What is That Green Stuff?: Lessons from Operating a Rain Water Collection and Treatment System

What is That Green Stuff?: Lessons from Operating a Rain Water Collection and Treatment System

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Williams College’s Class of 1966 Environmental Center is operating the first licensed rainwater collection and treatment system in the state of Massachusetts. The project team had no idea what they were getting into, and is currently making up procedures, experiments, and solutions as they go. The team struggled with unidentified green goo, higher than expected operational costs, and a UV filtration system designed for a system 100 times larger than theirs. And yet, clean water comes of the faucet and the project is on track for net-zero water performance. Amy and Charley will share their experience and hope to help future projects plan better for operational challenges.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the design of the Kellogg rainwater collection and treatment approach, as an example of such a system.
  2. Learn the specific challenges that a rainwater collection and treatment system can present under current regulatory structures.
  3. Appreciate the need for nimble problem solving and response to unanticipated issues with innovative systems.
  4. Gain suggestions for organizational structures and processes to put in place before operating an innovative net-positive water system.


Charley Stevenson

Charley Stevenson is the founding principal of Integrated Eco Strategy, a consulting firm that focuses on green building certification, building energy efficiency, technical and analytical support and sustainability policy for institutional and not-for-profit clients. He is currently working on five registered LBC projects. Before his work in the sustainability field, he was a math and science educator and administrator. He earned a Master of Science in Natural Sciences from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where his focus was on math and science education. His BA from Williams College is in philosophy, with a concentration in environmental studies.

Amy Johns

Amy Johns worked as a software engineer during the dot-com boom, then moved to the environmental non-profit sector. She started at Williams as an Environmental Analyst, served as assistant director and interim director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives and became Director in 2014. She’s particularly interested in renewable energy, green building, data analysis, and environmental psychology. She thinks a lot about how an institutional like Williams can build change in the broader world. Amy lives in Vermont with her husband, six year old son, four chickens and several thousand honey bees (give or take).

This course is approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • 1 LFA hour
  • 1 AIA LU|HSW