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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

WTTW: Just when you thought you were done with yard work, here’s a bit of prep that may have fallen through the cracks between the holiday bustle and December’s uncommonly warm weather. This is a reminder to pay attention to your rain barrel, if you have one, especially with the National Weather Service eyeballing falling temperatures and snow next week. 

Before the deep chill hits, make sure to disconnect the barrel, unhook the hoses and spigot, and drain the barrel completely. Any water remaining in the barrel could freeze and lead to cracks in the container. 

Consider storing the barrel in a garage, basement or shed, if possible. If storing the barrel outside, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District recommends flipping it upside down or on its side to prevent any water from entering. The barrel also should be raised off the ground to keep from freezing to the surface, according to MWRD, and it should be secured to stop it from blowing away during strong winds.   

Don’t have a rain barrel but would like one? MWRD is taking orders — while supplies last — for discounted barrels available to Cook County residents for delivery in the spring. The cost is $21.50, including delivery, or $10.75 for people age 65 and older.

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Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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