SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Regional Center Partnership, utilizing a grant from the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, has announced that the 2018 Raritan River Rain Barrel Rebate Program for homeowners in Bridgewater, Raritan, and Somerville is accepting applications for the 8th year of the program.

Rebates are available in the amount of $50 for 40 to 70-gallon rain barrels and $100 for those that hold more than 70 gallons. Rebates are available for multiple rain barrels that meet all criteria.

Residential homeowners in the three communities who have previously purchased rain barrels are eligible for rebates. Those within the Peters Brook Watershed who purchased and installed after July 1, 2011, and residents outside the Watershed who purchased and installed after Jan. 1, 2014 are eligible. All require proof of purchase and installation.

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Rain barrels provide homeowners with financial and ecological advantages by conserving water, easing stream erosion by reducing the volume of runoff entering to streams and rivers during storms, and reducing pollutants accumulated from impervious surfaces, particularly roofs. In established urban areas like the Regional Center, rainwater runoff from hard surfaces flows directly into streams, depositing these pollutants.

Rain barrels must have a closed design or screen top; have a system to direct excess water away from the home’s foundation; have a spigot not higher that 3” from the bottom of the barrel; and must be made of a sturdy material and installed on a solid level base. Homeowners must pledge to maintain the rain barrel for at least two years to be eligible for the rebate.

“A rain barrel is a simple and effective way of practicing environmental responsibility,” said Troy Fischer, chair of the Somerset County Regional Center Partnership. “Homeowners in the Regional Center communities have a unique opportunity to recoup their investment twice, once through the rebate and multiple times through re-use of rain water.”

Rebates will be awarded on a first come, first served basis, and funding is limited. Detailed information can be found on the Regional Center Partnership’s website at www.regionalcenterpartnership.org, by calling 908-730-0270 x233 or sending an email to rainbarrel@raritanbasin.org.