Water > Water Recycling and Reuse

WASTEWATER RECYCLING

Recycled wastewater systems disinfect water collected from showers and baths, laundry, and bathroom sinks (known as “greywater”) for non-potable water uses including irrigation and toilets. Although treating greywater requires an initial capital investment, doing so conserves water and can yield significant savings in annual water bills. Review the examples below and consider installing a water recycling system when building a new sports facility or renovating an existing one.

RAINWATER HARVESTING

Collecting rainwater off roofs for reuse can be an environmentally preferable and a potentially economical approach to fulfilling a portion of your sports facilities’ water needs. Rainwater catchment systems, which can include cisterns, rain barrels, and other simple devices to capture and reuse rainwater, can be designed and installed on a small scale as well as at larger scales.

Consider installing a rainwater catchment system when embarking upon new construction or renovation.

*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*

Water recycling and reuse at your sports facilities can help your institution earn points within the “Water” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It can directly contribute to earning up to 9 points for the STARS Water subcategory, encompassing the credits “OP 26: Water Use,” “OP 27: Rainwater Management,” and “OP 28: Wastewater Management.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Almost half the world’s population lives without a reliable supply of clean drinking water. In the United States, many sources of freshwater are being depleted faster than they can be recharged by natural processes. This is especially true in the Southwest.

The Colorado River, for example, which supplies water to 30 million people in seven states and Mexico, is at its lowest level since water flow records began being kept about 100 years ago. It often runs dry before it reaches the sea, adversely impacting farmers, residents, and aquatic life.

Water conservation is especially important in light of the looming pressures of global warming, which threaten to significantly increase evaporation as well as instances of severe drought. Water scarcity will rival sea level rise as one of the most threatening consequences of global climate disruption for communities across the United States and worldwide.

Recycling wastewater helps reduce pressure on drinking water resources. Harvesting rainwater helps preserve natural water resources and stream and river ecosystems. Rainwater catchment systems also can reduce the need to transport water from distant locations, thereby reducing energy use and infrastructure requirements. Water conservation measures can help to ensure that future generations have access to the water they need.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS EXAMPLES

>> LEED Silver certified Target Field features a rainwater capture system at the stadium. Through a custom-designed rainwater recycling system provided by Minneapolis-based Pentair, the Minnesota Twins captured, purified and reused more than 686,360 gallons of rainwater in 2011, reducing the use of municipal water. The cistern is 200,000 gallons and collects rainwater that gets filtered out and put into a 5,000-gallon holding tank. When the Twins pressure-wash their stadium at the end of the night, that cistern is full enough to use the rainwater to wash the seating area. They save 14,000 to 21,000 gallons of water and 86 gallons of gasoline, as well as 57 person-hours of labor, per game when they use the system. In the future, the Twins plan to refine the purification system and hope to use the recycled water to maintain the playing field as well.To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.

>> The Orlando Magic’s LEED Silver Amway Center captures and stores rainwater and air-conditioning condensation onsite in a 5,000-gallon cistern and used for irrigation.To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NRDC – Water

NRDC’s Santa Monica Office Case Study

AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)

AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual

Environmental Protection Administration Region 9 Water Recycling and Reuse webpage

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Water Reuse website

Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting

United Nations Environmental Program introductory guide for decision makers

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

The Nine Mile Run Rain Barrel Initiative

Environmental Protection Administration Region 9 Water Recycling and Reuse webpage