Rainwater Harvesting Systems for Vancouver Island

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Rainwater in the news...

City looks at harvesting rainwater

Posted by raindrop on August 13, 2013

City looks at harvesting rainwater
By Theresa McManus, The Record July 3, 2013
Water conservation initiatives will be considered as the City of New Westminster works on its 2014 to 2018 financial plan.
The city is interested in the potential of rainwater harvesting systems in New Westminster arenas and greenhouse as a means of conserving water. Staff will incorporate water conservation projects into future budget deliberations.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr raised the issue last winter after touring the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, which has a rainwater reclamation system that collects water and uses it to create the arena's ice. He told council the system cost $27,000 and is saving the city 800,000 litres of water per hockey season.
Coun. Betty McIntosh believes the time to move in this direction would be when a second ice slab is added at Queen's Park Arena.
"When Abbotsford built a brand new facility, it was part of the plan," she said. "When you go to retrofit an existing building, the costs are so much more."
© Copyright (c) New West Record

Read more: http://www.royalcityrecord.com/technology/City+looks+harvesting+rainwater/8610030/story.html#ixzz2buIV0XOg


Their sweat turns around barren patch of land

Posted by raindrop on August 8, 2013

Their sweat turns around barren patch of land

Vinobha K T, TNNAug 7, 2013, 12.20AM IST

MANGALORE: An agriculturist couple in the city has proved that even a barren land with laterite stones can be turned into a green paddy field. Their hard work has yielded results within three years and they now produce about 15 quintals of paddy an year and earn at least Rs 12,000 by selling vegetables per month.

Mark Sera and Suguna turned 27 acres of barren land with red stones near their house at Mary Hill in the city through 17 years of hard work and dedication. The couple adopted rainwater harvesting methods to make the land cultivable. Mark, 45, who does not use any chemical pesticides, depends only on organic methods of cultivation.


Concerned about environment, Mark wants to herald the significance of water conservation through rainwater harvesting, percolation pits and water trenches, which he has adopted in his field. Mark told TOI that he could increase water level in his well through percolation pit and other rainwater harvesting methods in his property.

"People do not know the importance of percolation pits, rainwater harvesting and significance of water conservation. Government should make it mandatory that all houses should have rainwater harvesting system," observed Mark, who also grows vegetables, fruits and flowers in his tiny piece of land.

"I started paddy cultivation three years ago. Being a member of a traditional agricultural family from Bantwal taluk, I always stick to traditional methods. I am able to cultivate three crops - enelu, suggi and kolake every year. I get maximum yield in all the three crops since I use high-yielding variety of seeds and organic methods," he said.

"In addition to organic pesticides, I release fingerlings of Guppi fish and frogs to the field so that the crops are generally free from pesticide attack," Mark adds. He calls on educated youth to take up agriculture instead of searching for corporate jobs to earn good income and to preserve the tradition of agriculture.


Grand Hyatt Atlanta Engineer’s Observation Leads to Rainwater Harvesting System Implementation

7/5/2013 By Glenn Hasek



About a year ago, not long after starting as director of engineering at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, Wes Shirley was overlooking the third floor terrace of the 439-room hotel during a rainstorm. He thought to himself, “What a waste. If only we could somehow harvest and reuse all that water we could really save some money.” With the assistance of a plumber, the Director of Administration and Development at Southern

rwh system

Polytechnic University (who is an engineer), and some students at Southern Polytechnic University, Wes came up with a plan to harvest the rainwater that falls on the 32,000 square feet of third floor rooftop surface.

For the students at Southern Polytechnic University, it was part of a class project to help come up with a design and plan for a rainwater harvesting system. Shirley says the plan he and his team of experts came up with was quickly approved by the hotel’s owners.

Previously, rain falling down on the third floor roof went down the drain and into the city’s sewer system. Those drain lines have since been disconnected and filters have been added. Now, almost all of the rain falling on the third floor terrace is captured, stored in tanks, and reused as part of the hotel’s rainwater harvesting system. There are seven tanks ranging in size from 2,500 gallons to 5,000 gallons that store the rainwater. The tanks are located in the hotel’s garage. A 15-minute shower will produce about 4,000 gallons.

Installing Storage Tanks Not Easy

Wes says getting the storage tanks into the garage was a challenge. “We must have gone through 50 dollies getting them in there,” he says. No parking spaces were sacrificed; a storage area was cleaned up to make room for the tanks.

No electricity is consumed during the rainwater collection process. Nothing is pumped. “We do have some meters,” Wes says. “It has worked out pretty well.”

The filtered rainwater is used for the cooling tower which requires 15,000 gallons of water daily during the summer. When the rainwater is consumed, the cooling tower switches over to city water.

ROI of Less Than Four Years

If Atlanta gets its typical 50 inches of rain annually, the rainwater harvesting system should collect close to one million gallons each year. Given the cost of city water is about $.025 per gallon, Wes expects an ROI of 3.84 years.

In addition to collecting rainwater, the Grand Hyatt Atlanta harvests water from the cooling tower, recycles laundry water, and is in the process of installing a system to collect condensate from the HVAC system. The condensate would otherwise go down the drain and into the sewer. Water is also being collected for recycling from ice machines.      

“Right now I am capturing 1,500 gallons of condensate a day, and 400 to 500 gallons from ice machines,” Wes says. “When we are done, it will be much more.”

Wes says he is currently investigating the possibility of greywater recycling.


8 things you don't know about our water

Posted by raindrop on August 7, 2013

Plenty of good, clean water in B.C.? 8 things you don't know about our water

Plenty of good, clean water in B.C.? 8 things you don't know about our water

Environment Canada environmental studies scientist Melissa Gledhill at a real-time water quality monitoring buoy moored in the Fraser River estuary in Richmond.

Photograph by: Jason Payne , PRV

Our water — it’s as valuable as any resource in B.C., vital to our economy, environment and health.

But experts are raising alarms, saying there is too much we don’t know about the quality of our water and how much we have.

Despite the number of government agencies that keep track of water, much of the information about this vital resource is murky in B.C., especially compared with other parts of North America.

Here are eight things you may not know about the province’s water — and a few things that no one seems to know.

1. Metro Vancouver is one of Canada’s two top problem regions. The other? Alberta’s oilsands.

A recent Fraser Institute report on Canada’s water quality singles out just two locations in Canada that especially need improved water monitoring.

One was the Athabasca River downstream from the oilsands in Alberta, widely accepted as one of the most polluted areas in the country. The other region was Metro Vancouver.

2. No one seems to know if levels of toxic substances in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour are continuing to rise.

The Ministry of Environment found the level of PCBs, a toxic substance associated with cancer risks, shot up about 300 per cent from 1993 to 2002 in Coal Harbour.

But what’s happened in the decade since then?

“(On) measurements of toxic substances in sediment in Burrard Inlet, the latest information I could find was 2002,” said Joel Wood, author of last month’s Fraser Institute report on water. “I couldn’t find any further information, any later data on that.”

When asked by The Province, the Ministry of Environment could not provide more recent data of their own. Hans Schreier, a University of B.C. watershed expert, said he’s not surprised, as government science resources have been downsized so much. “It’s actually quite a sad situation,” Schreier said, “because we need more monitoring ... so it’s up to researchers at the university and students to do the research.”

3. How much water do we use in B.C.? Who knows?

Unlike many jurisdictions in North America, B.C. has no provincewide reporting system for water usage.Scientists and water organizations are advocating for a mandated reporting system, saying that without one the vast majority of water-licence holders — including industrial and agricultural operations — simply do not report on their water usage.

A 2012 report from the B.C. Waste and Water Association said that of B.C.’s roughly 44,000 water licences, only four per cent reported their water usage.

“Our position is that we really need to implement a provincewide reporting system,” said water association CEO Tanja McQueen.

A Ministry of Environment official acknowledged these concerns, and said that improved monitoring and reporting will be a key feature of the province’s proposed Water Sustainability Act.

4. The groundwater drawn from B.C.’s wells is largely unregulated.

While many argue B.C.’s surface water needs more reporting and regulation, the groundwater drawn from the province’s wells is almost completely unregulated.

“Since B.C. is one of the last jurisdictions in North America that does not license, regulate or monitor groundwater extraction … the true picture of water use in British Columbia remains largely unknown,” reads the BCWWA’s position statement.

“You don’t have to tell anybody or ask anybody about how much water you’re going to withdraw, even though that groundwater can be directly linked to salmon-bearing streams, it can affect your neighbours, all kinds of things,” said Oliver Brandes of the University of Victoria.

Nestle, the world’s biggest bottled water seller, does not require a permit to draw water from B.C.’s wells, according to a recent editorial by Ben Parfitt from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Nor does the province charge Nestle for the water it uses, or require the firm to report it.

5. Clean drinking water remains out of reach for more British Columbians than you may think.

Metro Vancouver claims its drinking water ranks with the best in the world. But it’s a different story in other parts of the province, where at any given time as many as 500 communities are under a boil-water advisory.

A 2008 report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal found B.C. had more boil-water advisories per capita than any other province. Just last month, the Toquaht First Nation on Vancouver Island ended a boil-water advisory that had been in effect for more than a decade.

6. Every year, when it rains hard, Vancouver waters are flooded with untreated sewage.

During heavy rains, some Metro Vancouver water treatment plants overflow, expelling loads of unfiltered raw waste from sewage pipes directly into the Strait of Georgia and Burrard Inlet. The problem is being fixed but it’s a long, difficult project, budgeted over several years.

“It’s diluted, so you don’t really notice it, but it’s ... rain water and untreated sewage,” said North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, chair of Metro Vancouver’s utilities commission. “It’s untreated sewage going into the Burrard Inlet.”

7. B.C. does not have the same mandatory drinking water quality testing as other provinces.

Some provinces, including Ontario and Alberta, are required to test drinking water for more than a hundred physical, chemical, and biological parameters, according to the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality. But B.C. does not strictly follow those federal guidelines, and only biological testing is mandatory.

The testing for physical and chemical parameters is left to the discretion of a drinking water officer, said Madjid Mohseni, a water treatment expert from UBC’s department of chemical and biological engineering. Depending on the water’s source, that could be a problem.

Mohseni gives the example of a B.C. community drawing water from a well near an agricultural region. If agricultural fertilizers add nitrates to the aquifer, and that region doesn’t choose to test for nitrates, the people drinking that water could be at risk.

8. The fundamental laws governing water use in B.C. are a century old.

Pretty much everyone agrees that B.C.’s Water Act needs an update.

The Ministry of Environment says B.C.’s proposed Water Sustainability Act will update and replace the century-old Water Act. The government plans to introduce it into the legislature in 2014.

Oliver Brandes of the University of Victoria said there have been repeated attempts to modernize B.C.’s Water Act during the past decades but every time the issue starts to gain traction in the provincial government, it slips off the radar.



RWH system for Marine Corps

Posted by raindrop on August 6, 2013

Process and Water Company Supplies Water System to Marine Corps

Process and Water Company says its rooftop rainwater reclamation and reuse system at a US Marine Corps facility has helped it reduce its water use 40 percent compared to a building with traditional water systems.

The rainwater harvesting system (pictured), developed and supplied to the US Marine Corps for its Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, contributed to the facility earning a LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council, the company says.

Process and Water worked closely on the system’s design and deployment with Haskell, an integrated design-build firm and project lead for the new facility, and its subcontractors.

The Process and Water system harvests rainwater by collecting it from the roofs of each of the facility’s buildings and centrally storing it. After it is collected, the water is sent through a storm filter that removes organic debris such as fallen leaves, and then transferred into a 10,000-gallon underground storage tank.

After the tank reaches capacity, any additional rainwater is handled by an overflow system that is tied into the project’s storm drain system. The system pumps the previously filtered rainwater through a specialized micron filter subsystem, and then sends it to a 500-gallon day tank. There, another pump constantly cycles the water through a UV sterilization system that yields bacteria-free water.

The twice filtered and UV-sterilized water is utilized to flush toilets and for a variety of other non-potable uses throughout the facility.

Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s reduced its operational water use 50 percent relative across its stores, against a 2005-06 baseline, employing a number of measures including rainwater harvesting.