Rain barrels installed in the community and the our yard protects lake Michigan sign

Rain Barrels

Why Use Rain Barrels?

Get FREE water by the barrel from your roof and use it when it’s dry outside to give thirsty gardens, flowers, and trees a drink.  Rain barrels also help prevent rain from becoming polluted stormwater runoff -- the biggest remaining threat to clean rivers and lakes.

Since 2002, with the help of our Fresh Coast Guardians, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) rain barrels have captured over one million gallons of stormwater each time it rains. Installing a rain barrel is an easy way to do your part to protect Lake Michigan and become a Fresh Coast Guardian.

Due to supply issues, we are suspending the sales of rain barrels from the MMSD lobby. Please visit your local hardware or home improvement store to purchase a rain barrel or register for one of our rain barrel workshops to learn how to install and care for and receive a free rain barrel.

Tips for Selecting a Rain Barrel:

  • The top is covered to keep out debris, mosquitoes, and other bugs
  • The spigot should be low on the barrel, so water does not stagnate at the bottom
  • Use a downspout diverter to redirect water to the downspout preventing rain barrel overflows
  • Look for a barrel made of thicker plastic that is UV resistant. If it feels like an oversized garbage can, it probably won't last.

Sign-up for Rain Barrel Workshop Updates

Rain Barrel Workshops

Learn how to install and care for a rain barrel at a rain barrel workshop. Participants will learn about water conservation and the many benefits of using rain barrels. 

One FREE rain barrel will be provided per owner-occupied household at the workshop, registration is required. If you have received a free rain barrel in the past from MMSD, you are not eligible to receive another free rain barrel.

The popularity of our rain barrel workshops has them filling up quickly.  If you're having trouble finding an open Rain Barrel Workshop, sign up for our Fresh Coast email newsletter to be notified about rain barrel workshops.

How Do I Redeem My Rain Barrel Certificate?

Visit the MMSD main lobby Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm to redeem a rain barrel certificate.

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THANK YOU for installing a rain barrel! Submit an image or video of your rain barrel and we'll send you a FREE t-shirt for being a Fresh Coast Guardian.