Rain Check

Rain Check is Philadelphia Water’s residential stormwater management program. PHS leads the management of this exciting program with the Sustainable Business Network.

Through Rain Check, Philadelphia residents can have stormwater management tools installed at their homes for free or for a reduced price.  Rain Check offers rain barrels, downspout planter boxes, rain gardens, de-paving, and porous pavers.

By enabling homeowners to obtain affordable stormwater management tools, in 2015 Rain Check prevented more than 2.1 million gallons of stormwater from polluting natural waterways while also beautifying neighborhoods.

These tools help to address a major environmental issue in Philadelphia and beautify our communities at the same time.  Rain Check is part of Philadelphia’s long-term stormwater management plan, Green City Clean Waters.

Participate in Rain Check

To participate in Rain Check, residents must first attend a one-hour educational workshop.  Topics include the basics of stormwater management, the Rain Check process, and PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters program.  At the workshop, you’ll learn why managing stormwater runoff is so important in our region.  We’ll also help you determine which stormwater tool is right for your home.

After attending the workshop, you can decide which stormwater tool you’d like to have installed.  We will then connect you with an installation firm from our network of preapproved subcontractors.

  • Rain barrels are FREE
  • Downspout planter boxes are $100 (including complementary plants)
  • Depaving, permeable pavers, and rain gardens are eligible for up to a $2,000 contribution from PWD

Click here to learn more about the stormwater tools available through Rain Check and review price points.

Click here to sign up for Rain Check.

Do you work with a community organization, house of worship, or another venue that would like to host a Rain Check Workshop? Contact Rosemary Howard at rhoward@pennhort.org or 215.988.8767 to schedule a workshop in your community.

Why is Rain Check important?

In urban regions like Philadelphia, high-density development has led to the creation of large areas of impervious surface.  Streets, sidewalks, and the roofs of our buildings prevent water from rainstorms from soaking back into the ground as nature intended.
Instead, the stormwater becomes “runoff” and can overwhelm the City’s sewer system during storms.  This results in the sewer system overflowing into our rivers and streams, leading to the degradation of the region’s waterways.

The goal of Rain Check is to limit the number and severity of sewer overflows by keeping stormwater out of the sewer system during storms.  The tools offered through Rain Check can capture stormwater runoff and lessen the amount of stormwater entering the sewer.

What are the benefits of participating in Rain Check?

In addition to limiting sewer system overflows, the tools offered by Rain Check can help to beautify your home and your community.

Downspout planters and rain gardens are eye-catching landscape features that are also very low maintenance.  Porous pavers can be installed to replace a driveway or patio and can increase the value of your home.

Rain Check can also help you conserve water with rain barrels.  The water captured in your rain barrel can be used to water plants or wash patio furniture and will decrease your municipal usage, and may lower your monthly bill.

Please note that PHS and PWD recommend against using captured stormwater for watering edible vegetation or for pet consumption.

Rain Check at Work in Philadelphia

In fall 2014, PHS began managing the Rain Check program. Funded by Philadelphia Water and supported by the Sustainable Business Network, Rain Check works in neighborhoods across the city to control excess stormwater.

Before providing residents one of five tools available through the program, Rain Check educates residents on their use and purpose and manages the home installation. As one of the program’s most popular tools, the Rain Check rain barrel is a free 55-gallon storage container connected to a downspout to capture a roof’s stormwater runoff.

In addition to preventing the stormwater from entering into the sewer system, the Rain Barrel features a spigot which allows residents to use the captured rain for watering their garden. Since the program’s inception in Fall 2014, nearly 800 rain barrels have been distributed to Philadelphia residents.

Rain Check provided residents the opportunity to obtain affordable downspout planters, rain gardens, depaving services, and permeable pavers. Through the partnership with the Sustainable Business Network, Rain Check connected residents with green-skilled contractors who depaved or installed the rain gardens and permeable pavers at a fraction of their normal cost.

By the Numbers

Since fall 2014 (as of April 2016)

  • 1,779 residents attended Rain Check Workshops 
  • 785 55-gallon Rain Barrels were installed 
  • 62 completed Downspout Planter installations (with 28 planters scheduled for installation in spring 2016) 
  • 13 installed Rain Gardens covered 1,616 square feet
  • 21 Depaving installations covering 3,236 square feet
  • 28 Permeable Paver installations totaling 4,831 square feet
  • Total gallons of captured/managed stormwater: 2,148,948 (or 3.25 Olympicsized swimming pools)

Contact PHS

For more information, please contact the Rain Check program at RainCheck@pennhort.org.

For Contractors

Are you a contractor interested in working on the Rain Check program?  Please contact Chris Hershberger-Esh from the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia at chris@sbnphiladelphia.org.