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Raindrops Keep Falling

Posted by: Jennifer Stevens | May 30, 2012 | No Comment |

A new rainwater catchment system at the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) promotes sustainable living and learning.

The Office of Sustainability supports projects that offer multiple benefits. The rainwater catchment system at the ECDC provides that opportunity, particularly downtown where storm water runoff is a significant issue. The idea for a rainwater harvesting system came into fruition during Brian Fisher’s Applied Sustainability course. Two students worked on the project the entire semester, and one student has continued on the project as a summer intern with the Office.

By combining projects, such as rainwater harvesting, with others like a “learning garden” and teacher education, more sustainable solutions are built. And, as the Office has proven thus far, you can’t be sustainable without engaging in a constant process of learning. There are valuable lessons for all of us to learn, but the project is geared toward educating kids on the nature of “recycling” and the advantage of doing so.

The barrels, pictured above, were originally donated to the Boys and Girls Club. After the chapter went defunct, the Office worked with the original donor to give them to the College. Combined, the barrels can store 110 gallons of water. Physical Plant constructed the wooden platform that the barrels rest on. The PVC piping system, constructed by Fisher and Dave Joyner, the Ashley Cooper Stormwater Education Consortium (ACSEC) Program Coordinator, features netting and a “flush” system that limits debris filled water from entering the barrels. A release system allows water to escape through a PVC pipe/nozzle. Fisher previously worked with Joyner on the Political Science cistern located at 26 Coming Street. Joyner also helped with the Grice Marine Lab rainwater collection system.

Overall, the system cost approximately $100 to produce.

In addition to the barrel system, the Office is also building a “water wall” that will harvest rainwater on a larger capacity. Two 600-gallon cisterns will be worked into the landscape at the ECDC and will be tied into the City of Charleston water system for backup water. This will provide a constant source of water to meet the garden demand and will provide another learning opportunity.

The Office also plans to create a mural above the current installation that will help demonstrate how the system works for children (and adults).

under: Business Affairs
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