Recently, Aquascapes, Inc. and Ewing Irrigation teamed up to install a combination of a rainwater harvesting system and a disappearing water feature in front of five of Ewing’s Irrigation stores, and created a sales and training event as part of the deal.
When anyone drives by the Ewing store in Torrance, California, they are hard pressed not to notice the dramatic new pondless waterfall cascading over boulders right out front.
The system is a combination of two products – the RainXchange™ rain water harvesting system and a pondless waterfall. Clinton Elms, of Ewing Irrigation sees these installations to be a great way to promote the line of rainwater harvest products from Aquascape, Inc. to their customers as well as the dozens of other companies in the industrial complexes their stores are located. The Torrance store, for example, is situated on a very busy street in a very busy industrial complex, with a large number of businesses that could benefit from capturing and re-using the rain water that currently pores down storm drains from their massive warehouse roofs.
The Ewing building has a large flat roof that could yield many gallons of water annually.
• One inch of rainfall on a 2,000 square foot residential roof generates 1,250 gallons of water that can be reused.
• That same roof in a region receiving 30? of annual rainfall generates 41,000 gallons of reusable water.
In parched California, that is nothing to be taken lightly. They decided to install a 500 gallon capacity system because that would be of sufficient size to capture most of the water from any given rain, and large enough to hold enough water to have an impact on their water use for irrigating the landscaping in front of their site. There were also significant space limitations, with only a narrow sloped striped of the property available.
To determine what size system would be the best fit for the Torrance site, they used the RainXchange Specifications Calculator on the Aquascape web site. This tells the contractor what can be expected for rainfall in their region, and how much water can be harvested based on roof size. It also factors in the planting category and area to be irrigated, and reports back a recommended kit size for the project.
After a class in the morning, attendees got to work installing the system after lunch. They installed the reservoir in a long ditch like basin, which, being on a slope was quite challenging. Once the basin was dug and the bottom carefully leveled, they brought in the Aquablocks™ and put them in place to be sure the fit was correct. Then a sheet of geotextile underlayment and a sheet of liner was dropped into place, and the Aquablocks™ were put in place. This was followed by a horizontal collection tank called a Centipede™. Vertically from this unit rises the unit called a Snorkel ™, which serves as the surface access point of the reservoir. Under one of the downspouts from the roof they placed the downspout filter unit, and ran the line from that to the reservoir.
Due to the limited space available the size was limited to a 500 gallon capacity system. In Phoenix they installed a 3,000 gallon system. With the limited rainfall in Southern California, it was clear they were going to still need to supplement with city water to handle the total irrigation demand. This meant some additional plumbing and hardware. A water level sensor went into the Snorkel that senses when the water level drops below one week’s worth of irrigation water demand. A Levelor brand controller activates a valve and city water is added to the tank. It is never filled to capacity however, in order to leave open capacity for any new rain water.
A pump to power the pondless waterfall was also installed in the snorkel, as well as return lines to the water fall. Another line is connected from the reservoir to a booster pump to pressurize the drip irrigation system.
Once the Aquablocks were all placed and aligned, the liner was folded over the blocks to enclose the space. Rocks and dirt were carefully placed between the liner and the sidewall to fill in the gap. Then they filled in over the reservoir to finish this part of project. The team also built an attractive waterfall from natural boulders and a waterfall spilling back into the reservoir to complete the look.
With public sentiment strongly supporting green ideas these days, products that can save and re-use precious resources are a hot commodity. “It’s not really about saving money”, says Richard Gutierrez, Manager of the Torrance Store. “Its about being responsible for our impact on the planet. It is a statement about our company and our people.”
Richard hopes others in their business district will get on board. Since installing the new system, they have received numerous comments about the system, and in the short time it has been installed, a number of local contractors have been by to get more information on how to spec it and cost it out. In Southern California, like much of the rest of the country these days, saving water is becoming a high priority, and these two companies are ready to provide a solution.