Sterling Heights helps residents capture rainwater with barrels

Barrels hold 58 gallons of rainwater each

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – We wait at least eight months yearly to get this kind of warm weather. But it only takes a short time for 90-plus degrees to make a wilted mess of your flowers or plants. So water is vital, but it’s also expensive.

Water bills this time of year can reach hundreds of dollars even in a month. And Sterling Heights has decided something old is new again in the watering department for its residents.

Helping them capture as much free rainwater as they can with rain barrels.

Sterling Heights residents lined up Friday (June 2) because they have vegetables to look after.

“Just some vegetables for myself and my family, and this will defray the cost, and hopefully, it’s just good for the environment,” said Sterling Heights Gardener Walter Zimney.

“We want to help the environment out,” said Sterling Heights Gardener Suzanne Goftek. “We want to do our part as much as we can.”

The federal government sent billions to local communities as part of the American Rescue Plan. And in Sterling Heights, they spent $50,000 of that cash to buy 400 rain barrels and all the parts to make them work effectively.

Residents jumped at the chance to install one in their backyards.

“I’m not handy, but this is something I can do,” said Sterling Heights Management Services Specialist Lauren Moore. “I am by no means wealthy, so this is something I can do, something I can implement in my home and save myself some money, and I can help the community.”

The barrels come ready to use, and the city also provides all the materials to customize your rain barrel.

Meghan Mott snapped up green spray paint, gave a bright green hue to the old rust-colored barrel, and put flowers for a spark of creativity.

“Given the opportunity and the fact it’s so easy, it’s all right here, and I don’t have to get any of the supplies myself, something with the rain barrel we’'ve been wanting one for a long time and never actually did it until we got an email from the city and it was like now’s the time,” said Mott.

Sterling Heights is also working with an organization called Michigan Rain Barrel to get the project off the ground.

The barrels hold 58 gallons of rainwater each. You collect by getting the rain off your roof.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.