SYNTHETIC RIVULET REID FERRERO TOBY CHERIAN
ADVISOR: PROFESSOR WILLIAM RAMSEY UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, ATHENS, GEORGIA, USA
TEAM “SYNTHETIC RIVULET” DESIGNED A SYSTEM THAT WILL REALLOCATE 15,000 GALLONS OF RAW SEWAGE PER DAY FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA’S HISTORIC NORTH CAMPUS TO A SYSTEM THAT WILL CREATE POTABLE WATER, FILL THE BOILERS AT ITS CENTRAL STEAM PLANT, AND PROVIDE BIO-GAS TO FIRE THOSE BOILERS. THE BIOMIMICRY OF A HUMAN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AND THE WATERCOURSE OF THE CHATAHOOCHEE RIVER MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE THIS FINAL DESIGN. = EXISTING SEWER LINES
WATER USAGE FOR UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA’S NORTH CAMPUS 01 - PEABODY HALL - 40% - 6,000 GALLONS PER DAY 02 - HOLMES/HUNTER ACADEMIC BUILDING & DEMOSTHENIAN HALL - 18.5% - 2,800 GALLONS PER DAY 03 - JACKSON STREET BUILDING - 15% - 2,250 GALLONS PER DAY 04 - LUSTRAT HOUSE - 13% - 2,000 GALLONS PER DAY 05 - NEW COLLEGE AND CHAPEL - 4% - 600 GALLONS PER DAY 06 - TERRELL HALL - 2.8% - 430 GALLONS PER DAY 07 - ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - 2.6% - 400 GALLONS PER DAY 08 - OLD COLLEGE - 1.49% - 225 GALLONS PER DAY 09 - HUMAN RESOURCES - 0.86% - 130 GALLONS PER DAY 10 - TANNER BUILDING - 0.79% - 120 GALLONS PER DAY 11 - WADDEL HALL - 0.36% - 55 GALLONS PER DAY 12 - PHI KAPPA HALL - 0.33% - 50 GALLONS PER DAY 13 - BISHOP HOUSE - 0.26% - 40 GALLONS PER DAY TOTAL: APPROXIMATELY 15,000 GALLONS COLLECTED PER DAY
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The purpose of this project is to develop a prototype water cleansing system. We seek to do this by exploiting the similarities of this prototype to the human digestive system and the natural watercourse of the Chattahoochee River. The human digestive tract intakes solids and liquids, breaks them down, and expels them in three different forms: solids, liquids and gases. A river’s natural watercourse can be categorized into four stages. By mimicking the positive qualities of the human body and a river’s network an artificial system can be constructed that will have the ability to cleanse raw sewage water to a potable standard. Although the inputs and outcomes may have similarities, they also have contrasting qualities. Neither system can replace or be a viable substitute for the other. Combining their powers however can unleash a water cleansing system that may reduce the amount of coal fired energy consumed in current water treatment facilities, reduce the amount of chemicals required to cleanse water, and reduce the amount of infrastructure and money required to build a water treatment facility. This translates to a localized system that might provide drinkable water for a village, in a third world country, which cannot afford the price of current technology and the infrastructure associated with it. The system might also recycle water for a college campus, provide bio-gas to its central steam plant, and fill the boilers at that plant. This will close the interdependent relationship of water and energy. The human digestive system can be segregated into four stages. The first stage is the intake system or mouth and is mimicked by the settlement tank in our system. The mouth then adds enzymes to begin breaking down food and to mix the solids and liquids that enter the system. The second stage in the process is the stomach. It is mimicked by our anaerobic digester, the first of three anaerobic digesters that mimic the human digestive tract. These add acids and enzymes to further break down solids and liquids. The stomach breaks solids down to a near liquid state upon exit. The third stage or small intestine is where most of the digestive action takes place. In our system, it is another anaerobic digester. It also utilizes bacteria to consume solids, and break solids and liquids down further. It extracts nutrients from the solid/liquid mix through the lining of the small intestine. That lining is thin enough that certain nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream by veins that run through it. The fourth stage, the last anaerobic digester is akin to the large intestine. This is the point at which liquids and solids are again separated. The large intestine’s main purpose is to draw water out of solids and supply it to the body. Water not necessary for the body is sent on to the kidneys. The kidneys transfer all the poisons and toxins in the body to that water and expel it as waste. By not adding the kidney like function to this system, the product of our system will be much cleaner than that of human urine. The solids from which the water has been extracted are expelled as solids. The solid form of waste will still exist in this system. It will remain in the settling tank, and it will require routine five year maintenance as any other septic system. The waste can be shipped to organic fertilizer plants for further use. Another by-product mentioned earlier is gas. While the bacteria break down and consume waste, they also expel methane gas. That is the same as flatulence. The human body has to expel this gas and our simulation will as well. There is potential to contain the gas and use it for energy. In this country, it can be sold back to a gas company as surplus the way people do with excess solar power to the power company. Surplus may be sold back and supplied to the grid. The price of energy fluctuates rapidly, so picking the moments you supply it can maximize profits. In this project’s scope, this bio-gas will be sent to the central steam plant of the University of Georgia. Bio-gas is thirty-three percent more efficient than coal in steam production, so the steam produced will have a higher yield with less energy required. Bio-gas also burns cleaner than coal reducing the amount of pollution created in this process. In third world countries, this can be used in other ways: it can fuel hot water heaters, gas stoves and ovens. It is a way we can let waste work for us by modeling the way we, as humans, manage our own bodily waste.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A river network such as the Chattahoochee River also cleanses water. A river can be classified in four stages, and these stages have been extracted from Sidney Lanier’s poem “The Song of the Chattahoochee”. The first is the natural spring, an upstream area that has saturated the ground to the extent that water literally flows out. The ground surrounding a spring is in a bog-like state. That is mimicked in our system by a constructed wetland. It has an upward flow and only recedes to exchange water. The second stage is falling water. As springs, precipitation, and snow melt, water collects at high elevations. Gravity pulls it downhill. This might involve a waterfall and steep slopes, causing the water to move rapidly over rocky terrain, creating bubbles. As bubbles burst, they cause ionization, a natural process of aeration. This stage is incorporated into our system as a constructed waterfall. The third stage of a river is the slow moving main body of a river. It is usually deeper than any other stage and carries the most water. There are no true benefits we could identify, but we incorporated a slow moving channel after the waterfall to stay true to nature’s model. The final stage of a river is the tidal wetland. Wetlands are shallow and water actually fills and recedes up and down through the terrain thus, filtering the water. There are also notable characteristics of balancing bacteria. The sludge that makes up the substrate of the tidal wetlands gets a film forming bacteria on it that consumes the waste in water. As the tide rises, that substrate gets wet again, and a form of bacteria that thrives in wetter conditions eats the bacteria that thrive in the dryer conditions. Because the tides are on a predictable timetable, none of the bacteria become overpopulated. They form a balanced environment dictated by the tides. In our system, we have constructed another wetland that fills and recedes on a twelve hour timetable to mimic that process. With both these natural processes joined, there is great potential for cleansing water. Both systems have been carefully analyzed. The positive attributes have been mimicked while the negative features have been omitted from this current project. A site that has the right amount of supply and topographic slope will use much less electricity to operate than do current standards. There are no aeration machines to plunge bulky conveyer belts through water to provide bubbles. There is no chlorination of water because bacteria have done most of the cleansing. Depending on the reuse, there may need to be some polishing to get it to an aesthetic standard in the U.S. This can be accomplished with UV lighting the same as the sun does for a river. But, in afar countries with no clean water supply, this might even mean a drink of fresh water. Fresh water is the first line of defense in the fight against sickness and infection. In summary, by mimicking the human digestive system and the naturally occurring stages of a river, there is a potential to clean water. Human bodies produce waste. There is a way to use all of that waste to benefit people. A river’s flow has stages naturally aligned to cleanse water. Those similar processes can be harnessed. If rivers did not do what they do, we might be able to see silt entering the oceans from space. River systems are the natural filters of the world. Since our design mimics nature’s design for carrying water from up above to the ocean below, we have a chance to attain a sustainable, balanced water budget. This could lead to drinking reclaimed water. There has not been any newly made water in millions of years. Along the Mississippi River, every drop we drink has been drunk many times before by upland communites. By utilizing waste and educating the public on how digestive systems work, we may learn to appreciate waste rather than just flush it down a toilet.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM 01 - MOUTH - BEGINNING OF DIGESTIVE TRACT; CHEWING BREAKS THE FOOD INTO PIECES THAT ARE MORE EASILY DIGESTED, WHILE SALIVA MIXES WITH FOOD TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BREAKING IT DOWN INTO A FORM YOUR BODY CAN ABSORB AND USE. 02 - STOMACH - THE STOMACH IS A SAC-LIKE ORGAN WITH STRONG MUSCULAR WALLS. IN ADDITION TO HOLDING THE FOOD, IT’S ALSO A MIXER AND GRINDER. THE STOMACH SECRETES ACID AND POWERFUL ENZYMES THAT CONTINUE THE PROCESS OF BREAKING DOWN THE FOOD. WHEN IT LEAVES THE STOMACH, FOOD IS THE CONSISTENCY OF A LIQUID OR PASTE. 03 - SMALL INTESTINE - THE SMALL INTESTINE CONTINUES THE PROCESS OF BREAKING DOWN FOOD BY USING ENZYMES RELEASED BY THE PANCREAS AND BILE FROM THE LIVER. 04 - LARGE INTESTINE - STOOL, OR WASTE LEFT OVER FROM THE DIGESTIVE PROCESS, IS PASSED THROUGH THE COLON BY MEANS OF PERISTALSIS (CONTRACTIONS), FIRST IN A LIQUID STATE AND ULTIMATELY IN SOLID FORM AS THE WATER IS REMOVED FROM THE STOOL. - - - SOURCE: WWW.WEBMD.COM - - -
ORGANISMS & BIOLOGICAL STRATEGIES THE FIRST ORGANISM CONSIDERED WAS FILTER FEEDING CLAMS. THE WORDS “FILTER FEEDER” CAUSED THE TEAM TO LOOK AT HOW HUMAN BEINGS PROCESS WATER AND ULTIMATELY LEAD TO THE CURRENT BIOMIMICRY OF THE HUMAN DIGESTIVE TRACT.
THE SECOND ORGANISM CONSIDERED WAS THE AERATION CAPABILITY OF AN ELEPHANT’S TRUNK. ELEPHANTS ARE NOT PART OF THIS BIOME, SO THE TEAM ASKED WHAT ELSE AERATES WATER HERE. RESEARCH LED THE TEAM TO A WATER FALL, AND AFTER MORE RESEARCH FOUND THAT NATURAL STAGES OF A RIVER HAVE MORE CLEANSING PROPERTIES THAN A WATERFALL ALONE.
RIVER PAGE 05
COLLABORATION THIS DRAWING GRAPHICALLY REPRESENTS THE PARALLELISM BETWEEN AN ARTIFICIAL SYSTEM MIMICING A NATURAL SYSTEM ”WHERE THE NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL SYSTEMS ARE NOT ALIGNED A SOCIAL COST WILL BE EXACTED.” [RAMSEY,1988]
PLAN VIEW SITE THIS IS THE PLAN VIEW AND SECTION OF OUR SITE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA LOCATED AT THE INTERSECTION OF THOMAS STREET AND MITCHELL STREET. IT IS STRATEGICALLY LOCATED AT THE INTERSECT OF ALL SEWER LINES FROM NORTH CAMPUS WHERE THEY COME TOGETHER AND HEAD FOR THE WATER TREATMENT FACILITY. THE SETTLEMENT TANK CONTAINS AN OVERFLOW THAT WILL DISCHARGE BACK TO THE SEWER SERVICE LINE IN THE EVENT OF BACK UP AND IS A SAFETY CHECK. THE PRODUCT EXITING ZONE SEVEN WILL BE DIVERTED TO A RECLAIM TANK THAT DUPLICATES A RAIN WATER HARVESTING SYSTEM’S CISTERN AT THE COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN’S MAIN FACILITY: THE JACKSON STREET BUILDING. POLISHING THE RECLAIMED WATER MAY BE ACHIEVED BY UV LIGHT TREATMENT IF THE RECLAIMED WATER IS TO BE USED FOR TOILET FLUSHING. THERE ARE NO FURTHER REQUIREMENTS IF THE RECLAIMED WATER IS TO BE USED TO FILL THE BOILERS AT THE CENTRAL STEAM PLANT OR FOR IRRIGATION PURPOSES.
SECTION VIEW PAGE 07
ZONE 01 MOUTH THE MOUTH IS MIMICKED BY A SETTLEMENT TANK. THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE MOUTH IS TO MIX LIQUIDS AND SOLIDS AND ADD ENZYMES TO BEGIN THE BREAKDOWN PROCESS. THIS TANK ACHIEVES THIS MIMICRY BY FILLING WITH SOLIDS AND LIQUIDS. THE SOLIDS AND LIQUIDS ARE SEPERATED BY ALLOWING THE FLOTATION OF SUSPENDED SOLIDS AND THE SETTLEMENT OF HEAVIER SOLIDS. THE OUTPUT IS COLLECTED AT THE CENTER OF THE TANK,SO IT IS PRIMARILY LIQUID ALTHOUGH SOME SOLIDS MAKE IT THROUGH THE PROCESS. THE SOLIDS THAT ARE LEFT IN THE TANK WILL REQUIRE FIVE YEAR MAINTENANCE. THE TANK WILL HAVE TO BE EMPTIED AND TAKEN TO THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA’S BIO-CONVERSION FACILITY THAT IS PERMITTED TO HADLE THIS WASTE. IT WILL BE USED TO COMPLETE THE NATURAL CYCLE OF FOOD PRODUCTION.
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ZONE 02 STOMACH THE STOMACH IS MIMICKED BY AN ANAEROBIC DIGESTER. THE STOMACH’S INPUT IS A SOLID AND LIQUID MIX THAT IS IMMERSED IN ENZYMES, ACIDS, AND PROTEINS. THESE THREE BREAK THE MIX DOWN FURTHER. UPON EXIT, THE MIXTURE IS IN A COMPLETELY LIQUID STATE AND SENT ON TO THE SMALL INTESTINE. THE ANAEROBIC DIGESTER ENHANCES THIS MIMICRY WITH THE ADDITION OF BACTERIA. A BACTERIOLOGIST MUST BE CONSULTED TO FIND THE PROPER MIX OF BACTERIA THAT WILL CONSUME THE ORGANIC MATTER OUT OF THE MIX IN THIS SYSTEM THAT IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE AMOUNT OF INPUT.
PLAN VIEW PAGE 09
ZONE 03 SMALL INTESTINE THE SMALL INTESTINE IS THE THIRD ITEM MIMICKED. IT IS ANOTHER ANAEROBIC DIGESTER. THIS IS WHERE THE HUMAN BODY UTILIZES BACTERIA TO CONSUME ORGANIC MATTER. IT ALSO TAKES NUTRIENTS OUT OF THE INPUT, AND ADDS THEM THE BLOODSTREAM, TO PROVIDE FOR THE BODY’S NEEDS. THIS DIGESTER ACHIEVES THIS MIMICRY BY AGAIN UTILIZING THE CAPABILITIES OF BACTERIA TO CONSUME ORGANIC MATTER. A BACTERIOLOGIST MUST BE CONSULTED TO MAXIMIZE THE PERFORMANCE OF BACTERIA.
SECTION VIEW PAGE 10
ZONE 04 LARGE INTESTINE THE FOURTH STAGE MIMICED IS THE LARGE INTESTINE. IN THE HUMAN BODY, THIS IS WHERE THE SOLIDS AND LIQUIDS ARE AGAIN SEPERATED. THE LARGE INTESTINE PULLS WATER FROM THE MIX AND LEAVES BEHIND SOLIDS FOR EXPULSION. THE HUMAN BODY TAKES THE WATER THE BODY REQUIRES AND SENDS THE EXCESS TO THE KIDNEYS. THE KIDNEYS ACT AS A FILTER FOR THE BLOOD. IT PULLS OUT TOXINS FROM THE BLOOD IT ATTACHES THOSE TO WATER AND SENDS IT TO THE BLADDER FOR EXPULSION. BY NOT ADDING THE TOXINS RESULTING FROM A KIDNEY LIKE FUNCTION, THE OUTPUT OF THIS ANAEROBIC DIGESTER WILL BE MUCH CLEANER THAN THAT OF HUMAN LIQUID WASTE.
PLAN VIEW PAGE 11
ZONE 05 SPRING THE FIFTH ELEMENT MIMICKED IS THE FIRST OF THREE ZONES THAT MIMIC AN ECOSYSTEM. SOME RIVERS IN THIS BIOME START AS A SPRING. THE AREA CAN BE CATEGORIZED AS ONE IN WHICH THE GROUND IS SATURATED TO A POINT THAT WATER FLOWS OUT OF IT FROM THE AQUIFER BELOW. THIS UPWARD FLOW IS MIMICKED BY A CONSTRUCTED WETLAND. THERE ARE TWO BOXES THAT ARE FILLED WITH LIGHT WEIGHT EXPANDING SHALE TO ACT AS GROUND THE WATERS OF A SPRING TRAVEL THROUGH TO REACH DAYLIGHT. EACH BOX IS DIVIDED INTO FOUR CHAMBERS. EACH FILLS TO A POINT OF OVER FLOW INTO THE NEXT CHAMBER. WHEN THAT CHAMBER IS FULL, IT RECEDES INTO THE NEXT CHAMBER AND REPEATS THE PROCESS.
SECTION VIEW PAGE 12
ZONE 06 FALLING WATER THE SIXTH ZONE MIMICKED IS THAT OF A WATERFALL AND THE RAPIDLY MOVING WATER OF A RIVER. BY FALLING OFF LEDGES, RUNNING OVER ROCKS, AND HAVING ITS PATH SPLIT,THE WATER IS IN STATE OF CONSTANT CHURNING. THIS CHURNING CAUSES BUBBLES. WHEN BUBBLES BURST, THEY CRATE IONIZATION. THIS IS A FORM OF AERATION THAT IS ESSENTIAL TO WATER CLEANSING. THIS HAS BEEN MIMICKED IN OUR SYSTEM BY A CONSTRUCTED WATERFALL THAT PROVIDES WATER A CHANCE TO FALL OFF LEDGES AND RUN OVER ROCKY TERRAIN. THE MAIN RIVULET CHANNEL HAS BEEN ADDED TO THIS STEP AS A POND AT THE BASE OF THE WATERFALL. THE WATER WILL CYCLE THROUGH THESE CONFIGURATION FOR A TWENTY FOUR HOUR PERIOD.
PLAN VIEW PAGE 13
ZONE 07 PLAIN THIS FINAL ZONE MIMICS THE PLAIN AT THE LATTER STAGE OF A RIVER. IT CAN BE CLASSIFIED AS A WETLAND. THE WATER EBBS UP AND DOWN THROUGH THE TERRAIN AS TIDES CHANGE. THIS CREATES AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS PERFECT FOR FILM FORMING BACTERIA TO GROW AND CONSUME ANY ORGANIC MATERIAL IN THE WATER. THIS PROCESS HAS BE MIMICKED BY A SECOND CONSTRUCTED WETLAND. TWO BOXES THAT ARE SEGREGATED INTO FOUR CHAMBERS EACH. THIS WETLAND IS SET TO FILL AND RECEDE BASED ON THE TIMING OF TIDES. THERE IS A TWELVE HOUR PERIOD OF FILLING AND RECEDING THROUGH EACH CHAMBER. WITH THE SECOND BOX, THE PROCESS TOTALS A TWENTY FOUR HOUR PERIOD.
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LIFE’S PRINCIPLES EVALUATED - USE LIFE FRIENDLY CHEMISTRY - THIS SYSTEM WILL PROVIDE BIO-GAS, ELIMINATING THE NEED TO MINE FOR FOSSIL FUELS SUCH AS COAL. IT WILL ALSO ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR CHEMICAL ADDITIVES TO PURIFY WATER. - EVOLVE TO SURVIVE - ALTHOUGH THESE TECHNOLOGIES EXIST, THEY HAVE NOT BEEN LOOKED AT IN THIS SEQUENCE. - BE RESOURCE EFFICIENT - THE SYSTEM WILL CREATE BIO-GAS, SOIL REPLENISHMENT, AND CLEAN WATER AT A MUCH LOWER USE OF ENERGY. - ADAPT TO CHANGING CONDITIONS - THIS OPERATION WILL DECENTRALIZE WATER CLEANING WHILE PROVIDING AN ALTERNATE ENERGY SOURCE WHILE PROVIDING THE ABILITY TO HAVE A NETWORK INCORPORATED TO PROVIDE FOR FURTHER EXPANSION. - INTEGRATE DEVELOPMENT WITH GROWTH - A NETWORK OF THESE SYSTEMS CAN REPLACE A SINGLE-MINDED SOLUTION TO WATER CLEANING AND STEAM PRODUCTION. - BE LOCALLY ATTUNED AND RESPONSIBLE - THIS WATER CLEANING SOLUTION CAN COMPLETE THE NATURAL FOOD CYCLE, PROVIDE ENERGY MORE EFFICIENT THAN COAL WHILE ELIMINATING THE NEED OF TRANSPORTATION BY TRAIN, AND HARNESS THE POWER OF NATURAL CYCLES.
ANALYSIS AND FUTURE OUTLOOK - OBSTACLES - INFRASTRUCTURE ASSOCIATED WITH EXPORTING THE RECLAIMED WATER AND BIO-GAS WILL COME AT A COST THAT MAY FISCALLY CHALLENGE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS OR NETWORK OF SYSTEMS. - LIMITATIONS - TESTING IS REQUIRED TO DEVELOP A TIMED CYCLE FOR THIS SYSTEM. THE CURRENT SITE PROVIDES AN ALTERNATIVE IN TIMES OF TROUBLE WHILE USING THIS SYSTEM AS A SOLE PROVIDER OF WATER AND BIO-GAS WOULD FAIL TO PROVIDE RESOURCES IN A CATASTROPHIC EVENT. - NEXT STEP - THE NEXT STEP IS TO BUILD THIS SYSTEM TO BEGIN TESTING THE RATIO OF INPUT TO OUTPUT FOR FURTHER PLANNING AND EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCE. - UNKNOWN FACTORS - THERE ARE A NUMBER OF UNKNOWN FACTORS INCLUDING THE ENGINEERING OF THE PUMPING SYSTEMS. THE TIMING OF EACH CYCLE HAS BEEN ESTIMATED AT ONE DAY PER ZONE FOR A TOTAL OF SEVEN DAYS FROM ENTRY TO EXIT AND MAY BE INCORRECT. BACTERIOLOGISTS, HYDROLOGISTS, AND ANAEROBIC DIGESTER DESIGNERS MUST BE CONSULTED.
REFERENCES From Eco-Cities to Living Machines Principles of Ecological Design Written by Nancy Jack Todd and John Todd (Book) http://www.biorefinery.uga.edu/biofuels.html (Website) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/watereau/ consultation/reclaim-recycle/reclaim-recycle_e.pdf (Website) <http://firehole.humboldt.edu/wetland/twdb.html> (Website) http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/pdf/hand.pdf (Website) http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/song-of-the-chattahoochee/ (Website) http://ia600308.us.archive.org/18/items/gov.ga.plumbing/ga_plumbing.pdf (Website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River (Website) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewage_treatment (Website) http://www.livingmachines.com (Website) http://www.good.is/posts/feed-your-city-how-architecture-and-farming-work-together (Website)
Published on Dec 12, 2012