CLAREMONT -- Claremont University Consortium has been awarded a $250,000 grant for a water recycling study to examine the feasibility of a micro-water recycling facility at the Claremont Colleges.
"The funding and authorization of this feasibility study was based on recommendations from student and faculty research at Harvey Mudd College that projected a 20-year net savings in water costs between $8 million and $28 million, as well as a significant lowering of the environmental footprint for The Claremont Colleges," said CUC CEO Robert A. Walton in a statement.
Officials said the Council of Presidents of The Claremont Colleges gave the consortium the responsibility to oversee a one-year business case and engineering feasibility study to center around access to re-utilize, capture and store water from public and internal sources.
The project, officials said, fits in with the Claremont Colleges sustainability initiatives, where a number of green buildings have been constructed during the last few years that achieved LEED Silver, Gold and Platinum recognition.
LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - a four-tier rating system for high-performance green buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The $250,000 study will analyze the costs of constructing and operating a water recycling and treatment micro-plant that results in usable water to allow the the TCC to reduce potable water use for landscaping needs, officials said.
A California Water Foundation program of the Resources Legacy Fund will provide a $125,000 grant for the feasibility study while CUC will give the remaining $125,000, officials said.
Project management, costing analysis advisory services, water engineering and water policy will be provided by Atwater Consulting Group, officials said.
A "purple pipe" delivery system for distribution of reclaimed waste water on the TCC campuses will also be explored, officials said, and the study will document an economic model presenting the business case including financial return on investment of the proposed sustainable water system.
The feasibility study is expected to be concluded before the end of 2013.
Harvey Mudd College senior Dustin Zubke completed an initial research project in February 2012 while HMC biophysics professor Richard Haskell, his adviser, said the five institutions of the Claremont Colleges use about 740,000 gallons of water per day at an annual cost of $1 million.
The Metropolitan Water District imports nearly half of the water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the study said, which is an area facing reduced water levels because of recent droughts which affect rising water costs.
"If an annual increase of 10 percent is used to extrapolate the cost of water to the year 2030, the current cost per year for The Claremont Colleges will rise to $6.6. million," Zubke said in the study.
It would also supply 72 percent of landscape irrigation water and 100 percent if it's combined with an appropriate landscaping, according to the study.
Zubke concluded his study by recommending a professional, follow-up study and saying the project will enhance campus sustainability and embrace the missions of the Claremont Colleges.