Rain Barrels

The City of Elmhurst, in cooperation with The Conservation Foundation, offers rain barrels for purchase at a discounted rate. These 55 gallon barrels are reclaimed and “up-cycled” former food shipping containers. At approximately 48” tall and 24” in diameter, each rain barrel has the ability to divert and store approximately 50 gallons of rainwater. This stored water is ideal for lawn and garden watering. Included with the barrel is a screened lid to prevent leaves and other debris from gathering in your rain barrel and to keep insects such as mosquitoes from living and breeding in your rain barrel.
Barrels can be purchased at City Hall, 209 N. York at the Finance Counter for $57.00 – delivery to your Elmhurst address is included. If you have questions or need information, please call Jennifer Pryzbylski at (630) 530-3779.

Quick Facts:

  • Rain Barrels They are 55-gallon containers, stand about 48" high.
  • Made of food grade recycled plastic containers (former pickle and olive barrels).
  • They are covered to keep them safe around children.
  • The screw-off lid is equipped with a screen to keep debris and insects from the water.
  • A valve on the bottom of the barrels to which a hose is attached makes the captured rainwater available through a simple gravity system.
  • An overflow connector at the top of the barrels allows for a hose to be attached and directed to other landscaped areas.
  • The rain barrels carry a one year warranty.
  • The rain barrel has been used to ship food products from Europe to the USA. It probably carried olives from Italy and can not be reused for food products. In the past these kinds of barrels would simply be thrown away filling valuable landfill space and wasting a very reusable barrel.
  • Since the barrel was used for shipping, it will not be a smooth unmarred surface. It will have scratches and damage that is normal as it is moved about. The surface can be lightly sanded and painted to help it fit in to your particular application and location. Be creative! Paint it with bright colors and make it a part of your garden.
  • The barrel capacity is about 50 gallons. Depending on the size of your roof or the area being drained by the particular gutter you are connecting to the barrel will fill quickly with even a moderate rainfall.

1 gallon = 231 cubic inches = .1337 cubic feet
1 square foot = 144 square inches

The Equation:

(total capacity of barrels in gallons x 231) = # of inches of rainfall to fill (surface area of roof draining into barrels)


  • A house is about 60 feet long by 25 feet wide and half my roof empties into rain barrels, so the surface area in inches is 60 x 25 x 1/2 x 144 = 108,000 square inches.
  • It has 4 rain barrels at the backyard downspouts and they are 55 gallons each, so 4 x 55 = 220 gallons

So, (220 x 231) / (108,000) = 0.47 inches of rainfall needed.....
that's less than a half inch of rain to fill 4 rain barrels with 220 gallons of water!

Tips for using your Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel Installation