After several months of research and continued efforts from TDEC and the college of Biosystems engineering we finally collected our first set of water supply samples! We have been working to create a custom list of contaminants to test for based on our source, rainwater, and our goal of providing results to TDEC that may lead to revised regulations concerning the potability of rainwater in Tennessee. On December 6 we met with Tony Wilkerson from the Norris Water Commission, and he guided us on the proper methods for collecting the samples. We were instructed to wear gloves when collecting the samples that will be used to test for bacteria. Furthermore, Tony showed us how to remove the fixtures from the faucets we were collecting water from. Bacteria and other contaminants may collect inside fixtures like faucet aerators and the vacuum breakers found on hose bibs. These fixtures must be removed and the water must be allowed to run for several minutes before the sample can be taken.
We are testing water from 4 locations. The first location is untreated rainwater from the roof. Fortunately our first day of collecting coincided with a rain event, and we were able to collect roof water as it streamed out of the downspout.
The second location is the untreated rainwater that is stored in the cistern. We installed a valve to sample the water from this location.
The third location we sampled is the treated rainwater from the hose bib. Finally, we sampled the municipal water supply from the bathroom sink.
The samples were taken to the UT lab for this first round of monthly testing. However, we will also have analysis performed by a state certified drinking water lab on a seasonal basis. By the end of 2012 we will have a detailed report to submit to TDEC on our pre- and post-treatment rainwater quality findings. Hopefully this could lead to a new, sustainable water source for Tennesseans.
For more information visit our website at http://www.thenewnorrishouse.com/
The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.