Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Ripple Effects

Order a Rain Barrel

Capturing rainwater from your rooftop is a smart way to lower your water bill, help protect our lakes, streams and rivers, and conserve water. Harvested rainwater is free of chloride, fluoride, and other additives often found in municipal tap water, making it a great option for watering your lawn, potted plants, or gardens. Slowly releasing water from your rain barrel after a storm allows it to seep back into the ground. This reduces the amount of polluted runoff that enters area storm drains and eventually washes into our waters.

Harvested rainwater is non-potable and should not be used for drinking, cooking, swimming pools, fishponds or bird baths.


Dane County and the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) are selling 50-gallon rain barrels for $78 (typically retails for ~$130), with a limit of 4 per household. This program is open to all Dane County residents. You may be eligible for a $30 reimbursement if you live in a MAMSWaP community (see the "Reimbursement Program" tab for more details). In addition, your municipality may offer a rebate on your stormwater bill for installing a rain barrel.

Order a Rain Barrel

Pickup Locations

Pickup Locations
Rain barrels will be available for pickup at the Middleton Recycling Center or Deforest Yardwaste Collection Site, based on the pickup location you selected during checkout. 

Middleton Recycling Center
Address: 4330 Parmenter St; Middleton WI 53562
Pickup Instructions: Park near the exit of the recycling center (on the south side of the building). Do not enter the building or block the exit. Have your receipt ready to show when you arrive and an attendee will be out to help you shortly!
Pickup Times:

  • Saturday mornings (Year-round, excluding major holidays) from 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • Wednesdays (May - September) from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


Deforest Yardwaste Collection Site
Address: 610 N. Stevenson Street; Deforest, WI
Pickup Instructions: Have your receipt ready when you drive up, and an attendee will be out to help you shortly.
Hours of Operation: March 30 through November 22

  • Monday               5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday              8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. & 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday        5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday            5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday             8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Reimbursement Program

The Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) is offering a $30 reimbursement for anyone who purchased and installed a rain barrel through Dane County (Ripple Effects) in 2024 (limited to four rain barrel reimbursements). You are eligible to apply if you meet the following:

  • I purchased a rain barrel through Dane County (Ripple Effects) in 2024.

  • I installed the rain barrel on a downspout within 60 days from the date of purchase.

  • The property where the rain barrel was installed is located within a MAMSWaP Community (see list of communities at the bottom of this webpage).
  • I have not received more than four reimbursements from this program.

To receive a reimbursement, please follow instructions on the reimbursement form, below:

            Reimbursement Form


MAMSWaP Communities

Cities                                     Villages                                 Towns

Fitchburg                               Cottage Grove                      Blooming Grove

Madison                                Cross Plains                          Burke  

Middleton                              Deforest                                Middleton

Monona                                 Maple Bluff                           Westport

Stoughton                              McFarland                            

Sun Prairie                            Shorewood Hills

Verona                                   Waunakee


Installation and Maintenance

Installation Tips

  • Secure barrel by placing it on a stable, level base at least 15“ high, to provide a small head of pressure. Cinder blocks are a popular option for the base.
  • Check out this video for step-by-step instructions on how to install your rain barrel!
  • Install the barrel at your downspout closest to an area that needs water.
  • Position overflow so water doesn’t run toward the foundation of your house.
  • Remember to empty barrel between storms or allow a constant slight trickle flow from the barrel.

Prepare  barrel for winter

  • To leave the rain barrel in place over winter, disconnect the rain barrel from the downspout, and open all spigots and hoses so water will not accumulate. 
  • Add some weight to the bottom of the rain barrel (such as with bricks) to prevent it from blowing away. 
  • Ensure the lid is secure in the domed position.
  • Clean barrel annually or semi-annually, as needed:
    • Flush with tap water using nozzle on hose. OR
    • Use 1/4 cup bleach (or 1 cup vinegar) in 2 gallons of water; rinse well.

Helpful Resources

Contact Claudia Guy, P.E. at with questions regarding this program.