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Net Zero Water Projects at Fort Riley, Kansas

Located in Kansas, Fort Riley was selected for the Net Zero Water pilot project. Through participation in this project, Ft. Riley aims to reduce water demands and improve operational capabilities to enhance mission effectiveness. Addressing water security and sustainability is operationally necessary, financially prudent, and essential to mission accomplishment. The following are three projects to improve sustainable water use practices:

  1. Water Reuse - Today, we use drinking water for all of our household water needs; taking showers, washing our cars, watering our lawns, and even flushing our toilets.  Traditional water treatment is very expensive and uses a lot of energy.  Additionally, towns and municipalities typically use a single water treatment facility. At Ft. Riley, EPA scientists and engineers are installing and testing different “sewer mining” systems for treating and storing water. By tapping into a wastewater collection system, sewer mining siphons some of the sewage to a treatment facility and reuses the reclaimed water for irrigation and other uses not suitable for drinking.  Through other tests and comparisons, in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the EPA will be able to share the data with Ft. Riley, DoD facilities, and the general public. This findings from this project will be useful to those who are selecting alternative approaches for reducing water consumption and energy use.
  2. Containment and Control of Contaminated Wastewater - When military vehicles return from training exercises, soldiers use high-pressure water cannons to clean them. Even if the vehicle were to become contaminated with a chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) warfare agent, water could be treated and reused at this facility. This project will test ways we can decontaminate CBR agents in real world “dirty” water. “Dirty” water could contain grease, oil, metals, dirt or mud, for example. The more stuff in the water to make it “dirty,” will give us a real world look at what can affect decontamination of CBR agents.  The process used to decontaminate this water also has the potential to clean large, contaminated water bodies, making it useful to cities, states, and the Department of Defense.
  3. Outreach and Water Conservation - This project promotes water conservation and the use of innovative water saving technologies. EPA researchers will provide educational information about water conservation and help soldiers and families living on Ft Riley identify sources of residential water waste. Approximately 75-100 households will have their water consumption measured to establish a residential water use profile for the whole community.  In addition to reducing water demand, this project will help the Army better understand soldier’s attitudes towards water conservation in different work, home and deployment contexts. Through this project, Fort Riley has become the first Army installation to become an EPA WaterSense partner. 

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