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Rain barrel workshops return with limited slots

MORGANTOWN — Want a conversation starter for your yard that focuses attention on the environment and the need to protect water resources? What about a water reserve for your garden or yard?

You can get both by attending one of two upcoming rain barrel workshops, the result of a partnership between the Morgantown Utility Board and Friends of Deckers Creek.

“Even if you see one while driving down the street, it prompts you to think about water,” said Chris Dale, MUB communications director.

The first workshop for 2021 will be held Aug. 26 and the second Sept. 9. Both are at 6 p.m. at MUB on Green Bag Road and cost $30. To register, search for “Morgantown Rain Barrel workshop” on 

Each workshop has a maximum of 15 participants — and Dale said they will likely go fast. Every workshop held has sold out. 

“The classes have proven to be an overwhelming success,” Dale said. “Each year, the demand surpasses our barrel supply. To date, we’ve supplied the community with about 400 barrels.”

The first workshop was held in 2015 as part of MUB’s stormwater education program, Dale said.

“The students and parents were so enthused that the next year we decided to do public workshops,” he said. “Rather than just make it a MUB project, we invited partner organization Friends of Deckers Creek. Holly Purpura, who then was Friends of Deckers Creek executive director, immediately jumped on board.”

Bryan Hurley, FODC’s current executive director, said rain barrels are great for the watershed. They are a safe and cost effective way to reduce stormwater runoff on impervious surfaces, such as concrete and blacktop, that would otherwise cause erosion and put pollutants into the watershed.

“What you do around your home impacts the watershed,” he said. “From overwatering the yard, washing down sediment, fertilizing the yard or dumping illegal chemicals down the drain, it all has an impact. Just be aware of how your actions around the house impacts the watershed.”

Dale said the workshops are “great” for MUB because it offers a chance to talk about stormwater and how it works. FODC also offers information about its efforts to protect Deckers Creek. Participants can also ask questions about the water system as a whole — not just the rain barrels.

Class attendees will learn how to set the rain barrels — a 55 gallon terracotta drum — using a kit which includes everything needed right down to the drill bits, Dale said. 

Installing the barrels makes a great family project and offers parents the chance to discuss why protecting our water resources is important, Dale said.

He said it’s unlikely there will be any additional workshops in 2021 but MUB hopes to schedule another round of classes in spring 2022.

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