Innovative Rainwater System Created

Innovative Rainwater System Created

Think of a residential rain barrel, but on a very, very big scale.

That’s one way to describe the student-designed rainwater-harvesting system recently installed on the Barone Campus Center roof, which is projected to corral 41,000 gallons of rainwater annually to use on the University’s lawns, shrubs, and flowers. With each inch of rain, approximately 560 gallons of water can be collected. The eco-friendly endeavor is expected to shave off costs from the University’s water bill, while reusing otherwise wasted storm water runoff. Harvesting projects like animals’ habitats, while thwarting flooding.

“The goal of this harvesting system is to provide the University with a sustainable, cost-saving water collection system,” said JosephBocchino ’13, of Mills, Mass., who came up with the idea with fellow students Andrew Jackowitz ’13, of Moosic, Penn., and John Perry ’13, of Farmington, Conn. The three mechanical engineering majors designed the system’s collection site so that it runs alongside the fourth floor roof and third floor foodcourt patio, sending water to a new 1,100-gallon water storage tank in the mechanical room on the first floor. From the tank, the rainwater is pumped into an irrigation line and can also be put into the University watering truck that is used all over campus.

“It’s a sustainability project in the best sense,” said David Frassinelli, associate vice president for Facilities Management, which helped to install the system. “We envision replicating this system to other University buildings.”

The Campus Sustainability Committee awarded the students a $1,500 grant for their project, which the group devised in their two-semester Senior Design course taught by Dr. Shahrokh Etemad, with Dr. Shanon Reckinger as faculty advisor.