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The facilities management central plant and grounds services team constructed a system to capture and re-use 13,500 gallons of reverse osmosis reject water produced daily from the central plant. They received $5,000 seed money from University Sustainability Practices to design, fund and manage the project. Previously, the reject water flowed down the drain and into the sewer system. The water is now piped to a holding tank and used by grounds services on campus for power washing and cleaning streets and malls, or pumped by the central plant up to the cooling towers for the campus chillers.
During the first partial year of operation, the departments saved nearly 1.5 million gallons of water that had been purchased for those operations in previous years. The team projects an annual savings of more than 4 million gallons of water, and the entire cost of design and construction has been recouperated in the first 10 months of operation.
Currently, there is a renovation project to increase efficiency by about 12% by raising the cooling towers another 6 feet up to allow water in cooling towers to evaporate more efficiently. In addition, controls will be changed in order to optimize water flow.
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