P.S. 31 Water Conservation Heroes

 Authors: Israel Stahl and Kacper Modzelewski

(5th graders in Ms. Tapper’s class)

Sustainability Coach: Alison Schuettinger

The P.S. 31 Green STEM Afterschool club spent the past several weeks learning about water: it’s significance as a natural resource, how we use it, and how we can conserve it in our homes and schools.

While implementing the Eco-Schools Water Pathway, our team of 4th and 5th graders completed a Water Audit and Action Plan. Students inspected every water source in the school to check for leaks and measure the flow rate.

The following is an impressive summary of their findings including updates and fixes following the audit.  They presented their summary to the Custodian Engineer, Giovanni, along with a copy of the school’s floor plan that mapped out all the water issues in the building. The Green STEM Afterschool Club students love sharing and working with the Custodian!

“We are the students of the Green STEM Afterschool program, and we have completed a water audit of P.S. 31 from the cafeteria to the fourth floor. During our audit, we visited 32 classrooms/offices/rooms with 14 faucets, 13 bathrooms with 17 faucets, and 8 water fountains. This is what we found: our biggest problems are 3 big leaks. One of the kitchen faucets leaks hot water 24/7 at 10 fl. oz. per 10 seconds, that’s 86,400 fl. oz. of water wasted per day!”

After students conducted the water audit, this leak was repaired the following day by the P.S. 31 Custodian Engineer and Cleaners, as they too were aware of the problem and were preparing to fix it. The kitchen faucet has been replaced and is no longer leaking. The first floor water fountain that was also leaking was also fixed the following day after our audit. Students were very excited to see the change and it was nice that their action plan coincided with the custodians’ maintenance plan!

“There are also small leaks in water faucets in the bathrooms. We found faucets that were unable to be turned off, high flow faucets that wasted water, loose faucets, and a large variety of faucets in use throughout the building.

Our action plan is multi-step. First, we recommend installing aerators where possible. Second, we recommend fixing all leaks and tightening faucets immediately. Finally, ideally, we believe it would beneficial to install the same consistent low flow water faucets throughout the school that would conserve water. During our audit, we noticed that there are at least 4 different kinds of faucets in the building.

We have set a deadline of Earth Day to implement our action plan. After this date, we will conduct another follow-up audit. We will even attempt to review our school’s water bills, to see if the costs go down. The next audit will tell us if our action plan worked.

These are the finding from our water audit conducted in January 2017. Thank you for considering our findings and recommendations

Thank you,

The Eco-Schools Green STEM Afterschool Club”.

 

Update, March 2017: We have since shared our results with the Custodian Engineer of P.S. 31, Giovanni.  The leaks have been fixed and are no longer actively leaking. He was very supportive and receptive to student’s observations and recommendations. Students feel empowered to continue monitoring the water fountains and faucets and are thrilled that their observations and recommendations are making a real difference for the school and the environment. Stay tuned for our next blog entry on our continued partnership with the Custodian Engineer in designing a functional rain water catchment system in the schoolyard!

We love to see this inspiration and action among the students and hope that you too take a look at water conservation at home and throughout the day! It is a wonderful thing that these students are motivated to continue their observations, and we hope that they bring this critical eye to all areas of their eco-life!

By Romey Louangvilay