Archive for Thursday, December 11, 2008

Water bearers: Lawrence couple develop device to put roof rain water to good use

A Burblebox installed in the ground at a home in west Lawrence diverts rainwater away from the house from the downspout. Greg Frost, of Burblebox Systems of Lawrence, is pictured with his device.

A Burblebox installed in the ground at a home in west Lawrence diverts rainwater away from the house from the downspout. Greg Frost, of Burblebox Systems of Lawrence, is pictured with his device.

December 11, 2008

Advertisement

A Burblebox installed in the ground at a home in west Lawrence diverts rainwater away from the house from the downspout. Greg Frost, of Burblebox Systems of Lawrence, is pictured with his device.

A Burblebox installed in the ground at a home in west Lawrence diverts rainwater away from the house from the downspout. Greg Frost, of Burblebox Systems of Lawrence, is pictured with his device.

The soaking rain clouds might not be hovering over our homes right now. But if you live in Kansas long enough, you know they’re coming.

I generally love a good soaking rain. It gives us an excuse not to go on that run, or work in the yard, or wash the car. In the back of my mind, I know my garden is particularly pleased with the dark, foreboding clouds that bring the promise of rain.

However, for many, a handful of days when it is steadily raining means only headaches — sump pumps churning, buckets and squeegees out of storage, and sleepless nights.

Greg Frost knows this all too well. He has worked in the masonry profession for more than 30 years, and in that time he has seen that most home restoration needs were caused by poor or desperate attempts in dealing with a downspout issue.

Armed with his extensive firsthand knowledge of flooded basements and cracking foundations, he and his wife, Melissa, decided they could do better, so they invented the Burblebox. Their Web site describes the Burblebox as a passive, environmentally sound system that redirects and recycles roof rain water to the garden or lawn. So for those of you with perennially leaky basements, you might be able to sleep soundly this spring.

How does this invention work? Melissa Frost explains:, “It is connected to the end of a downspout where the Burblebox system directs roof rainwater to the garden or yard. When rain gets into the Burblebox, water gently rises out of the 2 1/2-inch holes exposed at the ground surface.”

But will my yard and garden be torn to bits installing this contraption? Melissa replies, “No, the Burblebox system is low-impact to your yard. In most installations, a 4-inch pipe is in a trench 6 inches deep progressing down to 9 inches deep. The Burblebox itself is 15 inches deep and 15 inches wide by 23 inches long.”

The Frosts say that more than 300 homes and businesses are using the Burbleboxes, and the results are quite glowing.

“It will protect the capital investment of your home’s foundations,” says Melissa. “Plus, during the rainy season it can water your garden or yard, and a well-planned garden can be irrigated with the Burblebox systems in a drought as well.”

The Burblebox would most likely lessen utility bills in the spring, summer and fall as well. However, the couple have not kept track of those records to know with any precision just how much money one might save. But it certainly would rest a worried mind to know exactly where excessive rainwater is headed when the floods come. As the rains fall, the Burblebox makes a “burbling” sound, hence the name of their invention. Imagine such peace of mind in the next torrential storm — the box is burbling, the plants are soaking, the grass is lush and thick, and your basement is bone dry. There has to be a certain joy in the security of feeling like the foundation of your home isn’t going to slide right out from under your feet.

— Jennifer Oldridge, a Kansas University graduate, is an avid gardener who previously operated a landscaping business.

Comments

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 3 months ago

Maybe some 21st century Victory gardens could benefit from this idea.

The_Voice_of_Reason 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like a great invention... I hope they get a patent on it before someone takes their idea.

SMe 6 years, 3 months ago

What happens in the winter when the 4" of snow on the roof melts, freezes, melts, freezes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

"4” of snow"That's the equivalent of less than 1/2" of rain, so it shouldn't have much effect.

quailrun 6 years, 3 months ago

WAS THAT AN ARTICLE OR A BIG HUGE SALES PITCH TO SELL THE PRODUCT !!!

KansasPerson 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, it's a gardening column, and the Burblebox is something that will help your lawn/garden. I'm sure it's not the first time the writer has mentioned a helpful product.Voice of Reason, I think Greg's been working on that for some time. It appears they take a while.

KU_cynic 6 years, 3 months ago

I presume this requires some active mosquito control, too, such as placing larvae-killing chemical floaters in the reservoir.

brneyedgirl1616 6 years, 3 months ago

Where is the website for this located .. did I miss it somewhere?

foldingchair 6 years, 3 months ago

we have a burblebox at our house and since we have had it, we haven't had a drip of water in our basement. as far as this misquito business goes, the burblebox dries up on its own...there is no need to fill it with any kind of nasty chemicals.

dontcallmedan 6 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Frost is a legend in Old West Lawrence for his thoughtful, quality work. I know firsthand, and would recommend him in a New York Street minute.

iLikelawrence 6 years, 3 months ago

Does this reduce the water/sewer bill since it is recycled?

Sigmund 6 years, 3 months ago

Not to rain on any parades but don't gutters with downspouts move rain water from the roof away from the foundation by themselves? I mean they are supposed to that is why I keep them free of leaves. This bubblebox holds what 10 gallons? i just don't get it but it probably will save the world from global warming.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

To answer your question, Sigmund, the other benefit of this device is that it diverts the water into the groundwater of your and your neighbors' yards (but not your basements,) which is good for all the vegetation in your and your neighbors' yards, and also means that that water doesn't inundate the city's storm water drainage system.

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 3 months ago

quailrun, it's a human interest story, a feature. You know, about a local person who has done something of interest. There's a difference between publicity (which this is) and advertising (which it is not). Unless you're suggesting either payola or plugola has occurred....

Commenting has been disabled for this item.