Storing up for the future with San Diego Drums and Totes

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With the recent rainy season coming to an end, many held their breath hoping that the rain would somehow count toward relieving the drought. But forecasters are always dim with their report that the rain barely made a difference. Rather than give up, we can get smart and head to San Diego Drums and Totes. The Lemon Grove based company has its own answer for water conservation.

With the recent rainy season coming to an end, many held their breath hoping that the rain would somehow count toward relieving the drought. But forecasters are always dim with their report that the rain barely made a difference. Rather than give up, we can get smart and head to San Diego Drums and Totes. The Lemon Grove based company has its own answer for water conservation.

Since 2009, San Diego Drums and Totes has been the area’s biggest provider of drums and storage containers. Homeowners who buy the containers most often use them for rainwater collection and water storage for emergency preparedness. 

Starr Skinner, founder and president of the company, knew he had a good idea with San Diego Drums and Toes when he tried to find storage containers of his own. 

“I was looking for big barrels to store bio-diesel that I was making for my vehicle. Couldn’t find any except up in L.A., and even then they were all used. So I bought up some extra used ones and offered them up for sale down here. People bought them up quick,” Skinner said.

Skinner began a side business of buying and selling barrels which grew rapidly. Four years ago he hired Mike Russell as his operations manager; a year later he moved the business into the Lemon Grove warehouse. At that point, he was still selling just used barrels.

“Now we get new and re-conditioned barrels from manufacturers as well as used ones,” he said.

Skinner said business has been good.

“We have so many uses for the barrels that it’s hard to advertise for them all. Our customers run the gamut, from using the barrels for horse feeders to haunted hotels to home brewing. Home brewing is big here in San Diego,” Skinner said. “And we are always coming across new ideas for using the barrels. We try it and then advise our customers on how to do it. Like the garden tower we have sitting out in front by the entrance. That’s made from one of our plastic barrels.”

Still, the most popular use of the barrels for residents and homeowners are emergency preparedness and water storage. San Diego Drums and Totes have emergency water storage kits complete with a new 50-gallon drum, syphon pump, bung wrench, tamper-evident cap seals and a water preserver. The preserve keeps the water good for five years.

The use of drums for water storage and emergency preparedness has definitely risen in the last couple of years, according to Russell.

“Due to climate and government changes, people are becoming more aware to be prepared. With rising bills and with the drought, all people are becoming more aware of how important it is to collect rain water,” he said.

Crest resident Leon Curry, a regular customer of San Diego Drums and Totes, came in to buy another rain barrel just before the rainstorms hit last weekend. He said his last water bill was only $54.

“I use the water collected from the rain barrel on my lawn and my garden. I save a lot of money and water this way,” Curry said.

Russell said that the drums would outlast any manufactured rain barrel.

“You’ll find that these barrels are still higher quality than those you will find at Home Depot,” Skinner said, pushing against the side of the barrel. ”You can feel how these are strong and don’t give with pressure.”

The rain barrels are a DIY kit that has everything including the instructions on how to make and install the rain barrels from a downspout. The kits also include hole saws to drill the holes.

“Very simple,” Russell said. “They simply drill a hole in the downspout, apply the diverter which connects to the downspout and the rain barrel and a spigot is applied to the barrel to get water out and utilize the fresh water to water their plants and gardens.”

 Currently, there are many rebates available with purchase of rain barrels. In fact, the rain barrels are free after rebate through www.socalwatersmart.com.

In addition, the Metropolitan Water district of southern California offers up to $75 per barrel up to four per household with only one submission.

All of the rain barrels are used, which keep the cost down.

“Our barrels are being used for a new purpose, giving them all a new life, saving them from a landfill,” Skinner said.

“That’s right. We are a go-green company,” Russell said.

For more information about San Diego Drums and Totes, go to www.sddrums.com.

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