Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

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Think water — and melting 'snirt'

Rain Barrel PhotoAs warmer temperatures melt the brown piles of snow-dirt (snirt) from our lawns and sidewalks this week, it’s a good time to think about where runoff water goes.

Once the meltwater flows onto the street, it is deposited into the storm drain system which outlets into Lake Simcoe. Along the way, the runoff water picks up pollutants including cigarette butts, dog waste, plastics, road sand and salt — all things we want to keep out of our beautiful lake.

One way Lake Simcoe-area residents can value our local water and reduce the impact of rainfall runoff on the lake is to keep rainwater on site, either by soaking it into the ground or collecting it with a rain barrel for later use.

Rain barrels provide a free source of water that is ideal for vegetables, trees, and plants because it is not treated with chlorine like water from the municipal water system.

Collecting water through the rainy season for use during dry summer months just makes sense. When outdoor water restrictions are in place, water from a rain barrel can be used to wash vehicles or water lawns. Residents can also use the water to clean floors and do laundry, and having a source of stored water can be beneficial if an emergency ever arises.

On Monday, coordinated with World Water Day, Living Green Barrie launched our second annual rain barrel sale. This fundraiser will raise money to plant trees in Barrie and support environmental education programs.

Living Green Barrie Director Andee Pelan encourages every house to have at least one barrel whether it is purchased from the city’s sale, a store, or from Living Green. 

“It’s great for the lake, your yard, and for your wallet. It’s not only free water, it’s snirt-free water!” Pelan says.

You can order a rain barrel with all of the necessary hardware included (mosquito filter, spigot/tap, overflow adapter and hose) and have it delivered right to your home for $65 (tax included).

The barrels from are repurposed food-grade barrels, which means they are sturdy and no new plastic was created when they were manufactured. 

Orders can be placed online at with deliveries to Barrie, Innisfil, Orillia, and Oro.

(Other municipalities in the Lake Simcoe Watershed will have their own rain barrel sales or local organizations offering rain barrels.)

Living Green Barrie’s mission is to guide citizens, businesses and local leaders toward actions that foster sustainability and resilience in the Barrie and Lake Simcoe community.

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