Category Archives: Infrastructure

Rainwater Collection Can Cut Demands on Urban Water Supplies

Space_Needle_Mount_Ranier_Seattle_Washington_USAUrban growth, especially as seen in Seattle, can actually help cut demands on city water supplies. Still valid today, we wrote about this in July 2014 under the title Rainwater Collection Reduces Dependence on City Water in Seattle. Read more below:

As anyone who lives in Seattle can see, there is a massive amount of rental construction happening. With the growth of the South End of Lake Union and the Ballard area, over 23,000 units are expected to be added in the next few years.

A cultural shift in water conservation with simple technology can reduce the amounts of water usage through more effective water management practices. While the “Green Storm Water Infrastructure” or GSI mandates that runoff from impervious surfaces is to be infiltrated on site, other innovative and effective technologies are crucial in reducing the need for upgrading and expansion of sewer and centralized water systems.

Think of the reduction of the amounts of water coming off our roofs into stormwater if we diverted that water to usage such as toilet flushing and laundry facility. This practice could cut runoff by as much as 50% in high density housing complexes, while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be used to meet the demand.

Bio swells and rain gardens do very little for infiltration during the rainy periods when the ground is already saturated. Rainwater collection used for toilet and laundry facility could be using that water during those months rather than having it overflow, and it would reduce the run off during those periods. The end product would be reduction of stormwater runoff, less dependence on city water and its infrastructure, cost savings to the building owner and tenants, better use of our natural resource, while reducing pollutants in our waterways.

Learn more about rainwater collection and whether it is a good fit for your home or commercial project. Use the form below to request a quote for a feasibility study.

Is Your Water System Contaminated?

160628084826-map-nrdc-water-quality-report-01-exlarge-169You finally planted that garden you’ve always wanted and your first crop has made it to your family’s table. Now you learn that your public water system is contaminated – and has been for years. Your beautiful tomatoes, green beans and peppers have been cultivated with contaminated water.

When we read that thousands of public water systems in the US, affecting millions of people, have unhealthy levels of lead and copper, we should be concerned about the laws in place that are supposed to protect and preserve the health and well-being of our nation’s citizens.

According to CNN, “More than 5,300 water systems in America are in violation of the EPA’s lead and copper rule, a federal regulation in place to safeguard America’s drinking water from its aging infrastructure.”

The story goes on to report, “Violations include failure to properly test water for lead, failure to report contamination to residents, and failure to treat water properly to avoid lead contamination. Yet, states took action in 817 cases; the EPA took action in just 88 cases, according to NRDC’s report.

What’s worse, the report reveals that the EPA is also aware that many utilities “game the system,” using flawed or questionable testing methods in order to avoid detecting high levels of lead. 

That means there could be many more communities violating the laws, exposing residents to dangerous levels of lead. And the public has no idea.”

The article reports that 18 million people currently reside in areas with water systems that don’t meet legal standards AND the EPA is not addressing these violations.

Is your water contaminated?

Cost vs. the Value of Water

coins-1015125_640Humans cannot survive without water.  But, how much should water cost?

Below is a throwback Thursday post about the cost of Seattle water:

The Seattle water system is a good one, provided by Seattle Public Utilities. But, as the demand grows with urban development and population, the cost of Seattle water will need to rise to support expansion.

A recent article by Gene Balk in the Seattle Times makes some interesting points.  Balk mentions “…bafflingly — drought-stricken Fresno, Calif., has some of the cheapest water in the nation. At a 50-gallon-per-person usage, a family of four would pay just $41.63 — less than one-quarter of the cost in soggy Seattle.”

Balk goes on to write: “Seattle has such high rates because we’ve invested more than most places in our water infrastructure in recent years. We relocated our reservoirs underground, in compliance with federal mandates, to keep our drinking water safe from contaminants. “

We can clearly see that it’s not the amount of Seattle water that is the generator of costs, it is the infrastructure required to convey and treat the water to potable standards.

Approximately 70% of household water demand is for non-potable usage. Irrigation, water closets, laundry, and wash down account for this non potable use. Rainwater collection can mitigate non potable use of city water and have a positive effect on our centralized water system and environment.

The commercial building owner and the home owner can enjoy healthy savings on future Seattle water bills by utilizing rainwater collection. Stormwater reduction could be significantly recognized through on site filtration if buildings and homes in the urban environment adopted rainwater collection.

Seattle is a progressive city in many ways and rainwater collection is part of that progression.

This article was originally published under the title The Cost of Seattle Water at