Long Beach Township Gets a Bit Greener With School Kids’ Rain Barrel

May 13, 2014
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

A rain barrel painted by first-graders at Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City as part of the state’s Rain Barrel Challenge now has a home outside the Long Beach Township municipal building. Rain collected in the barrel will be used to water flower boxes at the entrance to town hall.

“By making town hall a little greener we are leading by example and taking small steps that have a big impact on the community, and on the quality of the environment, especially when we all follow suit,” said Angela C. Andersen, the township recycling and Clean Communities coordinator.

Vic’s Seamless Gutters owner Tom Rubel visited the municipal complex last week to install the barrel, which features the image of a great blue heron. The E.J. school kids painted the native bird strolling through marsh grass for their entry in the 2013 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rain barrel design contest, created to educate children within the Barnegat Bay watershed about protecting the bay and its natural resources.

“Harvesting and recycling rainwater is a simple way to reduce water consumption,” said Andersen, “and it helps to keep runoff from entering the bay.”

The average New Jersey resident uses about 100 gallons of water per day, and more in the summer, Andersen pointed out. By installing just one rain barrel, it is estimated that a homeowner could save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer season.

New Jersey averages about 45 inches of rainfall per year. An 800-square-foot rooftop receives approximately 500 gallons of water in a one-inch rain storm.

“The rain barrel is a great community tool to educate everyone on how to live a little greener, to get connected to the rhythms of our ecosystem,” said Andersen. “And if nothing else, the barrel is a pretty nice piece of public art that was created by our own little local artists.”

Other recent “green upgrades” in Long Beach Township include energy-efficient improvements to lighting and HVAC in the town hall, police station and Department of Public Works garage – all funded through state grants. Also done was a switch to tankless water coolers in the office complex, and community hydration stations installed outside. Another energy-saving step last year was to replace all the windows in town hall and the police building.

For more about the recycling and Clean Communities programs, contact Andersen at 609-361-6641 or andersen@longbeachtownship.com.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

juliet@thesandpaper.net

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