Rain barrels replace water spigots in town cemeteries to prevent misuse, vandalism

By Lydia Goerner | May 19, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Rain barrels, with a filtered opening on top to allow clean water to enter and a spigot on the side, have been placed in every town cemetery, replacing the water spigots.

Town cemeteries will no longer supply water from spigots this summer, replacing them with rain barrels in hopes of reducing waste.

The water spigots previously used were supplied with water by the Wareham and Onset fire districts, but now 55-gallon rain barrels are available in cemeteries for public use this summer.

Rain barrels were approved by cemetery commissioners this year as a clean water source that will reduce water waste and minimize the vandalism that has occurred over the last few years.

Commissioners also believe this measure will lower the town’s water bill, as thousands of gallons of water were previously wasted.

In the past, the spigots were left open, the water was used to clean vehicles and there were issues with theft and vandalism.

Town Administrator Derek Sullivan apologized for the inconvenience this adjustment may cause.

“We understand that this is a very emotional topic and that there are many who conscientiously use the water,” Sullivan said in a press release. “However, we believe that the rain barrels will help curb abuse and rising water costs.”

Comments (17)
Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 19, 2017 14:17

What a horrible thing to do to these families and the good souls that are there. Did someone really expect the amount of rain falling thru the screened lid will even remotely keep up with the demand.Even with a foot of rain you will only capture about 7 -10 gallons thru the lid. If you want a solution that would work pipe water into small cisterns using float switches, from the cistern water could be pumped with a pitcher pump. Cistern, pitcher pumps and float switches are readily available and can be made theft proof. Having to manually pump the water will reduce use, eliminate car washing slimeballs and the ability for faucets to be left on, no pumping no water. Another system could be pumping water from the pond using electric pump that is operated with a timer on switch. All you would have is a switch location and a section of pipe that is above grade. Activate pump, fill your container and switch shuts off 30seconds later. Its pond water so its free. Rain barrels need to be hooked up to a roof gutter system and then hope for rain to be effective. I am shaking my head in amazement that someone actually thought this might work.The other option is put water back in the way it was and shoot whoever is vandalizing and misusing the water system.D

Posted by: cranky pants | May 19, 2017 14:31

I second sphere's motion. A for effort, D- for execution.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | May 19, 2017 14:51

Wait, what?  We receive an average of about 3 inches of rain per month during the summer months here.  That will fill these barrels like every 3 years or so?  Better used as trash barrels but the town will take them away if they are.  They should just take these mosquito breeding stations out of the cemeteries and rest easy knowing that nothing will be watered.

Posted by: momof2 | May 19, 2017 15:19

You are the same people that would be complaining if the town announced that taxpayers had to pay the money for the hundreds of gallons of wasted water which is what i would have to guess the alternative would be.......

Posted by: Andrea Smith | May 19, 2017 15:39

Next it will be drinking fountains and bathrooms in public buildings...bring your own water to drink (and flush) and disposable wet wipes to wash your hands. I just heard yesterday that men's restrooms at the Kingston Collection (Mall) now have some of their plumbing fixtures "waterless."


And just think every time the town cuts back on it's water use, that will mean less revenue for the Water Department, and ultimately translate to even higher water bills for residents and businesses.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | May 19, 2017 15:40

Just doesn't seem like it has ANY chance of working for more than one person per month.  Is it a complaint?  Yes.  Are there still things that may need watering in the cemeteries?  Yes.  Is there a solution?  Yes.  Bring your own water OR bring silk flowers.  Rain water collection from a roofing system may work.  From naturally falling in a bucket?  I think that is stretching it quite a bit.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 19, 2017 16:39

Momof2, This water is but a drop in the bucket of what is used in Town and there shouldn't even be a charge from the district for it. They should be ashamed of themselves if they are charging for it. I hereby donate all the water I don't use to the Towns cemeterys that I paid for under the corrupt minimum water bill system. I challenge everyone else that uses less than the minimum to do the same. If the districts do not deliver this water free of charge to the Towns cemetery's I will hold my breath and I mean it. With just a few of us doing so there should be plenty of water for families to water the flowers and plants that mean so very much to them. If there is someone here that knows if there  is a place I can anonymously donate solely for the repair of the water system and water billing if any to bring water back to the cemetery please post it and I will donate. I am not well off but I could swing a couple hundred. Maybe there are more out there that would too.

Posted by: bob | May 19, 2017 16:54

If I recall the town cemeteries were put on water timers,a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the early evening,IT sounds like this T.A., is full of what makes the grass grow green..WATER...Welcome to Wareham.....

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | May 19, 2017 16:59

Sphere, if I understand this correctly, the REGULAR use of water in the cemeteries is not a problem.  It is the few idiots in the town who damage the systems, wash their cars, take a bath, or whatever else they do with it that is the issue.  I am guessing that damaged (stolen) pipe and people opening and leaving open the spigots must have caused quite a lot of water loss last year although we never heard of it until people started trying to use the water in the cemeteries and there wasn't a drop to be found.  It is sad that a few people ruin things for the many but it seems to be the norm nowadays rather than the exception.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 19, 2017 20:37

If there are people messing things up then they need to be caught and dealt with. Ther are ways to address getting water for these poor folks and it should be done. If they are stealing the piping just use plastic which has no value. Put  a 8 or 10 inch pipe over the pipe and faucet vertically and cut hole in pipe just big enough to get hand in to turn on or off. Run a short section of hose out a 1 inch hole below so water can be easily poured into containers.  Secure plumbing well so they cannot rip it out or use tools. A spiked cant be more than a few dollars anyway. If we can afford new bricks in the bumpouts every few years we can afford a few spikes at the cemetery. Solar lights in area with game cameras to catch the losers and trouble makers. Gallows and compost pit at cannon park to public ally deal with losers and troublemakers.  If they have no respect for the deceased then they have respect for the living and are fair game to join them. If the Town votes to spare them their picture is pasted all over this newspaper and driven to the edge of Town never to return again.

Posted by: bob | May 19, 2017 21:19

Gee with all the electric savings that the TA suppose to  be saving with closing the town hall every Friday,use that savings to pay the so called huge water bill at the cemetery....

Posted by: sadie | May 20, 2017 07:40

this is just a guess on my part but I think the town put out rain barrels that are full of water. The rain barrels are a way to contain the water and also collect any rain water. You can call mm and find out if they fill the rain barrels.

We would always bring water with us when we went to cemetery a half or a full gallon container was usually more than enough for the flowers.

We should be glad we have flowers a lot of places don't allow real flowers anymore.

Posted by: WWreader | May 20, 2017 07:45

Or you could look at it this way. Not everyone in town has a loved one buried in town cemeteries yet for years, we have subsidized the free water without complaint. Many cemeteries don't allow plants to be planted so that is your choice here in our town. And if the town continued to pay thousands of dollars for wasted water or free car washes or replacing pipes and spigots without taking action, plenty of people would be complaining about that. I have lost loved ones so I am sympathetic, but I don't expect to get free water to take care of their graves.

And Bob, the "electric savings" goes to pay for things like police officers, and MM staff, and adding hours to the library. If you went to town meeting and voted on the budget, you would see not a penny is wasted.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | May 20, 2017 08:57

Thats correct Reader, for years there was water there without a complaint. Why is there a problem now? Why is it not corrected so there can be water again for years. Why arent the wrong doers hunted like the rats they are. I don't care if they are homeless or the neighborhood kids, they should be hunted down and made to pay for this.  We are talking thousands of dollars here. If it were some fire district property valued the same there would be more effort to stop this problem. Instead of bringing things back its the good people that suffer. We should not have to adapt to the behavior of the criminals. Criminals need to be caught and brutally punished so they will not repeat and create an example for those that may think about doing something wrong. Bring back the gallows.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | May 20, 2017 09:01

It is not really a choice to plant plants at the cemetery, or maybe it is.  The rules and regs online seem to be a draft document.  According to the rules and regulations of Wareham's public cemeteries:


At no time will a plant, bush, shrub or tree be allowed to be planted without prior written approval.


It then goes on to say:


  1. As stated in the floral and adornment section. A flower or planting and adornment bed is not to exceed 18 inches to the front of any upright monument. If any item is considered offensive, unsightly or inconsistent with the dignity of the cemetery it will be removed and disposed of in the proper manner. The item should not exceed the height of the monument.


So, maybe plants can be planted so long as they are no more than 18" in front of the gravestone?.  Who knows?


I can say that I stopped by Agawam Cemetery yesterday and noticed that the barrels are full of water at the moment.  Given that they were just put there, and with the great weather we have been having, I have to assume that the MM dept filled them.


As far as the cost of the water for the cemeteries, I would think that this comes from the interest earned on the monies in the perpetual care account that the cemetery dept has.  I think that is how it should be anyways.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | May 21, 2017 13:25

The problem is not the folks commenting. I cant tell you the money my family has spent on graves, to honor our loved ones, both family and friends. Only to go by the cemetery, the next day or few days, and all the stuff we have put there was stolen, probably in some scumbags front yard. Basically stealing from the dead. We always bring our own water, many have the old pump styles at the water stations no washing cars. It's seems that no matter what the subject is these days, its not local to Wareham, these things happen everywhere. Rather than earning a few dollars and going to Home Depot or Lowes, these people just find it's easier to go to a cemetery and fill their trunks. Shame on them. Only problem, they have no shame.

Posted by: rhbinma | May 22, 2017 19:53

The water and fire dept did this so they can continue to wash there cars and trucks for free. Its ok we can pay them to wash there personal stuff. I see it all the time at the "closed" fire station/ hangout on Cranberry Hwy. You will never here them complain water is being wasted there.The town is a joke and we are the fools that pay and fall for there stuff.

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