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Investigation of Domestic Water Consumption in the Sports and Health Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Ken Gilbertston , PhD EnEd 5325 Environmental Issues Investigation. Jie Li, B.S. Jessica Schiff, B.A. Sarah Brengman. Overview. Introduction Problem ID and Definition

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Investigation of Domestic Water Consumption in the Sports and Health Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth

Ken Gilbertston, PhD

EnEd 5325 Environmental Issues Investigation

Jie Li, B.S.

Jessica Schiff, B.A.

Sarah Brengman

  • Introduction
  • Problem ID and Definition
  • Impact Evaluation Criteria
  • Global Data
  • Local Data
  • Impacts
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion
  • Sports and Health Center (SpHC) built in 1953
    • 46,000 ft²
    • 6:30 a.m.-midnight(until 10 p.m. in summer months)
    • Six-lane swimming pool
    • Therapy pools
    • Multiple locker rooms
    • Full-sized ice rink
    • Various restroom facilities and drinking fountains
    • Draws water from City of Duluth water supply
problem id and definition
Problem ID and Definition

Potential overuse of domestic water consumption in SpHC. Can this amount be reduced? If so, how and how much? If not, why not?

Domestic water: Treated water that comes in contact with humans to support everyday life

Water consumption: Any and all domestic water used in SpHC (may or may not be returned to the Earth’s water cycle)

To waste water: To use, consume, spend, or expend water thoughtlessly, carelessly, or purposefully (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009)

background to problem
Background to Problem
  • 2025: The anticipated year for world-wide water shortages (
  • Lake Superior = 20% of world’s fresh surface water

Figure 1: Distribution of Earth's Water (USGS, 2009).

impact evaluation criteria
Impact Evaluation Criteria

“Water efficiency is the long-term ethic of saving water resources through the employment of water-saving technologies and activities” (EPA)

Determine baseline water requirements needed for SpHC to function

Determine if more than this baseline amount of water is being used

global data
Global Data
  • Glocal: Thinking globally and acting locally
  • Worldwide water uses: Agricultural, Industrial, Domestic

Figure 4: Average per capita domestic consumption from different nations (WBCSD, 2009).

global impacts
Global Impacts
  • Case Study: Aral Sea
    • Environmental Impacts
    • Economic Impacts
    • Social Impacts
the aral sea
The Aral Sea

An example of a shrinking lake:

  • Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
  • 26,254 mi2
  • Now 10% of original size
    • 2,625 mi2
  • Impacts:
    • Economic-fishing industry, shift in job market
    • Social-shift in job market, sources/uses of water
    • Environmental-salinity changes, loss of natural body of water
local data and research
Local Data and Research

Areas researched:


  • City of Duluth water system
  • UMD and SpHC water system
  • Main water consuming areas in SpHC
  • Water fixtures and facilities
  • Costs associated with water consumption
  • Interviews
  • Tours
  • Photography
  • Internet Research
minnesota water use
Minnesota Water Use
  • Minnesota per capita water usage: 68 gallons
  • National per capita water usage: 98 gallons

Figure 8: Minnesota Water Use by Category, 2005 (Fairbairn, 2010) NOTE: The light pink portion represents Thermoelectricity.

domestic water schematic
Domestic Water Schematic
  • Two water sources
    • 8” and 10” (two pipes coming from same supply)
      • Not metered individually for SpHC
    • Back-up not metered by City of Duluth
  • One waste water pipe: 15”
water consumption in sphc
Water Consumption in SpHC
  • Awareness of possible areas in SpHC that are or could be major water users (locker rooms, rest rooms, pool, ice rink, etc.)
  • Water meter data for SpHC (hot, cold, steam)
  • Water flow for each water fixture (shower heads, faucets, toilets)
  • Are there ways to improve their efficiency?
water consumption in sphc1
Water Consumption in SpHC

Table 1: Water Usage in SpHC. (Sawyer, 2010), (Russel- Ausley, 2002) & (Stevens, 2010).

ice rink and cooling tower
Ice Rink and Cooling Tower

Figure 10: SpHC Cooling Tower Water Use by Month (Sawyer, 2010).

Figure 11: SpHC Cooling Tower Annual Water Use (Sawyer, 2010).

  • 136,000 gallons of water (3 Room 9’s)
  • Drained and refilled usually twice/year
    • hot and cold water
  • Water is filtered and returned to the pool
    • Some domestic water is added in the process
  • Surge Tank
    • Catches water overflow and drained water for recirculation
  • Filter Tank
    • Filters water from surge tank before it is pumped back into the pool
pool ventilation
Pool Ventilation
  • New Pool Pack Unit installed March 2010
    • Pulls air out of the natatorium
    • Dehumidifies and adds 10% fresh air
    • Goal: Regulate temperature and humidity to control evaporation

W = (69+0.35 v)(pw-pa)/Y

W = evaporation rate, lb/h·ft2 (pounds per hour per square foot)

v = air velocity at water surface, ft/min

pw = saturation vapor pressure at water temp, in Hg (inches of Mercury)

pa = saturation vapor pressure at air dew point, in Hg, also partial pressure of water in pool atmosphere

Y = latent heat at pool temperature, Btu/lb (British thermal unit per pound)

Figure 12: Rates of Evaporation from Swimming Pools in Active Use

  • Environmental
    • Effect caused by human activity or natural phenomenon on an environment that is related to or dependent upon water.
  • Economic
    • Any increase or decrease in the productive potential of the economy.
  • Social
    • The consequences to human population of any public or private actions related to water that alter the ways in which people live, work, play, relate to one another, organize to meet their needs and generally cope as members of society.
environmental impacts
Environmental Impacts
  • Wildlife and plant species
  • Decrease in water quality
    • Increase in temperature
    • Change in Oxygen levels
    • Increase in concentration of pollutants
    • Disturbance of contaminated sediments
economic impacts
Economic Impacts
  • Financial expenditures vs. savings
    • Water costs start at $2.56/100ft³ up to 4,000ft³
  • UMD utility bill: Water = 6% of total cost
    • $288,000-$390,000 annually
  • Community/Global Domino Effect:
    • Shipping Industry
    • 1” water level drop = 250 tons of coal left on dock when a thousand-footer weighs anchor

Figure 14: 2009 UMD Utility Bill Percentages (Sawyer, 2010)

social impacts
Social Impacts
  • U.S. is using water more efficiently, but population growth is negating those gains in efficiency
  • Abundance of fresh lake water in Duluth
    • Leads to less awareness of responsible water consumption
  • UMD’s reputation as an environmentally conscious campus
  • Environmental
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Other

NOTE: The research team does not propose that areas of SpHC stop using water. Instead, the research team aims to make recommendations for responsibly using water while ensuring these areas continue to serve their purposes.

environmental recommendations
Environmental Recommendations
  • Use as little as possible
  • Return water that can be reused
  • Maintain water quality
    • Use fewer chemicals
    • Use environmentally-friendly chemicals
economic recommendations
Economic Recommendations
  • Install water on domestic cold water pipe
    • 6” pipe with an average cost of ~$5,000
    • Would complement current meter on domestic hot water
  • Install low-flow water fixtures in any remaining areas of SpHC
social recommendations
Social Recommendations
  • Raise awareness of responsible water consumption
  • “Just One Minute” campaign
other recommendations
Other Recommendations
  • Pool
    • Install a 3” water meter to measure domestic water use in only the pool area
    • Enlarge the surge tank
      • Would decrease amount of new domestic water added
  • Ice rink
    • Improve water quality used for surfacing the ice rink
      • Leads to a better sheet of ice and less required resurfacing

future research
Future Research
  • Water Boilers
    • Assess energy efficiency
    • Potential correlation to water consumption
  • Water Fixtures
    • Collect number of each type of fixture to assess and compare overall efficiency
  • Water-consuming areas of SpHC need to continue functioning
    • Revenue
  • Unknown total domestic water consumption
    • Some calculations made
    • Meters are needed
  • Water use can be reduced in certain areas
    • Surge tank for pool
    • Locker rooms -- low flow fixtures
  • Raise awareness