Friday, April 19, 2013

Stinky Rain Barrels

I love rain barrels.  Right now I have seven of them.  Each one holds approximately 60 gallons.   I recently encountered my first issue with them.  Several of them stink!

I was doing some stuff in my yard when I noticed a foul odor.  At first I thought the dog had done her business under the deck.  I looked and didn't see anything.  Just to be sure I cleaned up every bit of her waste from the yard.  None of it looked recent.  So that wasn't it.  Then I checked my anaerobic compost project.  That does have a bit of an odor, but it's far from the house.  So that wasn't it.

I continued to go about my business.  My compost pile was due for a turn, so I went and moved it from one bin to the other.  Generally after I move it I empty a rain barrel into it to keep the moisture content high.  As I was hooking the hose to the rain barrel I realized that was where the stench was coming from.  I checked, and every rain barrel that was under a downspout smelled awful.

One of things that was new to me when I moved to NC was yellow pollen.  It happens every year.  You go one morning and everything is covered by a yellow dust.  Sometimes it's so thick it looks like snow.  When I opened my rain barrels I found that each one had a quarter inch of yellow scum on the top.  Some areas were white and furry with mold.  Gross!!!

I think a bulk of the pollen in the barrels came off of the roof.  The two barrels that are not directly under a downspout were fine.  
Only the barrel on the left had an odor.  The two on the right were fine.
I drained each of the barrels last night.  After work today I hosed out each one and removed as much of the yellow pollen scum as I could.  I got the barrels back about 20 minutes before it started to pour down rain. Once the rain slowed down I went out to check the barrels.  The water coming out was yellow.  I have a bad feeling that I'm going to have to drain and clean them again.  I did add a little bit of bleach to each barrel.  I'm hoping that will help. 

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