Harrisonburg gets an average of 36 inches of rain every year, and Rockingham County has been promoting rainwater harvesting for years by selling rain barrels at deep discounts. The City of Harrisonburg decided to also capitalize on this eco-friendly water gathering system by installing a 6,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system at their Public Works facility.
What will they do with this water, you ask? According to the City, “the collected rainwater will supplement the water needed by the City’s street sweepers and vactor-flusher truck. A one-inch rainfall event will fill the rainwater harvesting system’s tanks.” This system will also help to improve the quality of water in Blacks Run, which has been known to breed harmful E. coli bacteria.
As land is developed for homes and businesses, more land is covered by impervious surfaces such as parking lots, driveways, and buildings, so rainwater cannot infiltrate into the ground. Instead it flows across impervious surfaces and rushes into our waterways which can increase flooding and erode streambeds. Rainwater harvesting diverts stormwater which could also carry pollution and debris such as pet waste, motor oil, fertilizer, litter, and sediment into our streams and waterways that make our water unsuitable for work and play.
This is a smart move by the City of Harrisonburg. Downtown installed an electric car charging station a few months ago, EMU gets power from solar panels, and now this. What’s next for energy-smart Harrisonburg?