Population Health Facility Visible Rainwater System

Executive Summary:

As the human race expands to larger population numbers, there are a lot of limiting factors to consider in our plight. One of such factors is the amount of accessible fresh water which is becoming scarcer each year with increased demands.  Not only are we using more water, but the quality of water is of great concern. Developing countries around the world have designed simple water collection systems but often times the water they collect contains harmful bacteria which makes drinking contaminated water a  main cause of death. Our team here in EWB recognizes the need for clean drinking water and a sustainable way of life along with the parallels of this project being conducted around the globe.

In EWB, we combine our different disciplines of engineering to design, build, and  implement systems that can alleviate developing nations that lack access to life essentials. This partnership focuses on implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while giving future professionals a hands-on experience and opportunity to do good in the world with what they have learned.

    The rainwater system we plan on adding to is a great addition to the environmentally friendly systems being used in the new Public Health building. The educational aspect of the piece, that we will provide with a easy-to-follow display, informs everyone who enters the building about the benefits of such a system and the logistics of how the system works, something that is not common knowledge. This display system will only cost around $2000 as an estimation plus the added $15000 from the additions to the system needed to put it in the lobby. The University of Washington, although not limited to, can also perform ongoing research of water quality at this site with our added filtration. Development and experiments of new water filters for drinking or other uses can also be conducted. Possible breakthroughs in water treatment can make the University look exceptional in addition to doing the world a favor.


Student Involvement:

The display and visual rainwater system in the lobby would involve any students that walk through the lobby of the building. These students will be able to see an easy to follow, possibly interactive display that would explain to them how a rainwater system, like the one that will be in the building, works and what its impact is on the environment. In this way any UW student will be involved with this project. More directly, students working on the project like the students from EWB and any design students will be involved as well. They will have a chance to research these systems and learn a lot about them to be able to put together an easy to follow display for other students. For the design students, we have been told that people in CSF have connections to people to get the word out to these students and see if they are interested in designing the visual display that will be put on the screen. As far as the engineering students go, we have already talked with students in EWB and have 15 interested engineering students on our team. There are other ways to reach out and involve engineering students who are not in the club as well, if they are interested in the project.

    For our extra filtration project, depending on the department and faculty that are interested, students in related classes may be involved in the testing and research. This testing could potentially be incorporated into a curriculum or some way that the students in related classes could be involved with these systems. Either way, any student will be affected because anyone coming into the lobby will be able to understand how these systems work by looking at the visual display. With our extra filtration regarding potable water, explanations on how these filter systems work and the impact of these systems will be displayed on the screen for all to see. This will also more directly involve our engineering students on the team because they will be involved in the creation of an engineering system which will be a great hands on experience for them.


Education & Outreach:


The UW community can find out about the Visible Rainwater Treatment System in the new public health building through several different ways. The first way to reach the community is through Facebook. The Engineers without Borders Club at UW has a Facebook page that we can first post on to tell our friends and those interested about the project we will be working on and then later on to encourage them to go visit the new system. We also will possibly ask the Campus Sustainability Fund to post about the project on their own Facebook page. The students involved in the project and in Engineers Without Borders will be asked to share the post in order to reach an even greater audience. Another way to advertise about the rainwater project can be through the Daily, the University of Washington student newspaper. We will reach out to their group to request either an article about the Public Health building on campus, with a feature on our rainwater system, or we can ask to put an ad in the newspaper to educate the readers about our new project. In this article or ad, we can expand on the good the project is doing for the environment and how they can either get involved or how they can become greener. Another outlet we will be able to use to reach the community about the Visible Rainwater Treatment System in the new Public Health building through is physical advertisement. We can potentially put up flyers around campus, including the Hub, Ode, the dorm common rooms, and bus stops. These fliers will have information about the project on them and the contact information for EWB and CSF, for if they want to get involved.

UW Engineering Without Borders is a student-run organization that sees new members on a frequent basis. Our Local Projects branch within the club is often the first step for new members when joining the club, as the projects are more accessible than the international projects. Thus, any outreach that EWB conducts as a club will directly allow more UW students to work on the project. Anyone can join UW EWB, there is no application or selection process to become a member. This is an important fact, as any student that’s interested in the project can become involved as soon as the following week. Meetings are held weekly, where each projects’ members gather to give progress updates and work on coordinated tasks. Particularly interested students can assume a larger role in the project easily by seeking involvement beyond the weekly meeting.

As well as people directly related to the project, all students will see the educational benefits. Since our project includes an educational display in the lobby of the building for all to see, students that come into the building will easily be able to learn about this sustainable system and its impact on the environment. We will provide an easy to follow display that will allow for all students in all different departments to learn about these rainwater systems and how they apply to the specific building as well.

With our other project regarding extra filtration, the students in EWB that are involved will learn a lot about design, building, and implementation of engineering systems which will be very valuable for them in the future. Whichever system we implement will also be included in the display showing even more sustainable systems to students and educating them further on this topic. Students may also be involved in the research and testing of these systems depending on the faculty involved.

Environmental Impact:
  • Water
Project Longevity:

The overall timeline for this project would probably be until the Population Health Building is built in 2020. The display however and rainwater system will likely be built before the building is completely done, and the project involving those parts will be going on while the building is being built. These things however will not fully be implemented until 2020 when the building is projected to be finished. There wont be any added maintenance for the visual display and treatment system in the lobby project. For our project regarding extra filtration there will be a maintenance component that will be further researched, this will likely be ongoing as long as the system is in use. 

Environmental Problem:

The part of our project involving the display system and rainwater system in the lobby is very centered around educating people on environmental issues and sustainable solutions, although this is a very important part of protecting our environment. This does however go hand in hand with the rainwater system itself which has a big impact on the environment. Rainwater systems like these allow us to use water that would normally go to waste and reduces municipal water use. Municipal water treatment takes up a lot of energy and chemicals that negatively affect our environment, these rainwater systems do not. They also manage stormwater runoff, something that has a large effect in the Seattle area because of the high volume of rain we receive. These systems manage the amount of runoff to prevent erosion, flooding and poor quality water from running into our lakes and rivers.

    Our other potential project about filtering water to make it potable has a different kind of impact. If researched, filtration systems like the ones we would implement may be approved by the FDA to provide potable water to people. This would mean that people could implement rainwater systems into their buildings and homes for potable uses, such as showering and drinking/cooking. This would make a big dent in the municipal water usage that has such a negative impact on our environment.


Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Our projects environmental impact will be measured directly and incorporated into our visual display. People will be able to see how many gallons of water we are using with this system and therefore how much municipal water usage this saves us. A display will also be provided for whichever extra filtration system we might incorporate so everyone can see the impacts of that system as well.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $17,000
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


Carmen from PAE has given us an estimate of $15000 for additional parts needed to put the system in the lobby
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
TV$20001 $2000
Additional parts to rainwater system (needed to put it in lobby) $150001$15000

Non-CSF Sources:

Project Completion Total: $17,000


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Display creationnot sure, 2 or so months depending on the design studentsBy the time the building is done in 2020 at the latest
Rainwater system in lobby probably a year or so2020, or whenever the building is finished, this cant be implemented until they are done building