Water : Ecoseptic & Rainwater Harvesting

October 28th, 2009


To learn more about how water is a precious resource to us all, watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s short film, Water Planet, by clicking on the play button above.

ZDS Architects is committed to doing what we can to conserve, harvest and re-use water. In addition to exploring ways to do so for our clients, we’re researching the conditions and possible strategies for our Green Development in Palm Springs, CA.

Palm Springs receives 354 days of sunshine and less than 6 inches of rain annually.  The aquifers are depleting at a rapid rate, and the area is experiencing the worst drought in the last 80 years.  In the midst of this water crisis, 100 facilities are bottling water in California, quickly using their precious water supply.

At the same time as water is being pumped out of the aquifers, the groundwater levels significantly drop every year. According to the United States Geological Survey study, the amount that the ground has dropped ranges from about 3 to 13 inches between 1996 and 2005 in an area stretching from Rancho Mirage to Coachella. These aquifers will continue to be depleted as the populatioin and usage grows.

In an effort to address this mounting challenge, we approached Ecotilities, a division of the Environmental Distribution Network, for assistance.  They introduced us to a 3-step Ecoseptic Process.  The overall goal is to treat the waste water on-site and re-use it, instead of sourcing additional municipal water.

The first step is to grind any solids and organic matter that may be flushed down the toilet or drain. Then a proprietary process called Zorzymes breaks down the pathogens, total dissolved solids, bacteria and other harmful elements. The last and final step is to purify the water into ‘Grade A’ drinking water (though most plumbing codes still restrict the ability to re-use this as potable water).

This system can be located below grade, but we’re considering it to be located at the back of our 2-car Garage and will replace the need for a septic system and drainfield. Some jursidictions may allow this system to be metered so that the homeowner can be credited for the amount diverted from the municipal waste treatment facility. This in addition to the savings of minimizing the intake of municipal water can quickly offset the initial cost of installation.

All in all, the Ecoseptic system will allow home owners to recycle 60-80% of their wastewater. Imagine, municipal potable water will no longer be necessary to flush toilets, clean laundry and water the garden.

In addition, the Ecoseptic System can treat up to 20,000 gallons of captured stormwater and roof-captured rainwater which can be stored in a sistern on site. This unique treatment uses physics instead of chemicals by deconstructing bacteria on a molecular level. The Ecoseptic WMU Water System removes bacteria, protozoa, viruses, pesticides, MTBEs, asbestos, nitrates, nitrites, sodium chloride, THCs, phosphates, heavy metals, manganese, VOCs, female and animal hormones, TDS, vector attractions, pharmaceuticals, dioxins, turbidity, arsenic, excessive calcium, pH unbalances, fluoride, hydrocarbons, cycsts, algae, chlorine and chloroform.

* ZDS would like to thank the Environmental Distribution Network for their innovative work, research and photos used in this post.

Entry Filed under: Green Development, Green Lifestyles, Healthcare, Palm Springs, Uncategorized, Water, critical discussion


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