Toilet to the Tap?
Have you ever wondered what happens to your water after it goes down the drain? Or even down the toilet? And do you ever wonder how your water comes through your faucet or shower head? And, do you ever wonder if you will ever run out of water? If you are from Michigan, probably not. But if you are from Arizona or California, this thought has probably crossed your mind. It has crossed our mind, too, because the future of water is an issue of ever increasing importance. Where will the water we all use and need come from in the future? We decided to look at both the process water takes to arrive into our homes and where it goes after it is flushed down our toilets.
The fact is, after our water goes down the toilet, it goes to wastewater treatment plants, and then back into the environment. Once in the environment, it is possible that it will then be taken into a water treatment plant, and then sent back into our houses. Hopefully. Some areas are beginning to experience water shortages (Southwest, Singapore) because they don't have sufficient natural water sources that are capable of meeting the water demand of their population. This brings up the question, "How can we ensure safe, drinkable water for the future?"
That is what we, Team Toilet-to-Tap, are exploring for our Senior Design Project. Living near the Great Lakes, this is not an issue we think about very often, but it is still an important one. We believe that a probable way of supplying water is combining wastewater processes with those of water treatment plants. Dubbed water reuse plants, they would take water directly from the toilet, thouroughly clean it, and output crystal-clear, drinkable water.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term "Senior Design Project," it is a part of the every-day lingo at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). As part of the engineering curriculum at Calvin, all seniors are required to take part in a year-long course entitled "Senior Design." The seniors then break into teams, usually by their engineering concentration, and select a project to work on throughout the year. The project is meant to be very challenging and is intended to help the students experience what life will be like working at an engineering company a year after graduation. This website isa small part of our team's design project. Thank you for visiting, and if you are interested in our project or have any questions, please contact one or all of us. Our e-mails and short bios can be found on the About Us page.