Catch Basin Cleaning in Watertown; Rain Barrels Available from DPW

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The Watertown Department of Public Works provided the following information:

Beginning the week of May 9, 2022, the City will be cleaning stormwater catch basins throughout the City, utilizing a contractor, BMC Corp. There are about 3,600 catch basins in the City and it will take about a month to clean them all.

Catch basins carry stormwater off the streets and into the City’s drainage system, which ultimately flows to the Charles River. The purpose of this work is to remove sediment and oils that accumulate in the catch basins to reduce the risk of flooding and so that these pollutants don’t go into the river.

Rain Barrels

DPW has partnered with the Great American Rain Barrel Company in Hyde Park, MA to offer
recycled rain barrels at a discounted price to residents as part of its water conservation and stormwater management programs.

“We are thrilled to be offering this simple and inexpensive device to our residents to bring down their water costs and help us protect the Charles River,” says Matthew Shuman, P.E., Watertown City Engineer. “Like the recycling bin, we hope rain barrels become a standard in each and every home.”

In New England residential water usage can increase as much as 60% during the spring, summer and fall seasons from outdoor watering needs such as watering gardens, lawns, filling pools and, washing cars. Rain barrels can offset that usage, saving homeowner’s money and helping the community manage water supplies. Also, stormwater from the City’s drainage system flows directly to the Charles River without treatment and is one of many contributors to pollution in the river. Rain barrels can help reduce stormwater runoff.

Suzanne Gebelein, owner of the Great American Rain Barrel Company comments, “We have been selling barrels for 20 years and we are seeing a very positive trend. More and more communities nationwide, like Watertown, are bringing large scale programs to their towns, encouraging more residents to conserve water but also helping their town mitigate stormwater pollution on a larger scale.”

Rain barrels like these are available to be purchased from the Watertown Department of Public Works.

Homeowners can easily connect the barrels to their downspouts and significantly offset their watering needs. In this region there is typically 16” of rain from May 1st – September 30th. For every inch of rainfall a 1,000 square foot surface can collect 620 gallons of water, which means that over the course of the extended summer months an average roof of 2,400 square feet could see more than 20,000 gallons of fresh rainwater passing over its surface from May through September. That is a pretty significant source of water that homeowners could be tapping into for free. Just keeping a small 10’ x 10’ garden irrigated during the summer months can mean using up to 1,700 gallons of water. Based on the average roof size, more than two 60 gallon rain barrels would fill for every 1/10” of rainfall. The Great American Rain Barrel Company recommends one barrel for every 100 square feet garden.

Rain barrels can be purchased directly at the DPW year-round at a cost of $65 versus the retail price of $119. An optional flow diverter is also available for $16. Each barrel holds 60 gallons of rain water.

To take advantage of this community program discount please contact DPW at 617-972-6420. For additional information about rain barrels, please visit

One thought on “Catch Basin Cleaning in Watertown; Rain Barrels Available from DPW

  1. Wow, what a great idea! I am heading over to DPW asap so we can cut down on our water bill. Thanks for the opportunity.

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