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Flossmoor residents have until the end of the year to order free rain barrels through a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) program.

(Provided photo)

Village board members Monday approved an intergovernmental agreement with the MWRD that allows residents to receive rain barrels free of charge if they place an order before Dec. 31, when the program ends.

“It’s a short window,” said Mayor Paul Braun, adding that he believed the village and its Green Committee would be able to make it possible for any Flossmoor residents to order rain barrels before the deadline.

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Assistant Village Manager Allison Deitch said she’ll be in contact with the MWRD to work out details on how to best get the barrels to local residents. She said the village is likely to have a program in place within the next few weeks.

According to the MWRD, rain barrels are a form of green infrastructure designed to capture and reuse rainwater. By capturing runoff water from the roof, the barrels prevent rainwater from entering the storm sewer system and help stop backups and flooding. Water collected in the barrels can be used in a number of ways, such as watering plants and washing cars.

The 55-gallon rain barrels are connected directly to a downspout and come with a spigot to release the water, an overflow hose and a screen to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs and hatching. Residents are responsible for installation and can order up to four barrels.

MWRD has offered rain barrels for several years – residents can purchase them online for $51.57 – but the agency started the free program with Chicago-area communities two years ago. Homewood approved the rain barrel agreement with MWRD last week.

Flossmoor will be in charge of the ordering and pickup of rain barrels in the village.

In a memo to the board, Deitch said Flossmoor’s village attorney reviewed the intergovernmental agreement and has concerns over language that indemnifies MWRD and its officers for any liabilities that arise from the delivery and use of rain barrels. MWRD will not remove that language from the agreement.

To address that concern, the village will require residents to sign a document releasing Flossmoor from any liability related to the use of the rain barrels. The document will need to be signed when residents pick up rain barrels. 

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