Rain Check

New ‘Quiz,’ Website to Jumpstart Your Discounted 2018 Green Home Upgrade

Click this image to visit the new Rain Check site and answer a few questions that will help you find the best discounted green stormwater improvement for your home.
The updated Rain Check website offers customized options for residents interested in free or discounted green improvements offered through the Philadelphia Water Department Rain Check program. Visit www.PWDRainCheck.org

Rain Check—our program best known for providing City residents with free rain barrels—is entering its sixth year with a new website designed to encourage more home landscaping projects that protect local waterways.

By visiting the new Rain Check site, residents can now get a jumpstart on sustainable projects in the new year by discovering the best green upgrade for their property, right from their phone or computer.

“More than 3,500 Philly homes now have rain barrels or other green stormwater tools thanks to Rain Check, so there’s clearly an appetite for sustainable home improvement projects in our city,” says program manager and PWD employee Jeanne Waldowski. “With this new website, we’re giving people who are thinking big about ‘greening’ their home in 2018 the tools they need to make it happen.”

While free rain barrels are the most popular tool installed through Rain Check, the program also provides deep discounts on a range of green upgrades that lessen a home’s stormwater pollution footprint.

Using fresh features on the new website, homeowners can explore whether a rain barrel, planter, or more involved green upgrade—such as a rain garden or rain-absorbing back patio—is a good fit for their property. After deciding what tool is the best option for shrinking their property’s stormwater pollution footprint, residents can sign up for an upcoming workshop.

The free educational workshops, held in neighborhoods across the city, are mandatory to receive a free rain barrel or participate in Rain Check cost-sharing.

Check it Out: Take a quick quiz that will help you pick a project now

Rain Check

“People don’t always have time to come to one of our free Rain Check workshops just to find out that their property doesn’t qualify for a rain barrel or other green tool, so we designed the new site in a way that will help residents find out in advance what will work best on their property,” says Waldowski. “By taking a short quiz about their property, people can quickly find out if Rain Check is a good fit and what options are available.”

Qualifying projects can receive up to $2,000 through Rain Check cost-sharing.

These 25 Philly Homes Were Made More Beautiful by Rain Check: Pick Your Favorite!

Our Rain Check photo contest has been a big hit: over 100 residents submitted photos of their green stormwater tools!

To narrow it down, the Rain Check team picked the top 25—not an easy task, given the diverse mix of very cool projects represented in the entries. All who sent in a photo deserve a big thank you. You’re helping fellow Philadelphians realize just how beautiful managing stormwater at home can be.

Now: it’s time to vote for your favorite.

Voting ends Friday, July 28, 2017. After you pick from among the top 25, share this link with your family and friends so we can determine who has the best Rain Check project and show the rest of the city what these stormwater-fighting tools can do for a yard or patio.

We’ll announce the winners on Monday, July 31.

Here’s what the top three vote-getters will win:

1st place: PHS Family Membership which includes 4 tickets to The Philadelphia Flower Show (the 2018 theme: Wonders of Water) & many benefits. Current PHS members will receive a 1-year extension on their active membership

2nd place: $100 gift certificate to a local farm and garden center

3rd place: 2 tickets to the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show

Ready to check out the photos and pick your favorite?

Head over to the gallery and be sure to come back every day—you’ll only have one vote per day, so look through all the entries and make it count!

If you don’t have a Rain Check project of your own but are feeling inspired by the great photos we received, sign up for one of our free workshops today and get started now.

As you can see from this contest, the free rain barrels not only capture stormwater from your roof—they can make for impressive DIY showpieces in your yard/on your patio, and the discounted landscaping and permeable paver projects are serious upgrades.

We have lots of upcoming workshops, including two at the lush new PHS Pop Up beer garden in University City.

Stop by on July 24 or on Tuesday, August 15 and enjoy the greenery while grabbing dinner and getting started on your Rain Check project.

World Wildlife Day: Celebrate (and Protect) Philly Watersheds

A member of the PWD team took advantage of last month's warm spell to mark storm drains in his watershed. You can find your watershed critter and get a free kit too!
A member of the PWD team took advantage of last month's warm spell to mark storm drains in his watershed. You can find your watershed critter and get a free kit too!

Happy World Wildlife Day Philly!

We are celebrating Philadelphia's rivers and creekswhich are healthier today than they were even a generation agoand what that means for the incredible diversity of aquatic wildlife found within them.

The investments we're making in Philly neighborhoods through Green City, Clean Waters will make places like the Delaware River and Cobbs Creek even better, but here's a few ways you can help too:

Don’t Be a Member of the Lonely Yards Club: Start Planning a Rain Check Project This February

There is still plenty of winter left to sign up for Rain Check, says this ground hog!

For those Philly residents feeling the winter blues, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t exactly bring hope and relief when he popped out of his den on Ground Hog Day and decided we’re in for six more weeks of cold weather.

But, before you resign and decide to join ol’ Phil in another month-and-half of hibernation, let us offer you an optimistic antidote.

Rather than thinking of this Ground Hog Day forecast as a longer winter, think of it as more time to get started on that spring landscaping project you’ve been putting off!

In February alone, we have eight free Rain Check workshops scheduled in neighborhoods all over the city, providing you with lots of opportunities to start planning a discounted warm-weather upgrade for your home.

With Rain Check, you can sign up to get a free rain barrel installed this spring—and then spend the rest of winter coming up with a fun DIY design that will make it yours.

‘Tis the Season for Sustainability: Get a Jump on Discounted Home Greening Projects

The Philadelphia Water Department wants residents to know they can save money on outdoor landscaping and other green projects by signing up for the Rain Check program—and now's a great time to get started.

Signing up for the program in the winter is a smart way to beat the spring rush and avoid longer wait times for projects like rain barrels, rain gardens, downspout planters and more. All you have to do to get set up ahead of the busy season for discounted spring greening projects is attend one of our upcoming free workshops

Depending on temperatures, some projects can even be completed over winter.
Rain Check is a program that helps Philadelphia residents save money on landscaping projects that capture stormwater. The program is funded by PWD and managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia. See some examples of Rain Check projects here.

Participation in the program surges during the spring and summer when residents are focused on gardening and other outside work. To encourage off-season participation, Rain Check is offering two new incentives during winter workshops:

Enter a Monthly Raffle for an Artistic Rain Barrel
Each month between now and February, Rain Check will give a specially wrapped rain barrel to one randomly selected participant. All residents have to do is attend a Rain Check workshop. Winners can choose from three designs created by Philadelphia student artists and the Mural Arts Program.

Refer a Friend for Flower Show Tickets
Past Rain Check participants who get Philadelphia residents to come to a Rain Check workshop by February 20 will have a chance to win two free tickets to this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Scheduled for March 11-19, this year’s show will highlight the rich horticultural offerings of Holland, and tickets at the door cost $35.

Those interested just have to spread the word about Rain Check and tell people to give their name when they register and attend a workshop. Check out the workshop schedule here and select a date and time that works for you.

Additional Rain Check workshops can also be scheduled at the request of community groups and other organizations by contacting Rosemary Howard at rhoward@pennhort.org or 215.988.8767.

How Rain Check Works
Rain Check is a Philadelphia Water Department program available to Philadelphia residents that helps people manage stormwater at home. Participants can get a free rain barrel and/or get a downspout planter, rain garden or permeable pavers installed at a reduced price.

Rain Check supports Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program, which is adding green features to neighborhoods across the City to keep excess stormwater out of sewers.

Since Rain Check started in 2012, nearly 3,500 residents have used the program to get a free rain barrel or discounted green project designed to manage stormwater runoff on their properties.

Participation from residents has led to hundreds of homes with features such as rain gardens, downspout planters filled with native plants, depaved yards, and driveways that can soak up rain thanks to permeable pavers. Because these projects help reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, PWD will contribute up to $2,000 toward improvements made through Rain Check.

Saving with Rain Check
Since the program’s start in June 2012, Rain Check participants have saved:

• $38,869 on depaving projects

• $171,832 on permeable pavers

• $88,438 on rain gardens

Over 3,000 residents have received free rain barrels and installation services, and more than 230 people used Rain Check to install garden planters connected to their downspouts at a cost of just $100.

Thinking About Going Green at Home with Rain Check? Here’s Why Now’s the Time

We’re going let you in on a little secret...

Fall and winter Rain Check workshops bring spring Rain Check projects!

While many think of spring and summer as the ideal time to do green improvements made easier through our Rain Check program—things like replacing a broken concrete pad with pretty permeable pavers or putting in a flower-filled downspout planter—there are some big advantages for those who sign up during the colder months.

Urban Greening, Water Quality and Beer: Philadelphia Water at PHS’s South Street Pop Up Garden

As a part of ongoing efforts to showcase the success of Green City, Clean Waters over the last five years, we are partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to host three nights of special events at the PHS Pop Up Garden at 15th and South Streets.

Baxter's Best, a beer brewed by Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. to highlight local water quality and the importance of protecting our rivers, will be on tap.

The garden opens to the public each evening at 5 p.m. with a full menu of food and drinks.
The fun will take place Monday, Sept. 12 through Wednesday, Sept. 14. See our event listings on Facebook + invite your friends: Facebook.com/PhillyH2O

Here’s what you can expect each evening:

What’s Going on with Green City, Clean Waters in South Philly West of Broad?

Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.
Point Breeze residents attend a Rain Check workshop and learn about local Green City, Clean Waters projects on Aug. 24, 2016.

Last night, we highlighted some of our local Green City, Clean Waters projects at a Rain Check workshop in Point Breeze. Residents were able to sign up for a free rain barrel or take steps to get reduced-cost green tools for their home, including downspout planters and rain-absorbing pavement.

Amanda Krakovitz, a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) program who is working with Philadelphia Water to engage communities around Green City, Clean Waters investments, provided information about area projects designed to improve local streets and parks while managing stormwater runoff.

For those who missed the meeting but want to learn about some of the local Green City, Clean Waters projects proposed or in the works, we’re providing a quick look at our South Philly projects west of Broad Street below.
You can also register for upcoming Rain Check workshops here.

Embrace the Rain: Get in on Our Rain Check Program Today!

It seems as if everyone in Philadelphia has had enough of the wet spring we've been having.

Picking up on those soggy feelings, CBS Philly did a short segment on one great way to cope with all the showers—our Rain Check program.
Check out the rain barrel setup and beautiful planter in the video below, and think about signing up for Rain Check to get a stormwater tool for your home:

While being part of the Rain Check program won't chase the clouds away, you can help to keep excess stormwater out our sewers and protect Philly's rivers while getting a free barrel or reduced-cost downspout planter, rain garden or permeable patio. Water collected in rain barrels can be used for things like watering flowers, and planters and rain gardens are a great way of adding landscaping to your property that also happens to protect the environment.

Click here to learn about other green home improvement projects and to sign up for a Rain Check workshop that will help you find the right stormwater tool for your home!

Landscaping That Helps Our Rivers? Tune in to ‘Radio Times’ Tomorrow and Get Inspired!


Ditch the Concrete: This yard was depaved through Philadelphia Water’s Rain Check program, which helps homeowners build and pay for green tools that beautify properties and improve local water quality. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Concrete and asphalt — not exactly materials you associate with the beauty of spring in Philadelphia, right?

In addition to being unpleasant to look at, these materials contribute to the urban “heat island” effect, amplify noise pollution, and divert water from storms into our (often overwhelmed) sewer system instead of allowing it to slowly filter into the ground naturally.

That last problem—the water-repelling or “impervious” nature of roofs, driveways, sidewalks and concrete-covered backyards—is something that Philadelphia Water has been working to address through our Rain Check program. By educating and working with homeowners through Rain Check, we’ve made hundreds of properties in the city not only more beautiful, but also better at managing stormwater that can damage homes and pollute our waterways. We’ve also given away over 4,000 free rain barrels to Philadelphia residents since 2006.

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