ERS285 Project Definition

Project Objective (Introduction)

This study is intended to measure the efficiency of stormwater and sanitary outflows. As unnecessary sanitary flows are harmful to the ecosystem as well as to human health and the treatment of sanitary sewage is costly, we feel it is important that only sewage is being treated...not sewage diluted with rainwater. Upon the completion of this study, we envision a campus that treats all rainwater as surface run-off, allowing natural infiltration to occur, replenishing the water table.

System Identification and Project Rationale

The system relevant to this study involves both the storm and sanitary sewer systems of the University of Waterloo main campus. Included in this systems are components such as downpipes which channel rainwater from the roofs of buildings into standpipes, which in turn, carry water to either the storm or sanitary sewers. More specifically, individual components are outlined in the next section.

Water resources are a rather large component of the overall sustainability of the campus ecosystem. Monitoring of flows of rainwater and establishing where exactly they are directed to, is vital to a "sustainable" water system. If rainwater is directed as surface run-off as our project is intended to promote the water will naturally return to the water table, thus completing it's natural hydrological cycle. However, if this water is directed to a sewage treatment facility by way of a sanitary sewer, it will be polluted and cause increased treatment costs.

Sanitary sewers usually have a smaller diameter and have a lower capacity than storm sewers. If rainwater is directed into these "sani" sewers, there is potential for sewer overflows which will effect ecosystem health in nearby water courses such as Laurel Creek.

System Study

The system will involve an examination of the following component parts:

Geographical Boundaries: The University of Waterloo main campus


Rainwater is inputed to the system, collected on rooftops and channeled through the interior and /or exterior downpipes. At this point, the rainwater is either directed to the surface as surface run-off (eventually reaching the water table), directed into a storm sewer standpipe, or directed into a sanitary sewer standpipe. (A standpipe is the physical linkage between the main sewer line and the downpipes). If directed into the storm sewer, the rainwater will enter Laurel Creek. However, if the rainwater is channeled into the sanitary sewer, it becomes an extra burden to the city's sanitary sewage treatment plant. In the event of excessive rainfall, the water entering the sanitary sewers may overflow into storm sewers, and then out to Laurel Creek (depending on the sewer architecture).

Evaluation Criteria


In our study, we will be measuring the amount of water travelling down a stand pipe to determine the possibility of overflows, and the amount of water being unecessarily polluted and subsequently treated as sanitary waste.

Secondly, precipitation data will be examined in order to calculate sewer capacity and overflow.

Contact people

Liviu Cananau ext. 2185.

This group will meet with Mr. Cananau on Tuesday, February 6th at 10:30 am.

Data Collection

Our data will be collected in the following ways: