Grey water reuse at a Net Zero Energy affordable housing project.

Grey water reuse is a practice to address the water scarcity issue.  Self-Help Enterprises worked to earn a grant by the CA Energy Commission to help address this water scarcity with a Net Zero Energy affordable housing project in Lindsay, CA.  Tulare County made national news when some of the resident’s water supply depleted and the wells were dry. Planning ahead with 50 multi-family housing units and a community center, the new complex plans for occupancy in fall / winter 2018. The typical fenced storm pond and a pedestrian bridge were eliminated and replaced with double the turf area next to the playground in the center courtyard area. The turf is growing in sand using EPIC Total Water Solutions™.

Passive Irrigation by capillary physics.

The Environmental Passive Integrated Conveyance (EPIC) chamber is a highly modified perforated pipe. The first of its kind to operate in “quicksand without clogging”.  The secret is the patented offset holes that interface EPIC with the sand and gravel profile. The gravel is the saturated zone and the sand is the capillary zone. Water wicks up by capillary rise from underneath without human exposure. Similar to how a stream wicks moisture along its embankments.  The plant roots breathe and drink from the moist sand profile without loosing a drop because the system is lined with an EPDM pond liner from Firestone.  This results is 100% efficiency and 60%-80% less water wasted compared to pressurized sprinkler or drip systems.

Truly going green with twice the turf: thanks to guilt free grey water reuse.

Mogavero Architects designed Lindsay Palm Terrace to be a Net Zero Energy multi-family affordable housing community with energy conservation measures and solar panels on every building.  Storm water from the adjacent parking areas is captured and reused in the EPIC system. Storm water is stored in the 40% void spaces of the EPIC profile equal to approximately 2 1/2 gallons per square foot of landscape. A 2500 gallon storm water tank also fills prior to final outlet to the storm drain. Once storm water is reused, then the additional 2500 gallon grey water tank from building showers and lavatories.  The grey water tank pump is metered to record the volume of grey water that is reused and does not impact the sanitary sewer, potentially saving on sewer impact fees.  The multiple water sources are distributed through the EPIC system for the landscape plants to filter contaminants as nutrients through bio-remediation.

The engineering calculations by Civil Design Studio verify the EPIC system storage volume to be equal or greater than the volume of a storm basin originally designed.  This allows the turf area to be double the size and a cost elimination of the fenced storm basin and pedestrian bridge.

Sunset Mechanical & Construction is the construction team in charge of the EPIC system installation.  They are doing incredibly skilled work together with Ashwood Construction, the general contractor of the multi-family complex at the Palm Terrace in Lindsay, CA.  Keep posted as we update this blog during the construction process.

Author Tomas Sipaila

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