Using Constructed Wetlands to Mitigate the Impacts of Combined Sewage Overflows: A Conceptual Solution for 2030
How we think
The total number of waterborne illnesses per year in the United States is estimated at 19.5 Million per year
Reynolds, Kelly A., Kristina D. Mena, and Charles P. Gerba. “Risk of waterborne illness via drinking water in the United States.” Reviews of environmental contamination and toxicology. Springer, New York, NY, 2008. 117-158.
We believe that by understanding the complex nature of water, we can design effective solutions.
Challenge and Solution:
Oceans5 researched water quality issues in the United States. This yielded surprising results. For example, in New York state, 20 Billion gallons of raw sewage are being discharged every year.
Oceans5 decided to tackle the Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) problem. A CSO consists of discharges from a combined sewer system that is caused by snowmelt or storm water run-off. CSOs contain untreated or partially treated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris as well as storm water.
CSO events typically occur in wet weather. A precipitation or wet weather event occurs in New York once every 3 days. CSOs are not just a problem that pertain to New York, they occur to any municipality that has a combined sewer system.
Precipitation events can overburden sewage treatment plants causing a release of untreated sewage into the Hudson River. Such discharges are also the cause of future problems including emerging pollutants, and the increase of waterborne illnesses.
Oceans5 proposes a conceptual design solution that improves the processing of the CSO harmful discharges by artificially constructed wetlands that integrate fiber optic technologies developed at CERN.
Stacker is a vertical wetland structure that can process higher volumes of water than existing sewage treatment facilities. Stacker’s purpose is simple: to use nature’s natural treatment system. The impact of this solution is multi-faceted. First, it helps alleviate the problem of combined sewage overflows in waterways that surround cities. Second, it improves the quality of life for marine animals in the Hudson River Estuary. Third, it reduces the number of water-bourne illnesses by ameliorating the effects of pathogens caused by combined sewage overflow events. Imagine a world where nature picks up where man left off; the beginning of it starts with Stacker
Future Scenarios 2030
With the threat of climate change, governments and corporations have come together to better regulate their impact on the environment. This collaboration has led proactive change rather than retroactive. The Hudson River is cleaner and the expansion of biodiversity in our local water bodies has begun.
Technology has grown exponentially resulting in a never-before-seen era of data collection, optimizing our current technological struggles.
Due to the positive change in the environment and technology, the economy in the Hudson River Valley region became a leader in worldwide environmental technology and industry, bringing in billions of dollars, and most importantly, being a beacon for the world to follow.
Climate change has spiraled out of control. With global warming reaching unprecedented levels, sea levels have risen, flooding low-level areas in the Hudson River Valley and flooding certain parts of New York City, including those of the waste-water sanitation facilities leading to further contamination of the environment.
Technology has consumed the lives of the people so much that they do not care about the physical world anymore. This has lead to a lack of care and degradation of the environment, as people do not care whether it is clean or dirty. The economy has dropped, leading individuals to retreat to the virtual world
Introducing Oceans5’s Values
Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Our Weekly Updates
Our Weekly Research & Idea Development Updates
Oceans5- Final Week
Hi everyone! Thanks for following along in our blog posts throughout our implementation phase. We were delighted to see everyones progress as well. This has been an amazing experience for us all here at Pace. We certainly pushed ourselves beyond our boundaries (design...
This week our team went over in our Monday meeting how our idea would work into the real world. We discussed the how the implementation of our idea will work in our predicted future. The depth at which the idea as to understand if there are any violations of the laws...
This week we finalized what our solution will be and presented it among ourselves. These practiced pitches helped us boil down the essence of what our project is, clarifying the description. Here it goes: “Our solution is a vertically constructed wetland that embeds...
This week was interesting. During our ideation our week student meeting we spent some time envisioning how and what our future will look like. We really took a lot of time to dissect...
Today for CBI, OCEANS5 focused on developing new ideas as well as focusing on solutions. We decided to expand from our original idea of combined sewage overflow, and try go beyond our original prototype, “ThermaT.” Today’s meeting was very productive because we...
This week we spent time thing about the direction that our project is heading to and wear the root of our issue is resulting from. We were joined in our weekly meeting by John Cronin, a Senior Fellow at Pace University, who’s passion and knowledge of the Hudson river...
OCEANS 5 TEAM
Nathanael Linton is a senior History major at Pace University. As part of his major course of study, Nathanael did research in a few areas including the historiography of African- American subculture and subjective/objective practice in historical thought. He will focus on the research aspects related to the problem, as well as the implementation of the proposed solution
Mackenzie is a junior Honors computer science major at Pace University. She will be focusing on developing and creating technologies throughout the project which aligns with her passion. Mackenzie’s goal for CBI is for clean water to be recognized as a global standard for humanity.
Kyle Hanson is a student at Pace University and is majoring in Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science. He aims to bring his skills from working in IT and environmental systems to the team setting, helping to create innovative ideas.
Will is a senior Computer Science student at Pace University. He enjoys exploring all aspects of technology and aims to apply technology to solve problems. His interest in SDG’s goal 6 and 14 is simple: despite being an incredibly important resource, water quality is widely neglected.
Sven Latinovic is a senior at Pace University studying Applied Psychology and Film Studies. During the CBI project he will be focusing on the artistic and creative aspects of OCEANS5’s vision. He wants to track and present the team’s endeavors in a way that would bring the whole experience closer to all.