The CML rainwater collection & purification system will be designed, operated and maintained by student teams from Civil and Environmental Engineering department and from the College of Built Environments. The student teams will consist of undergraduate students and at least one project manager will be chosen amongst the department’s graduate students. The student involvement in different phases of the project is described below:
The system design* will be implemented as a Capstone project in the Spring 2015. The project group or groups of 5 students will be responsible for:
- Estimating the monthly rainfall on More Hall roof & sizing the rainwater cistern.
- Designing & sizing the water distribution system (gutters, pipes, pumps, sprinklers etc.) under the direction of a CEE professor and by following the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) requirements of the University of Washington
- Choosing suitable construction materials
- Creating a schedule for the construction process
- Designing a sampling and maintenance plan for the system by following the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) requirements of the University of Washington
* A similar rainwater system has been explored at another K-12 institution and the proposers have been involved in the project by assisting the institution with the project management, design and installation of the system. The effort is still on-going and is scheduled to be installed in February of 2015.
The system operation will be automated. However, continuous involvement of a few student volunteers (3-4 per quarter) will be required throughout the lifetime of the project in order to monitor the system operation and the water quality.
In order to ensure that adequate water quality is maintained throughout the project period, water samples will be collected on a weekly basis from the exit of the rooftop cistern and at the point of use within the CEE Concrete Lab. All samples will be collected in acid-washed, pre-baked (400 °C), 60-mL amber, borosilicate glass bottles and subsequently monitored for a suite of chemical and microbiological parameters, including pH, alkalinity, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total nitrogen (TN), various metals (including Cu, Pb, and Fe), turbidity, fecal coliforms, and total coliforms. pH will be determined by means of a Thermo-Scientific Orion 5-Star multiparameter meter, alkalinity, DOC, and TN by means of a Shimadzu TOC-VCSH analyzer, metals by means of a PerkinElmer ELAN-DRCe ICP/MS system, turbidity by means of a Hach 2100 series turbiditimeter, and fecal and total coliforms by plating on appropriate selective media in accord with Standard Methods.1 Samples will be analyzed within one week of collection, and stored at 4 °C prior to analysis.
(1) APHA Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater; 22 ed.; APHA, AWWA, WPCF: Washington, 2012.
CEE faculty and graduate students will supervise the student volunteers whose tasks will be defined in the sampling and maintenance plan. CEE faculties, Mike Dodd and Amy Kim, previously met with officials from the Department of Health that have been involved with the Bullitt Center and the Perkins School in developing and permitting their rainwater catchment system. The water quality information that will be gained from this study will be valuable for both the Department of Health and for the research community as not much has been published in this area.
Student volunteers (3-4 per quarter) and their graduate student supervisors are mainly responsible for conducting maintenance activities. These activities include but are not limited to:
- Emptying and cleaning the rainwater cistern every summer
- Changing the UV filter of the rainwater treatment unit
- Cleaning & replacing other components of the rainwater treatment unit
The consultancy and help of facilities services staff will be needed with all maintenance activities involving plumbing. However, these activities are not expected to be frequent and thus we are not expecting them to cause any significant increases in facilities staff members’ workload.