Soterra, LLC, a subsidiary of Greif Inc., coordinated the donation and delivery of 200 new 55 gallon plastic drums and will help to outfit and install them as rain barrels at homes and businesses in the Mobile area.
Excessive storm water runoff can lead to water pollution which can have serious adverse effects on human health and the environment. In partnership with their parent company, Greif, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), and Alabama Power, Soterra is working to minimize the negative impact that comes with heavy rainfall that often occurs in the Mobile area through the rain barrel initiative.
“This project helps spread PEP’s message regarding environmental responsibility to the community,” said Andy Callahan, manager of sales and service at Soterra. “People who previously were not talking about water conservation or environmental protection are now discussing the benefits of rain water collection. This initiative also supports Greif’s commitment to caring for our environment and the communities in which we operate through sustainability.”
That community connection is a key component of this program. “Home and business owners volunteer to have the rain barrels installed,” said Callahan. “Interest spreads through word-of-mouth, so community buy-in is important.”
Each barrel is being outfitted with a rain barrel conversion kit to help capture, store and put the rainwater to good use. The rainwater collected in these barrels can be used for irrigation purposes, helping local growers, homeowners, and businesses minimize costs and water usage by approximately 260,000 gallons* annually.
The installation has just begun. Soterra employees, along with the volunteers from Alabama Power and MBNEP, outfitted and installed six barrels at three homes at the end of January, 2019. The plan is to install the remaining barrels in Toulmins Spring Branch Watershed in the next year, bringing the total to 100 homes.
*A rain barrel will save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.