Water notes on a rainy Sunday

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham writes today about a quick swim in the Charles.

At 8:00 this morning, 125 swimmers took a 1 mile swim in the annual Charles River race.

Harvard has been spreading calcium chloride on Western Ave to reduce dust. According to Utah State University, "Calcium chloride is highly corrosive but slightly less damaging to vegetation and soils than sodium chloride." An Australian University notes that "The discharge of calcium chloride into rivers causes an unacceptable increase in calcium and chloride ion concentrations and affects local ecosystems." And a story in yesterday's Globe (Trying to make the blacktop greener) tells us that "There are many highway contaminants. Chloride, sodium, and calcium can accumulate on the pavement from salt and sanding operations... Once the contaminants are washed into waterways, they can be consumed by fish, frogs, and other aquatic life, or settle in the water, contributing to contaminant levels."

Boston makes it relatively easy for residents to buy compost bins (though none of the sale locations are near A/B) and it would be great if, like in Cambridge, there was an easy way for Boston residents to buy rain barrels. Collecting rain water that would otherwise go from roof to storm drain to river or ocean is a great way save water and reduce the cost of watering the garden. My do-it-yourself project isn't complete, but I put the four 55-gallon barrels under the downspouts yesterday in anticipation of some much-needed rain. Collecting a couple hundred gallons proved pretty easy even with just 3/10 of an inch of rain.


  1. Harry: the Great American Rain Barrel Company is located in Hyde Park (they also can olives--which is what the barrels were originally). The cost? $40 (last i checked). Shipping is what really kills you, but if you have a car, it's less than the $80 UPS charges to load a pair of barrels in the back seat...

  2. Anonymous6:42 PM

    The Boston Building Materials Coop (located in Roxbury) sells rain barrels for $58 if you're not a member. They also sell the fittings to suit one's needs. http://www.bbmc.com/bbmc/prod_green.html