Save It! What's New


Winterizing Your Rain Barrel

The City Stormwater Bureau and SaveIt! would like to remind residents to winterize their rain barrels.

It’s that time of year again! As we approach December, and the winter chill settles in for good, it is time to winterize your rain barrel.


Freezing temperatures can damage rain barrels, their diverters and faucets, and other parts and accessories. So, we recommend property owners winterize their rain barrels. Here a few tips:

Be careful! Full rain barrels are heavy! A gallon of water weighs over 8 lbs., so a full rain barrel can weigh more than 400lbs.

  • Start by draining the rain barrel. Turn on the spigot and let the water slowly drain out.
  • Once the rain barrel spigot has stopped flowing, disconnect the rain barrel, remove the lid and tip the barrel to empty any remaining water.
  • After emptying the rain barrel, we recommend a quick cleaning before storage.
    • To clean the inside of the rain barrel, prepare a solution of 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of a mild soap (e.g., castile soap) to 1 gallon of warm water. Pour the solution into the rain barrel and swish is around with a sponge or brush, then rinse with clean water or hose thoroughly. This solution can be safely poured out on lawn or grassed areas..
    • After cleaning, allow the rain barrel to dry.
    • Store rain barrels indoors, in a basement or garage, if possible. If rain barrels must be stored outside, place them upside down on an elevated surface so it will stay dry and empty.
    • During winter, downspouts should be reconnected and positioned to drain any roof runoff and snow melt away from the building foundation.

If you’ve purchased a rain barrel through the Lancaster County Conservancy Rain Barrel program over the last several years then you most likely have the DIY diverter kit.  Winterizing this system (or any diverter system) takes a few simple steps to insure a functional rain barrel for years to come.

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- Disconnect the rain barrel from the gutter downspout – Disconnet the black hose that runs from the barrel to the downspout (image above), save and store in dry place over winter.

-Gently remove rubber insert from downspout and replace with cover (image below), save and store rubber insert in dry place over winter.

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Green Infrastructure Contractor Workshop

Tuesday November 17, 2015

The City of Lancaster, in cooperation with the Lancaster County Conservancy, will be offering a two-hour workshop for contractors to discuss the City’s green infrastructure program and the role the recently updated stormwater management fee credit program will play in helping meet regulatory requirements.

During the workshop, the City will provide an overview of the stormwater management fee credit program, review recent updates to the City Stormwater Management Fee Policy and Procedures Manual and the Stormwater Management Fee Credit program.

Attendees will learn how the stormwater management fee credit program works and how they can utilize it to help their clients achieve their project goals.

Note: Although the City cannot endorse specific contractors attendees to this workshop will be added to a workshop attendance list that may be provided to property owners upon request.

>Reservations are requested for this FREE workshop

>Please RSVP by following this link:

>For questions please contact Fritz Schroeder:,
717-392-7891 x 207

Registration 8:30am
Program 9:00am – 11:00am
Tuesday Nov 17, 2015
Lancaster City Hall
City Council Chambers
120 N. Duke St.
Lancaster, PA 17602


Water Blues Green Solutions

An interactive documentary project designed to promote awareness of the role that green infrastructure can play in creating a sustainable water future.

Water Blues Green Solutions tells stories from across the country of communities that are adopting new ways of thinking about how to protect, restore, and preserve our rivers and sources of drinking water.



Transforming Empty Lot into Green Parking

Coming up with the right idea for an empty lot was like pulling teeth for members of the neighboring church that owned the lot.

On Sept. 30, Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster unveiled the result: an ecologically responsible parking lot and garden area that looks good and draws water from the city’s overtaxed stormwater system.

Read full article here

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Residential Rain Garden Takes Shape

A City resident transforms her front yard from grass to a rain garden full of native plants, that now capture all of the runoff from her front roof, porch roof, and sidewalk. The installation was completed by Susquehanna EcoDesign who described the plant selection as Wildscaping, a native wildlife garden that is pollinator friendly.

Many residents in the City have small postage stamp front planting or grass areas and this application is ideal for those who want more color and less mowing.  In this case the yard had a slight slope to the sidewalk so a small retaining wall was installed to hold the soil and level the garden. (click on the images to enlarge)

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Grass was removed to create the rain garden area and stones were added to support the far end of the garden where the new soil was placed.  The square footage of the area excavated was calculated to insure it will capture at least 1″ of run-off from the front of the house.  Overflow water from the rain garden is piped back into the combined sewer pipe as shown below.

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To view other residential projects click here.


Litter Letter Project: Street Cleanup

Volunteers needed for litter pick up!

Lancaster Unity is partnering with Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches to clean up the trash from the sidewalks of our beautiful city! The litter will be used to fill the letters for “Let’s RETHINK Litter in Lancaster”, a Litter Letter Project sponsored by Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority.

Meet at Tellus360 at 10AM on Saturday, August 22, 2015.

This event is welcome to all ages! Children under the age of 13 should have an adult with them.Vests, gloves and trash bags will be available.

Litter Question


Rain Gardens along W James St

As construction begins along Mulberry and West James Streets you should notice an immediate (and green) difference when you reach a corner crosswalk.  Beginning last fall City contractors started to install these vegetated curb extensions / rain gardens and this spring they were planted.  West James Street will soon be paved and Mulberry Street will begin its conversion to a complete green street soon after.  The first of its kind in Lancaster City, Mulberry Street will go back to a two way street (instead of one) and will boast bike lanes, permeable paving, vegetated curb extensions / rain gardens, newly planted trees and much more.
Before                                                             After

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Plum and Walnut Intersection wins another award

Stormwater Solutions has recognized the green infrastructure project located at the intersection Plum and E Walnut Street.  This is another award for a project that has been recognized for numerous innovations including traffic calming, pedestrian safety, stormwater capture, public art, and public / private partnership.  This location has become a gateway for people entering the City.  To read the article click here.


Contractor Workshop

The City of Lancaster, in cooperation with the Lancaster County Conservancy and the Lancaster County Conservation District will be offering a two-hour workshop for contractors to discuss the City’s green infrastructure program and the role small stormwater projects have in helping meet regulatory requirements.

During this workshop, the City will provide an overview of the stormwater management program and review recent updates to the City Stormwater Management Ordinance and Small Stormwater Project Permit Application.

The slides from the presentation can be found here


To register click here

Attendees will learn how the stormwater permitting process works, review an application from a City property and learn the step-by-step process to obtaining your permits quickly and efficiently.

Note: Although the City cannot endorse specific contractors attendees to this workshop will be added to a workshop attendance list that may be provided to property owners upon request.

Green Infrastructure Implementation and Small Stormwater Project Permitting
Registration 8:00am
Program 8:30am – 10:30am
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Lancaster City Hall
120 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA
(Snow date Wednesday March 4)

Reservations are requested for this FREE workshop.

Please RSVP by following this link;
for questions please contact
Fritz Schroeder,
717-392-7891 x 207.