CU/Green on water use and landscaping

CU/Green: Things Cedarville University should consider doing in order to be good stewards of the Earth.

The world's biggest desalinaation plant. The diameter of those membrane tubes is about the diameter of your hand. Flickr photo from Sasyl. CC.

The world's biggest desalinaation plant. The diameter of those membrane tubes is about the diameter of your hand. Flickr photo from Sasyl. CC.

Water supply quality

  • Commission the engineering departments to do a study on the Village water quality. I hear some professors are wary of the water around here. The state EPA guidelines do allow for variation in quality.

Water filtration effluent control

  • This site allows you to find those entities who have permits to discharge waste into waterways (although not necessarily treated human waste). This page details Cedarville University’s violations of its discharge permit. In summary, CU filters its water through sand filters before it gives it to us to drink. Periodically it flushes those filters and dumps the stuff that comes out of them (usually concentrated minerals like iron) into waterways. Well, CU violated acceptable levels of contaminant (like iron) discharge on these dates: June 30, 2008; Jul 31, 2008; Nov. 30, 07; Dec. 31, 07; Jul 31, 07; and a different type of violation on these dates: Feb 29, 08; May 31, 07; Apr 30, 07. The EPA contact who handles CU’s account said that it wasn’t human error and that we’ve fixed the problem every time. But we need to invest in better mechanical apparatus so violations don’t happen in the future.

Water conservation

  • replace all urinals with waterless urinals, which, opposed to common sense, are more sanitary than water urinals. They’re obviously less costly to operate. I’ve heard in several places that the reason everyone still uses water urinals is because plumber’s unions are very powerful and it takes half the work to install a waterless urinal.
  • install low-flow shower heads. These use about 1/3 the water of normal shower heads and aren’t really a sacrifice.
  • We may not want to try to tackle this right now, but greywater reclamation is always available. We could use it on our landscaping, but not a University farm, since the chemical from soaps, etc. aren’t good for food.

Landscaping and decoration

  • stop using lawn fertilizers and pesticides unless they’re very green-friendly, and then only sparingly. Allison McClain, President of the new environmental organization on campus, says she knows some students in the sciences who’re working on lawn-care substances that don’t wreak other habitats — such as Cedar Lake and its algae problem.
  • For that matter, commission the engineering department to do a study on Cedar lake — I’ve heard it’s not a fully-functioning habitat with natural equilibrium. Let’s make sure it’s as healthy for all native organisms as it can be.
  • We might rethink the types of grasses grown on the campus. Can we plant any that don’t require as much mowing or fertilizer or water?
  • reconsider the nature of the indoor plant contract. Maybe replace some of the more tropical plants that use lots of water and/or fertilizer with more flora native to this region. (Also for a plant tip, see the section on indoor air quality.)
  • revamp the tree-planting policy to reflect another mindset, one more like “why shouldn’t we plant a tree here?”

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