Creative re-use: the Dominican University cistern

For 90 years, a 60,000 gallon cistern at River Forest, Illinois’ Dominican University has done its job of collecting rainwater from 1920s-era buildings. That’s great… the problem is that everyone kind of forgot about it. Dan Bulow, the school’s director of building and grounds, told Trib Local’s Patrick Rollens “We knew [the cistern] was there, we knew it collected rainwater off all these buildings here, but it had been dormant for years.” In fact, water it collected was even pumped into the sewage system at times to prevent flooding of old buildings.

With a new century, and a new vision for a more sustainable campus, the old cistern’s been called back to duty. As a part of a broader set-up to use groundwater (vs. drinking water) for landscape irrigation, the cistern will provide back-up to a newly-installed well. According to the university, the new system will save around 4-6 million gallons of water a year.

Campus greening often involves new construction and installation… you don’t hear many stories of this kind of reclamation. Know of other instances of old infrastructure being revived as part of a sustainability plan? Share them…

via Trib Local

Image credit: Dominican University