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water conservation

OSHA ruling kills UNR effort to recycle water

By Lenita Powers • lpowers@rgj.com • July 21, 2008
The University of Nevada, Reno's attempt to go green and save money by recycling more than a half-million gallons of water annually has been shot down by a disagreement with a state agency over a tiny pump.

University safety officials said the pump would have allowed the campus to use 600,000 gallons of water annually to water landscape instead of sending it down the drain. But UNR was ordered to remove the pump last week because Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said it violated a code that prohibits any nonessential equipment in the room that houses the air conditioning system that cools the Joe Crowley Student Union building.
John Sagebiel, UNR manager of environmental affairs, said the disagreement is over the intent of a building code.
"The (OSHA) inspector is hinging everything on this one word in the code that says you are not supposed to have 'nonessential' equipment in chiller room," Sagebiel said. "The reason is there is a potential safety issue in chiller rooms."  The chiller room at the student union houses the huge industrial air conditioner, which contains refrigerant composed of stable chemical molecules that are potential asphyxiants, he said.
"So we have to have leak detectors in the room and the room has to be ventilated. It's all for safety, but this pump doesn't put anyone in the building at risk," Sagebiel said.  "Yes, the code says you can't have nonessential equipment in a chiller room, but the intent of the rule is to protect people. But this pump doesn't pose any danger, and it is essential for the overall efficiency of that room in that it reuses water that otherwise would be wasted," he said.
The OSHA inspector could not be reached for comment.
"This pump is a tiny little thing," Sagebiel said of the beer keg-sized apparatus. "It's a pipsqueak pump."

Treatment plan would put water from sewers back in regional supply

Posted: 2/13/2008

Using reclaimed sewer water to irrigate residential lawns and injecting it into the ground for reuse as drinking water are ways to stretch water imported to the North Valleys areas of Washoe County, according to a new Reno plan.

"Reclaimed water in parks and golf courses is one thing," said Sarah Chvilicek, who lives in Silver Knolls. "But in people's yards with children and pets is a different thing. Why are we trying to make all these oases in a desert?"

The reclaimed water proposal -- part of a larger infrastructure plan that will be reviewed tonight by the Regional Planning Commission -- comes as Washoe County faces potential water shortages down the road.

The water facilities plan identifies 30,743 acre-feet of potential water resources to meet an expected demand of 59,042 acre-feet by 2030 for an area covering central Reno and Sparks, the south Truckee Meadows, Sun Valley and Spanish Springs. An acre-foot of water covers an acre of ground with a foot of water or 325,851 gallons, the amount used by a family of four in a year.

Rainwater as a Resource, report (TreePeople)

A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management

Are our cities beyond repair?
TreePeople doesn’t think so.

As part of its Natural Urban Systems Group, TreePeople has been involved in the implementation of several retrofits designed to restore the natural functions of urban sites. From single-family homes to large public sites such as schools and parks, we’ve helped show that integrating nature’s cycles into the urban landscape is not only technically and financially feasible but also highly desirable for individuals and cities alike.

By incorporating stormwater best management practices (BMPs) such as swales, retention grading, cisterns, infiltrators and strategically-planted trees in building and landscaping designs, a multitude of benefits can be realized, including: improved water quality; a decreased risk of flooding; a reduced need for water importation; heat-island effect mitigation; a reduction in contributions to global climate change; and an augmented supply of local groundwater. These are just some of the benefits that are possible when urban sites are allowed to work in concert with nature’s cycles of flood, drought and waste – and together, they create a sharp improvement in the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which we live, learn, work and play.

The newly published report Rainwater as a Resource shares the details of utilizing these concepts and sheds light on the many opportunities to implement the wide array of available technologies. We encourage you to peruse this report to learn more about using these principles as a means of moving cities closer to sustainability.

The report is attached here in pdf format. Appendices you might find interesting include some project as-built drawings, and O&M and inspection costs at this website:

Rainwater harvesting guide

Welcome to the Rainwater Harvesting Guide, where water is gold.

The best way to learn about rainwater harvesting is to read books on the subject, here are my current reviews.

This website explains the rationale behind collecting rainwater, contains lists of equipment producers supporting rainwater collection, gives books/contacts, upcoming events, research, technical discussions, and posts as references.

TMWA flat rate to continue

TMWA rates

Flat-rate customers with a three-quarter inch line pay $74.90 a month for all the water they use. Metered customers pay a service fee of $15.70 for the same line and $1.58 per 1,000 gallons for the first 6,000 gallons. Then, the rates goes up higher for more water usage.

In October, the TMWA board agreed not to raise rates for the coming year.

After hearing from senior citizens on fixed incomes, the water utility board serving most of Reno and Sparks agreed Thursday night not to "flip the switch" to force 11,000 customers onto metered rates until January 2010.

Truckee Meadows Water Authority board member Dave Aiazzi justified the two-year delay, saying the authority has no more storage room for the water saved in the conversion until the long-delayed Truckee River Operating Agreement takes effect.

It would provide additional water storage in mountain reserves for TMWA's 93,000 customers.

Aiazzi, a Reno councilman, and Reno Mayor Bob Cashell had been the most ardent supporters in flipping on meters now. But they said they changed their minds after hearing from people over the last two months.

For entire article, please visit website.

Water meter ruling nears

Water meter ruling nears

The so-called "switch" could soon be "flipped."

That's the long-standing term used to describe the planned finalization of years of efforts to convert all water-users in the Truckee Meadows to metered service.

Directors of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the area's primary water purveyor, are expected to decide Dec. 13 whether all customers should be required to hook up to meters next year. The first of a series of public meetings leading up to that decision is Saturday.

"I think it's time," said Reno Councilman Dave Aiazzi, a water authority board member. The authority is owned by Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

Metered customers are billed according to how much water they use. Flat-rate customers pay the same amount, just under $75 per month, regardless of use.

To view entire article, please visit website.

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