Frederick County sells out of rain barrels after just one day

Posted: May 21, 2013

The Winchester Star

Amy Feltner, design review specialist with Frederick County Public Works, places a hose and nozzle inside one of the rain barrels the department was selling. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — The Frederick County recycling office is out of rain barrels, needing just one day to sell the 50 it recently ordered.

Gloria Puffinbuger, the county’s solid waste manager, said Monday afternoon that demand for the 55-gallon barrels was so high that the office sold them all by the end of the day on Friday.

“They went flying out the door,” she said. “We had several people that wanted one but didn’t get them.”

The county has ordered rain barrels — which are made of recycled plastic — every year since 2009. Since there was an increased demand for them this year, Puffinburger said the county may order more units in 2014.

She added that several people who bought barrels this year also bought them in previous years.

Bill Howard, executive director of the Berryville-based conservation advocacy organization The Downstream Project, said Monday morning that rain barrels help provide an ample supply of soft water — which is mostly free of contaminates like chlorine, lime and calcium — that homeowners can put to various uses.

He added that diverting rain water from storm drains by using the barrels can help to reduce the impact of precipitation on local streams and rivers since the rainwater is able to dissipate more slowly.

“It used to be that the way storm water was managed was to get it off the property into streams as quickly a possible,” Howard said. “Now we want to retain and filter the water [and] rain barrels are the first [line of] defense.”

While the county is out of barrels, Puffinburger said some local retailers sell them and that they can be made at home.

Information on rain barrels, including how to make your own, is available online at

— Contact Matt Armstrong at