While the abundance and access to water may not be as high an issue in the state of Vermont as it is on the western states of the country, as well as other locations around the globe, we do not take this precious resource for granted and are dedicated to having technologies in place and creating awareness about the importance of conserving and protecting our water resources.
During the summer of 2011, dual flush handles for toilets started to get installed in a couple locations on campus. Since then, the Office of Sustainability has purchased an additional 55 of this dual flush handle retrofit kits and our amazing facilities staffer Ken Kretzer has begun to get these installed throughout campus (this number is enough to change half of the toilets in the main academic and administrative campus buildings).
All campus showerheads and sink aerators are low flow (this became the standard at the college 15 years ago!)
new Residence Halls (Cashman, Pontigney, and Canterbury) and the Hoehl Welcome Center all have low-flow toilets.
During 2009-2010, the dish room in Alliot underwent a makeover to be more conservative in its use of water (Alliot used the most amount of water out of all buildings on campus). This involved installation of a new dish machine that uses 20% less water than the old model. A new tray return system was also installed. This system uses 70% less water than the old system!
The majority of the Saint Michael's College campus is not watered (situated in New England, we receive ample watering from the skies). The college does have a "rain train," which is a large self-propelled water cannon that is used for the central green (located between the Durick Library and the Chapel). It is only used on the driest of summers to keep this area green. For the Doc Jacob fields, we use a ground water recycling system. Young trees are watered for the first year or two, but just localized to their root area. The President's house does have an irrigation system in place, but is only watered in the driest of seasons.
Storm Water Management: Reducing our Impact on the Aquatic Environment
Saint Michael's College is located within the Lake Champlain Basin watershed, a fragile ecosystem home to many aquatic life and plants. Stormwater runoff has a huge negative impact on the water quality for bodies of water. Saint Michael's College has several systems in place to reduce stormwater runoff from main campus that: reduce waterflow off campus; catch silt, sand and oils as they leave our parking lots; reduce our impact on the local rivers and Lake Champlain basin.
For more detailed information on the Stormwater Management system in place at Saint Michael's College, read Saint Michael's College Watersheds, a document prepared by biology Professor Declan McCabe and Director of Physical Plant Dave Cutler. The document is intended as a walking tour of campus, to point out the great systems in place that help reduce our impact on the local aquatic environment.