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Household Conservation
Snyder County > Departments > Conservation District > Household Conservation

 General Information

This web page has information that can help homeowners conserve water that would normally not be used, such as rain barrels, household composters and rain gardens. Also, for those who live in rural areas not connected to a sewer line, we have information regarding on-lot septic care.

Do you raise a garden, have a lawn, an orchard or a small pasture? A soil test is a great way to determine whether you really need fertilizer or need lime to help your plants grow better. We also have drinking water and pond/lake water test kits. Check out the test kit links on the right hand side of this web page for details.

 Stormwater Management

Stormwater is the water that runs off the land after precipitation, either rain or snowmelt. When wooded or meadow areas are replaced with roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and streets. These hard surfaces are called impervious surfaces, and they do not allow water to drain through them, unlike how rain can drain into soil (which is a pervious surface). When rain falls on impervious surfaces, it runs off rather than infiltrating into the soil or being taken up by vegetation. Some examples of problems caused by stormwater runoff includes flooding, stream erosion and pollution, and sediment build up in lakes and streams. (Info taken from “Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance: What You Need to Know to Take Care of Your Property.”)

As a homeowner, there are things you can do to help manage stormwater. PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) produced a publication with suggestion for homeowners on how to install and maintain stormwater best management practices (BMPs). Examples of BMPs discussed in the publication include: downspout disconnects, rain gardens, rain cisterns, pervious pavements and infiltration trenches.

Homeowners can download the above mentioned publication and start doing their part.

 Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is a rainwater collection system that stores rooftop water for activities such as lawn and garden watering, car washing and even window cleaning.


Rain barrels provide rainwater that has no added chemicals. In-town residents that use public water can save on their water bill. A 2,100 square foot roof produces 1,260 gallons of water per 1 inch storm. They provide free water without stressing the water supply. Also, they help promote infiltration of water into the groundwater that would otherwise be lost to stormwater runoff, water that is shed from impervious surfaces such as asphalt, concrete and rooftops.



The Snyder County Conservation District (SCCD) has hosted over 20 rain barrel workshops since May 2009. Workshops have been held in various locations throughout Snyder and Union Counties. At least 3,500 rain barrels were given or sold during since 2009. Recently, rain barrel workshops held in cooperation with County Cupboard in Lewisburg or sold rain barrels during our plant sale. Contact the Conservation District (570-837-3000, x110) if you want your name placed on a waiting list or register for upcoming workshops.


Note: At this time, the Conservation District is selling assembled rain barrels for $35.00 each (while supplies last) for those who cannot wait for one. Contact the Conservation District or go to our Items for Sale web page for details.


 Rain Gardens

A rain garden is a type of garden which takes advantage of rainfall and stormwater in its design and plant selection.

Rather than a raised garden (such as raised earthen beds), the structure is shaped like a bowl which will collect the water. It is designed to withstand the extremes of moisture and the concentrations of nutrients.


On the surface it looks like an attractive garden and serves as a habitat for birds and butterflies. Below the surface it is planted in a way that stormwater is cleaned and reduced in volume.


For a picture describing how a rain garden works, download the rain garden schematic in the "Rain Garden Downloads" section of this web page. "Rain Garden Downloads" also has information about the New Berlin rain gardens installed in 2010 with help from the Lower Penns Creek Watershed Association.

 On-Lot Septic Care

Roughly 50% of Snyder County residents own an on-lot wastewater treatment system (more commonly known as a septic system). Are you one of them? 

Many people don’t know where their septic system is located, how the system works or how to maintain that system. When septic systems go bad, groundwater may become polluted.


A properly functioning septic system not only keeps pathogens and nutrients out of surface and groundwater supplies but spares homeowners from very expensive repairs or replacement costs.


In the "On Lot Septic Links" section, you can download a publication regarding maintenance printed by the Snyder County Conservation District and originally produced by the Fulton County Conservation District.

 Contact Information

Snyder County Conservation District
10541 Route 522
Middleburg, PA 17842
Phone: (570) 837-3000
Fax: (570) 837-7300
Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

 Test Kits Available for Homeowners

 Rain Barrels Links

 Stormwater & Rain Garden Links

 Household Composting Downloads

 On-Lot Septic Links