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Winterize rain barrels

As temperatures continue to drop, the Zumbro Watershed Partnership reminds the community to prepare their rain barrels for the winter.

Rain barrels are catching on as a way to save water and money by storing rainwater that falls on roofs for later use in gardens. But if water is left in a rain barrel during winter months, it can freeze, expand and crack the rain barrel.

To ensure many years of life and gallons of water saved, winterize your rain barrel using these three steps:

• Drain all water from the rain barrel and hoses.

• Flip the rain barrel upside-down and store it outside, or, if you have room, move the rain barrel into a garage, storage shed or basement.

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• Disconnect the downspout from the rain barrel, and re-connect a downspout extension to the main downspout to funnel water away from the foundation of the house.

For those interested in installing a rain barrel or a second rain barrel, the Zumbro Watershed Partnership will host the fifth annual Rochester community rain barrel and compost bin sale in May 2012.

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