First flush system

Our project consisted of analyzing and restoring the existing rainwater catchment system located at La Yuca's school. After repairs were completed, our group expanded the existing system and developed an easily accessible rainwater catchment system that captures, filters, and distributes water that can be used by the local community. It is our goal that available rainwater can be captured efficiently and filtered sufficiently to be used for faucet and toilet purposes, thus providing the community with a cost effective solution to their water shortage.

Roof for catchment

Background[edit | edit source]

This appropriate technology project is located in Dominican Republic in the La Yuca neighborhood of Santo Domingo. The student team includes 3 students from Humboldt State University and 4 students from UNIBE and the project is taking place in the month of June, 2014. Concurrent to the project, the Humboldt State students are taking classes at UNIBE in Santo Domingo. The classes are focused on appropriate technology and engineering and are paired with one Spanish class. The system in La Yuca is a rainwater catchment system which has been developed by previous groups over the last three years. The system has not been successful in consistently capturing rainwater and fully utilizing the storage tank attached to the system. The system is attached to the local school and it is a priority of the school to have running water and ideally potable drinking water.

Objective[edit | edit source]

Our objective for the water project for the 2014 Practivistas Dominicana Program in La Yuca is to replace the flat piping system, used to catch rainwater runoff from the roof, with a gutter that will obtain more water. The extra water will be fed into an additional storage tank.

Criteria[edit | edit source]

Below is a table of the criteria used to evaluate project components and make decisions.

Criteria: Constraints Weight
Aesthetics Must satisfy aesthetic desires of community. 5
Cost Must be within budget constraints of our project. 8
Locality Must use materials found within the community of La Yuca. 3
Durability The structure must last at least 3 years. 8
Replicability Ability to be remade by another or same community. 8
Safety Sound structure and mosquito proof. 9
Potable Drinkable water, this includes removal of sedimentation, pathogens, and viruses. 10

Literature Review[edit | edit source]

Here is the link for the information we collected to help us understand and review information that will allow us to build the appropriate rainwater catchment system in La Yuca for the 2014 practivistas dominicana program.

Location[edit | edit source]

An Interactive Map for La Yuca. The small cluster of buildings is the rural community where the rainwater catchment is located.

Loading map...

Construction[edit | edit source]

Cost[edit | edit source]

The table below is a summary of the materials and their associated costs which were used for this upgrade of the La Yuca rainwater catchment system. It should be noted that these costs do not represent the entire costs of the rainwater system, for we only upgraded that catchment part of the system and did not build the distribution system throughout the school house. The previous appropedia pages can be referenced for more cost information.

Material Quantity Unit Cost (DOP) Total Cost (DOP)
PVC Gutter [9 ft.] 3 1600 4800
Carbon FIlters 2 250 500
Nylon Filters 2 160 320
Botellon [5 gal.] 1 195 195
Botellon PVC adapter [2] 1 31.12 31.12
Bag of screws [25 mm.] 1 42.00 42.00
Bag of screws [40mm.] 1 47.00 47.00
Outdoor L-brackets 6 75 450
Gutter [9 ft] 3 1,963 5,890
Plastic mesh for botellon [6 Yrd.] 1 48.12 48.12
Metal mesh for gutter [1 Yrd.] 1 289.17 289.17
Gutter connector 2 168.00 336.20
Tinaco [530 gal] 1 6,700 6,700
90 degree turn for gutter 1 520.10 520.10
Total Cost 20,168.71

Buy Back[edit | edit source]

This graph illustrates the time it would take for this system to pay itself back in the form of drinkable water. This system will pay itself off in less than a year assuming that the system will catch and use 60% of all rainfall for each given month. Assumed at 30,000 DOP because the system in la yuca was not complete, but rather added to; therefore a complete system would cost roughly 30,000 DOP. The system adds 850 DOP every year to take filter replacement costs into account.


Timeline[edit | edit source]

To ensure productivity, efficiency, and the ability to recreate this project it is essential to propose a course of action. This is done by proposing dates that certain tasks should be completed by; the dates these tasks were actually completed should also be recorded.

Task: Date Proposed Date Done
Analyze existing rainwater catchment system in an attempt to locate issues Wednesday June 11, 2014 Wednesday June 11, 2014
Disassemble existing rainwater catchment system Thursday June 12, 2014 Thursday June 12, 2014
Thoroughly clean and disinfect piping that will be used on future rainwater catchment system Thursday June 12, 2014 Thursday June 12, 2014
Remove non-functioning gutter/piping system Thursday June 12, 2014 Thursday June 12, 2014
Clean and store non-functioning gutter Thursday June 12, 2014 Thursday June 12, 2014
Create design to correct existing problems on system Friday June 13, 2014 Friday June 13, 2014
Get an advance on our budget in order to have the ability to purchase materials Friday June 13, 2014 Friday June 13, 2014
Take necessary measurements in order to perform calculations to prove that design would work Saturday June 14, 2014 Saturday June 14, 2014
Visit various ferreterias in order to purchase and transport necessary materials Saturday June 14, 2014 Saturday June 14, 2014
Find and rent needed tools, including a power drill that can be used to drill into cement columns Sunday June 15, 2014 Monday June 16, 2014
Obtain power tools to drill holes into first flush system, this will allow water to flow out slowly subsequently eliminating mosquito breeding in first flush system Monday June 16, 2014 Monday June 16, 2014
Purchase metal needed to secure gutter system to L-brackets Monday June 16, 2014 Monday June 16, 2014
Design, create, and install "parrales" to secure gutter system to L-brackets Monday June 16, 2014 Monday June 16, 2014
Install new gutter/piping system Tuesday June 17, 2014 Tuesday June 17, 2014
Reconstruct intake system (5 gallon botellon) Tuesday June 17, 2014 Tuesday June 17, 2014
Reconnect intake system to first flush system Wednesday June 18, 2014 Wednesday June 18, 2014
Connect gutter to intake Wednesday June 18, 2014 Wednesday June 18, 2014
Run tests to test design, system, and its efficiency Wednesday June 18, 2014 Wednesday June 18, 2014
Purchase metal and plastic to construct curtain that will prevent rainwater from spilling over the gutter, eliminating water loss and increasing efficiency Thursday June 19, 2014 Thursday June 19, 2014
Purchase additional water storage tank (tinaco) in order to provide more than 5 days of water storage Thursday June 19, 2014 Monday June 23, 2014
Install additional tank to existing system Friday June 20, 2014 Tuesday June 24, 2014
Reconnect entire rainwater catchment systems Friday June 20, 2014 Tuesday June 24, 2014
Flush out entire system with water in order to clean and eliminate any sediments that have been accumulated throughout building process Saturday June 21, 2014 Tuesday June 24, 2014
Clean and organize location which houses rainwater catchment system Saturday June 21, 2014 Tuesday June 24, 2014
Run tests to test design, system, and its efficiency Saturday June 21, 2014 Wednesday June 25, 2014

Design[edit | edit source]

The design plan for the rainwater catchment system can be referenced in the model below. The design was done in Google Sketchup and represents the exact system for which our team built off of.

Google Sketchup of system: Alberto Jasso.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

This system needs maintenance year-round to ensure that everything works properly and stays clean, especially when taking into account cleanliness of a potable system.

Weekly[edit | edit source]

  • Make sure the botellon screen is clean
  • Make sure there isn't too much debris in the gutter
  • Make sure the first flush isn't clogged and water is able to drain to avoid mosquito breeding. Our team re-poked small holes that were previously clogged in the first flush to make sure water was able to drain out of the system after rain. Make sure the holes are too big that the first flush doesn't fully fill up.

Monthly[edit | edit source]

  • Clean the first flush system
  • Check for leaks
  • Make sure the roof is clean (no debris on the roof)

Yearly/Biyearly[edit | edit source]

  • Clean the tinaco
  • Buy new filters Biyearly

How We[edit | edit source]

Steps to Ensure a Proper Catchment System:

Using string to follow for gutter setup.

Set up a line to follow when setting up your gutter. Make sure the gutter is at an angle so the water can flow. We used L-brackets to putter the gutter on.

Example of the U-brackets to hold the gutter.
Secure your gutter. We used metal U-brackets to secure the gutter to the wall. We also eventually put a water shield on the far side of the gutter to ensure no water spilled over.
The gutter being directed into the botellon.
Direct the gutter into the botellon.
The first flush system
Make sure to build a first flush system that can store the first ten minutes of catchment water, for the water will be as much as 90% cleaner after the first ten minutes.
Alberto cleaning the tinaco.
Make sure the tinaco is nice and clean. Direct the water from the botellon into the tinaco after the first flush.
Old nylon filter. It should be pure white.
Make sure you have clean filters. The water should flow first into a nylon filter.
All filters in the system.
After the nylon filter the water should flow into an activated carbon filter. We split the flow to make sure more water was getting through the filters. After the filters the water should be clean enough to be considered potable.
Gutter curtain.
If needed, add a curtain on gutter to ensure no overflow of water from the gutter catchment system. Make sure to use a thick plastic.

To replace filters refer to this table to find AQUA-TEC.

AQUA-TEC La Julia,
Santo Domingo de Guzman 10107
Republica Dominicana
Aquatec website

Videos[edit | edit source]

Inspirational Trailer!

Maintenance of first flush.

Team[edit | edit source]

The Water Team 2014. Alberto Jasso, Jake Burns Arlene Alejo.