The New School – New York, NY
Alternate Water Sources: All wastewater (commonly referred to as “blackwater”) is collected and treated at The New University Center including water from toilets, sinks, showers, laundry, etc. Stormwater is also included as a source of reclaimed water after being detained by the vegetated green roofs.
End Uses: Laundry, toilet flushing, irrigation of the green roof, cooling tower make-up, and sidewalk maintenance.
Treatment System Size: 40,000 GPD
Potable Water Use Reduction: 74% (and 89% reduction in wastewater discharge)
Drivers: Education, Sustainability goals, green credential (Water Efficiency LEED points), and ROI.
Working with NSU, the New School installed conservation fixtures and an on-site water treatment and recycling system at The New University Center on 5th Avenue. The systems are designed to reduce water use by 74% and reduce discharge into the combined sewer by 89%. All wastewater (commonly referred to as “blackwater”) is collected and treated at The New University Center including water from toilets, sinks, showers, laundry, etc. Stormwater is also included as a source of reclaimed water after being detained by the vegetated green roofs. The University Center contains one of the largest in-building water recycling systems in New York City at 40,000 gallons per day (GPD). The University Center is one of the first buildings approved to reuse treated water for laundry. Other uses include toilet flushing, irrigation of the green roof, cooling tower make-up, and sidewalk maintenance. The University Center’s water resource management strategy including conservation fixtures and in-building water treatment and recycling system contributed to all Water Efficiency LEED points and several within Sustainable Sites along with Innovation in Design.
Drivers for Onsite Water Reuse:
Many communities worldwide are approaching, or have already reached, the limits of their available water supplies. Water demand exceeds sustainable supply in many areas and the current practices of diversion, consumption, use and disposal are depletive and destructive. The New School University adopted a “water fit for purpose” strategy to address this challenge where all sources of water were considered and all opportunities to reduce water use were identified.
Role of Public Utility in Project:
New York City played an integral role in the permitting and approval process. The onsite system is backed up by public infrastructure; therefore, allowing the two systems to work as one and discharge of biosolids to the city sewer. This eliminates the need for pumping and hauling and benefits the sewar system by pre-treating sewage prior to reaching NYC Treatment Plants.
- Previous installations paved the way for laundry to be added as an approved use for non-potable water ultimately leading to a higher percentage reduction in water use and sewer contribution.
- Getting involved early in a project is key to being successful. This will allow for the system to be optimally located reducing the need for pumping (energy), improving access to all equipment, and reducing risk while improving reliability.
- Continuous improvements on headworks and influent screenings greatly improve longevity and reduces the life cycle cost of downstream equipment.