Prototype project on Auburn campus saves water - WRBL

Prototype project on Auburn campus saves water

Posted: Updated:
AUBURN, Ala. -

Storm water runoff in urban areas has had negative effects on the environment as buildings and pavements prevent rainwater from filtering into the ground like in a natural environment. In an urban setting, the water runs off into storm drains, collecting pollutants on its way downstream. On the Auburn University campus, the water flows into Parkerson Mill Creek, on to Mobile Bay and ultimately into the Gulf of Mexico.

 Pulling together funding from Auburn's Facilities Management and a Parkerson Mill Creek grant, a team of Auburn experts has developed a way to mimic that natural infiltration process. On a shop building adjacent to Dudley Hall, rainwater is collected through a draining system and flows to a 1,000-gallon cistern. The overflow water is diverted to a neighboring rain garden, where it collects and seeps slowly into the ground.

 "The rain garden is an interesting pilot project that introduces students to best practices in water conservation and storm water management," said Dan King, assistant vice president for Facilities Management. "Achieving a sustainable campus environment will likely require many small-scale projects like this."

 Charlene LeBleu, associate professor of landscape architecture in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, led a team of students in designing the project and selecting the plants that thrive in a rain garden environment. Building science students built the conveyance system that carries the water from the cistern to the garden.

 "We want to work toward disconnecting more downspouts on campus so we can have more water infiltration," said LeBleu. "When water infiltrates, it raises the level of our stream water and you don't get flash floods after a hard rain."

 Over the next three years, the team will monitor the chemical analysis of the roof water, particularly the level of nitrates in the water, and measure the infiltration of the water through the rain garden. They also will see which plants grow the best and how effective rain gardens are in clay-type soil.

 "We don't have to use expensive city water to irrigate plants, so if we've got cisterns, that water can be used to water the landscape," said Mike Kensler, director of the Office of Sustainability and co-developer of the Dudley Hall project. "It's free water basically, and in some places it can be used to flush toilets, water plants, really anything except drinking water."

 Similar projects have been built at Auburn's Southeastern Raptor Center and Donald E. Davis Arboretum.

  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Council fails to approve proposal to build $244,000 restroom on RiverWalk

    Council fails to approve proposal to build $244,000 restroom on RiverWalk

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:59 AM EDT2014-04-17 04:59:08 GMT
    A proposal for a Columbus RiverWalk public restroom project that would cost nearly $250,000 fails to pass once again as city councilors could not reach a majority vote.
    A proposal for a Columbus RiverWalk public restroom project that would cost nearly $250,000 fails to pass once again as city councilors could not reach a majority vote.
  • Health watch: Tuskegee becomes training ground for diabetes education program

    Health watch: Tuskegee becomes training ground for diabetes education program

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:44 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:44:52 GMT
    Alabama has a high prevalence of diabetes. Macon County, where Tuskegee is located has a 14 to 16 percent range for prevalence compared to just over 11 percent for the state. To change habits, an accredited diabetes education program was started in Tuskegee. More than forty people took part. The goal of the ten week course was to help those with diabetes learn to control their blood sugar by changing their behavior. ...
    Alabama has a high prevalence of diabetes. Macon County, where Tuskegee is located has a 14 to 16 percent range for prevalence compared to just over 11 percent for the state. To change habits, an accredited diabetes education program was started in Tuskegee. More than forty people took part. The goal of the ten week course was to help those with diabetes learn to control their blood sugar by changing their behavior. ...
  • Auburn University classes cancelled after reported threat

    Auburn University classes cancelled after reported threat

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:40:37 GMT
    Image tweeted by student newspaper The Auburn University Plainsman shows the alleged threat written inside a bathroom.Image tweeted by student newspaper The Auburn University Plainsman shows the alleged threat written inside a bathroom.
    Auburn University classes have been canceled Wednesday "due to student and parent anxiety over [a] threat," an emergency message posted to the school's Web site reads.
    Auburn University classes have been canceled Wednesday "due to student and parent anxiety over [a] threat," an emergency message posted to the school's Web site reads.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.