down stormwater before it gets to our creeks.

Stormwater runoff is the number one source of pollution to our waterways. Capturing and slowing down this water is one way to improve creek health…and rain barrels are one easy tool to help us accomplish this goal! This past spring, in addition to providing rain barrel information workshops, we sold Camels Hump rain barrels directly to residents. Camels Hump is a local company that specializes in affordable, durable, and attractive barrels.


This rain barrel found a home in Glenside!

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can store and save 1,300 gallons of water per month. These 56 barrels have prevented 70,000 gallons of runoff from adding to high flows in the Tookany Creek. Instead, the water is used by pollution-filtering plants and returned to groundwater. “I live near Rowland Community Center and when it rains, water from my property ends up in Tookany Creek,” rain barrel owner Sharon Bennett shared.

Rain Barrels are large containers (usually about 55 gallons) that connect to downspouts and collect rainwater from rooftops. Water is stored in the barrel until a homeowner uses it for watering plants, washing patio furniture or cars, or any other non-potable uses. Besides conserving water and saving on water bills, residents are keeping water from flowing to the creek during the peak of a storm. This helps cut down on creek flows that wash away streambanks and drop pollution-laden sediment into creek habitat.

Commmissioner McKeown picks up his rain barrel.

Commmissioner McKeown picks up his rain barrel.

Rowland Community Center hosted the first of three informational rain barrel workshops in February, which attracted over 25 eager residents. As the winter came to an end, 20 barrels were delivered to theie new owners. These new rain barrel owners created quite a buzz and dozens of folks contactied us to find out how they could get a barrel too!  Two more sessions were held in May and June, with partners Creekside Co-op and Friends of High School Park hosting both workshops and barrel deliveries. A special thanks to Cheltenham Township for helping us spread the word!

This exciting interest in rain barrels is proof that citizens understand and want to protect our creeks. Haven’t installed your rain barrel yet? Need another one? Reserve a barrel now and you’ll be at the top of the list for the Spring 2016 rain barrel season. These barrels have gotten rave reviews. Thom Cross of Cheltenham wrote: “The barrel is designed to allow a water bucket to fill from it’s spigot and comes with a screen to filter-out any debris the comes from the down spout and gutter. These barrels have great features that many rain barrels get wrong.“


The Cross family welcomed this rain barrel which they use for watering the garden.











Stop by the Creekside Coop to see the Camel’s Hump rain barrel located at their exit. Make sure you’re on our email list to receive rain barrel sale and workshop news. For information or to reserve a barrel, contact Alex Cooper at /215-744-1853

If you live in Philadelphia, you can get a free rain barrel through Rain Check. The Abington Environmental Advisory Council sells rain barrels, too! Learn more here.

About Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper, Community Watershed Specialist (Upstream) Alex develops and engages residents, schools, and organizations in hands-on watershed education programs including citizen water quality testing and restoration efforts in our upstream communities. Alex holds a degree in Geography from West Chester University. He has held watershed community engagement positions with organizations as far away as Mississippi and as close as New Jersey. Alex enjoys empowering people of all ages to become watershed heroes. Three things about Alex: he kayaks, plays blues guitar, and keeps waders in his car. Contact Alex at 215.744.8153 or


There’s no place like a TTF home for rain barrels! — 1 Comment

  1. I just recently attended Raincheck in Philly to get a rainbarrel installed. It’s a 2 way benefit – I don’t have to pay to water my plants in my back yard or infront of my porch, along with cleaning the yard/porch/outdoor furniture/ etc…. and when it’s raining and the streets are flooding (like it was today.) it slows down the rain intake into the storm drain in my back yard helping everyone else that lives on my street or around the corner on the other side of the alley. One of my neighbors doesn’t have room for a rain barrel in her yard but she wants to sign up for a downspout planter. Wonderful program.

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