The Decatur Housing Authority’s (DHA) newest public housing project will feature a unique amenity — irrigation and toilet flushing courtesy of rainwater! Called the Oliver House, the 88-unit building rising off Commerce Dr. in Decatur is the second phase of a three-phase project and is slated for completion later this year. The phase-one units provide housing for families, while the Oliver House will be a dedicated senior living facility.
Bob Drew’s company, EcoVie Environmental, specializes in rainwater retention systems and is installing a series of pumps and cisterns in the building. Rainwater and air-conditioner condensation will be collected in a 12,000-gallon reservoir and stored for irrigation and plumbing needs. It is estimated that up to 80-percent of the building’s irrigation needs can be met through this recovered water. The time it will take to recoup the cost of this system in water savings is estimated at six to eight years, but could be much less given the volatility of Atlanta water prices. The DHA also explored recycling “greywater” (from washing machines, showers etc.), but such a system was deemed too expensive.
“This is not the largest project we have done in terms of size or complexity,” said Drew, “but it will serve more people.” Drew reported that the biggest challenge has been designing a system that can work well under normal rainfall conditions yet also handle our region’s sudden gushers. “We had to design a way to have the system overflow reliably at rainfall rates up to 10 inches per hour, which is a ‘100-year flow rate’,” he said.
EcoVie also installs residential rainwater retention systems, including one that recycles water for drinking. Several pioneering area homeowners have taken the plunge and become test cases for this groundbreaking application.
Learn more at: www.ecovieenvironmental.com. Phone: 404-824-0318.