Protect Local Water Bodies using Rain Barrels
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 is selling 50-gallon rain barrels for $74 (typically retails for ~$150). This program is open to all Dane County residents and businesses. You may be eligible for a $30 reimbursement if you live in one of the participating municipalities (see the "Reimbursement Program" section below). In addition, your municipality may offer a rebate on your stormwater bill for installing a rain barrel.
Rain barrels will be available for pickup at the Middleton Recycling Center or Deforest Yardwaste Collection Site during their respective hours of operation. Simply drive up and show your receipt to an attendee to receive your rain barrel!
Middleton Recycling Center
Address: 4330 Parmenter St; Middleton WI 53562
Hours of Operation:
Saturday mornings (Year-round, excluding major holidays) from 8:00AM – 12:00PM
Wednesday evenings (May - September) from 5:30PM - 7:00PM
Deforest Yardwaste Collection Site
Address: 610 N. Stevenson Street; Deforest, WI
Hours of Operation: March 30 through November 23
Monday 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM & 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- 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.
- Secure barrel by placing it on a stable, level base (e.g., about 15“ high, to provide a small head of pressure).
- Remember to empty barrel between storms or allow a constant slight trickle flow from the barrel.
- Installation video for barrels sold by Dane County.
Prepare barrel for winter
- Store barrel upside down and remove diverter to prevent ice damming. Cover hole in downspout with the winter hole cover (included).
- Alternatively, open all spigots and hoses, so water will not accumulate, and leave in place over winter.
- 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.
The Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) is offering a $30 reimbursement for anyone who purchased and installed a rain barrel through Dane County in 2022. You are eligible to apply if you meet the following:
I purchased a rain barrel through Dane County in 2022.
I installed the rain barrel within 3 months 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).
To receive a reimbursement, please follow instructions on the reimbursement form, below:
Cities Villages Towns
Fitchburg Cottage Grove Blooming Grove
Madison Cross Plains Burke
Middleton Deforest Madison
Monona Maple Bluff Middleton
Stoughton McFarland Westport
Sun Prairie Shorewood Hills