Old-fashioned rain barrels help solve a modern problem

IBC helping communities address increasing water damage

STRATFORD, PE, Sept. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - A new study released today by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Town of Stratford in Prince Edward Island shows that rain barrels offer an old-fashioned solution to the modern problem of increasing water damage.

As part of the Stratford Rain Barrel Study, IBC distributed close to 1,000 rain barrels to Stratford families living in detached homes. The rain barrels were installed under roof downspouts to capture water during rainstorms and relieve pressure on the storm water system.

As extreme weather events increase in severity and frequency, storm water and waste water systems in Stratford are becoming overburdened. In the past, these systems have exceeded capacity during major storms, which has resulted in overflows and flooding in homes.

"IBC is committed to helping Canadian communities build resiliency to help make sure they are strong, livable and healthy," said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. "The Stratford rain barrels had the capacity to reduce the flow rate to the treatment plant by as much 4.5%. This is great news."

Recent inflow and infiltration studies by the Town of Stratford indicate that excess storm water infiltration into the town's waste water system is one of the contributing factors to overloading the waste water treatment plant and hindering proper plant operations. Thus there is a need to direct more storm water away from the town's waste water treatment system.

Although it is difficult to measure actual reduction to the waste water system, a reduction of 4.5% flow into Stratford's waste water treatment plant would be very significant to daily operations.

Families in Stratford are eager to share their rain barrel experiences. Kevin Reynolds, development officer with the Town of Stratford and proud community resident, said, "It just makes sense to use rain barrels rather than use the municipal water system. They may seem little but if every person does something little, it's a huge change in the community."

Dean called the results of the study "modest but critical," as even small reductions can make the difference necessary to prevent a storm water system from overflowing.

Insurance claims for water damage have soared in recent years, and water has surpassed fire as the leading cause of damage to homes. The increase in water damage and severe weather spurred IBC to investigate ways to help communities better manage excess water.

David Dunphy, the Mayor of Stratford, agreed that the results are good news for the community. "Stratford residents are very proactive about making our community more resilient to climate change; they were eager to participate. This project demonstrates what we can achieve when governments, business and individuals work together toward a common goal," he said. 

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., IBC will launch an initiative at Westwood Primary School to give 500 rain barrels to residents of Cornwall, Prince Edward Island. Residents can pick up a free rain barrel, while supplies last, on Saturday, September 19, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Terry Fox Sports Complex.

To learn how to install and use a rain barrel, please click here.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.  

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Image with caption: "The Callaghan family with their rain barrel (CNW Group/Insurance Bureau of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150916_C6921_PHOTO_EN_498184.jpg

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Celyeste Power, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312, 647-384-9872, cpower@ibc.ca

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