Livingston Library Hosts "Build a Rain Barrel" Workshop

The rain garden outside the Livingston Library is a beautiful way to reuse water.
Natalynn Dunson-Harrison of Livingston concentrating on drilling a hole for her overflow hose adapter.
Montclair residents Becky and Ben Kim assembling their rain barrel for their new home.
Adam Osborn from Americorps explaining the benefits of rain barrels and how to assemble them.

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Approximately 35 people attended Tuesday night's rain barrel workshop at the Livingston Library. Developed by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, its aim is to provide lectures and hands-on training to homeowners and other groups on topics such as rain barrels and rain gardens.

In attendance was Livingston Mayor Arlene Johnson who told The Alternative Press "Livingston is one of five towns in New Jersey cooperating with Rutgers University Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to help [Livingston] install rain gardens and retrofitting Monmouth Court with low-flow fixtures and faucets." She went on to say, "Our goal is to raise awareness with citizens for a ten percent townwide water reduction over the next three years."

Adam Osborn from Americorps lectured on the benefits of owning a rain barrel and how to assemble it. Besides saving homeowners money on watering their greenery, it can lessen basement flooding as well as prevent water runoff from polluting our local waterways. "The old way of thinking was to send rainwater away into a pipe and into a sewer. Now we want to harvest and capture water, helping to control water pollution from dirt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and other pathogens."

The water can be used to water lawns and shrubbery even when there are water restrictions because it is not being taken from the town's water supply. Osborn cautioned against using the water to drink or to irrigate fruits and vegetables because it may contain dust, pollen and animal droppings from the roof.

If you are thinking about obtaining a rain barrel here is what you need to know. Use the collected water within a week or two to discourage algae growth. When full, a 55-gallon rain barrel can weigh about 460 pounds. Therefore, it needs to be set on a strong platform made of either bricks, cinder blocks or pressure-treated wood. In the winter it needs to be drained and disconnected. The rain barrel can be stored inside or stored outdoors turned upside down.

Armed with newfound knowledge as well as goggles and drills, the group set about assembling their barrels outside on the library's terrace. Participant Ben Kim steadied the barrel while his wife Becky drilled the hole for the faucet. Said Becky, "This is for our new home in Montclair."

The barrels, made of food-grade plastic, so as not to leach barrel material into the water, can hold 55 gallons of rainfall. On average, a homeowner can save 1300 gallons of water a year. The 40 barrels distributed Tuesday night can collectively save 52,000 gallons a year.

Renee Resky, Livingston's Environmental Commissioner said, "It's a drop in the bucket, literally, but it adds up."

For more information on where and when workshops are being offered, go to and click on Rain Barrels.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Local Children Invited to Register for Essex County Summer Camps

February 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Children of all ages are invited to participate in spring and summer camp opportunities at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Essex County Codey Arena and the Essex County Environmental Center.

The zoo has several weeklong camp adventures that will introduce children to the extraordinary world of animals, nature and science. Campers and their parents/guardians are ...

How Do I Decide Which College to Attend?

Now that college acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It's hard to decide!! Here are some tips and ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs During "Black Panther" Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

Lobby - Office Building, Livingston

Gun Violence Prevention & Congressional Candidates



Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

CycleBar, Livingston

Cycle Red for Heart Disease to Benefit Heart ...

Giving Back

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

February 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...