April: First Flush Tanks, Greywater System, and More

By Jessica Schultz

In April, the deck along the Nest play area on the eastern side of the building was started and with it we began to get an even better sense of our view to Mt. Norrwotuck and the Pelham Hills. There are still many trucks and machines in the view for now, but we know that it will be a great place to view the mountain, watch the birds as our landscape grows, and to spot kestrels in flight in the field below our building.

The leach field was installed, along with all the associated pre-cast concrete structures. This system forms the additional or secondary water treatment system for the building’s greywater. Greywater is primarily processed through the constructed wetland, metabolized and transpired through the wetland’s plants. However, if the wetland should become full or should freeze during a super cold winter (unlikely, due to depth), greywater will be diverted to the leach field. The only sources of greywater from our building are from sinks in the bathrooms, classrooms, and kitchenette.

The first flush tanks on our water system were installed in the Ecotone (the connector space between the building’s two wings) along with the WISY filters that eliminate large debris from the rainwater system. These components form the foundation of a primary exhibit on the rainwater cachement and drinking water system. Soon, they will be connected to our roof and each first flush tank will fill sequentially from the first 1/16″ inche of rain that “cleans” our roof of dust and fallen debris. The drinkable water will follow the first flush and will be diverted to our drinking water reservoirs for storage prior to treatment.

White cedar for our roof overhang supports arrived from Canada and we used the large space in our combined large classrooms to treat, cut and assemble the supports prior to installing them. Installation began and we started to see the final shape of the building appear, pulling the design together.

Another special exhibit, the basking rock, was turned, cleaned and cut. It will feature a seat for anyone who spends time in our visitor’s center. Sited near the future location of Cornelius our corn snake, the basking rock sits in the south facing windows simulating passive solar gain. The rock was sourced on our site and moved into the visitor’s center after the floor was installed.

Jessica Schultz is Communication and Capital Project Coordinator for the Hitchcock Center. She guides on-going media relations, website and social media, publications, marketing planning and photography. She also supports the Executive Director and building committee in planning for a new environmental learning center.

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