The Whole HOG: September 2012

Water-centric Green Design News

“Water is fundamental to our economic vitality and overall quality of life, not to mention our very survival. And, at about a penny a gallon (far less than the cost a gallon of milk – or bottled water), this precious resource is also an exceptional value; especially considering how often we use it every day.”
– Randy A. Moore, President of Iowa American Water

This September, when it comes to water, we’re taking problem-solving seriously. Doctor HOG helps brainstorm solutions for Frank Katz’s two-HOG installation in New Mexico, and we get real-world perspectives on America’s water crisis from a clean energy economy advocate in California and from the president of Iowa’s largest investor-owned water utility.

We also feature an award-winning, student-designed hybrid. Read more about the water-saving Washit in our B.U.G. Design section. And speaking of student-powered solutions, registration is now open for the EPA sponsored Campus Rainworks Challenge!

September 2012: Ask Dr. HOG

Ask Dr. HOG

In the spirit of brainstorming and problem solving we will be sharing some of the queries that come to us about installed HOGs or planned HOG installations. Our first is from Frank Katz in New Mexico who has two HOGs installed on their sides, and buried at the back of a raised garden bed.

Potted plants and a garden make for a welcoming entrance to this Santa Fe, New Mexico home.

Two HOG tanks, discreetly covered, irrigate the Katz garden.

ISSUE: HELP! Heavy rain is causing my filter to block and my garden may wash away in the next big storm!

Frank installed his HOGs in summer 2012 to water his Santa Fe garden. The HOGs form the back of the raised garden, and a retaining wall at the front completes the installation. The water in the HOGs can go two ways: either via a spigot to a hose on the porch for watering potted plants, or via a drip system to the front garden. Ingeniously, Frank is using an RV pump to circulate the HOG-held water.

SOLUTION: Frank plans on installing a larger filter. And he’s right: a larger filter would mitigate the heavy storm water flow. A large vortex filter, which uses cyclonic separation rather than a physical mesh to filter roof water is ideally suited to the heavy rainfall and hail of the Southwest. (Watch a video of a vortex filter at work here.) It is also important, with only 100 gallons of water storage, that the overflow from the HOGs is plumbed using larger diameter pipe (the same diameter as the downspout is best) above the level of the HOGs and the vents, and is routed away from the raised garden.

Backed up debris filter? No water pressure? An unorthodox install that works like a dream? If you have questions or solutions to share, talk to Dr. HOG!



September 2012: The Case for Fixing America’s Water Infrastructure

The breakdown of water infrastructure in the U.S. is making headlines. Recently, we’ve come across articles with messages that resonate with reports on America’s water crisis posted in our March and April editions.

Want Jobs? Fix America’s Water Crisis

“The most urgent deficit America needs to resolve right now is our job deficit. And fixing our infrastructure — especially the systems that keep our water safe and clean — is one of the best ways we can put people to work,” writes Jeremy Hayes in his recent Huffington Post article, “Want Jobs? Fix America’s Water Crisis.”

Hayes works as the Chief Strategist for State and Local Initiatives at Green For All, a U.S.-based organization “working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.”

He makes a compelling case for the common sense logic behind fixing the U.S.’s crumbling water infrastructure as a way to boost the economy and create jobs. He goes further to argue that when cities embrace green water infrastructure they can reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants, protect groundwater, improve air quality, and even increase property value.

Water Companies Need to Increase Infrastructure Investment

Meanwhile in Iowa,  the president of the state’s largest investor-owned water utility is making a case for the continued need to maintain and improve a system of aging pipes in his op-ed,  “Water Companies Need to Increase Infrastructure Investment.”

Randy A. Moore, president of Iowa American Water, writes, “The time has come for us as a nation — community by community — to commit to adopting strategies to renew our water infrastructure.”

The approximately $10 million a year that Iowa American Water invests in their water systems helps ensure the continued stability of other infrastructure, such as transportation, roads, homes and businesses.

Echoes Down the Pipe Line

Moore echoes some of the warning from the report on America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge featured in our April 2012 edition. He emphasizes the fact that postponing investment in updating an aging water infrastructure system ultimately increases the expense of repairs.

On a brighter note, Moore also represents, in real-time, some of the solutions suggested by the Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure highlighted in the March 2012 Whole HOG.  An investor-owned water utility like Iowa American Water relies on private, market-based financing mechanisms that can better support local, customer-supported water solutions.

These local water solutions can improve efficiencies, including green infrastructure, closed-loop systems and water recycling, and, as Hayes suggests, create jobs.

September 2012: Register Now for Campus Rainworks Challenge!

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is now registering student teams for the Campus Rainworks Challenge! The design contest for college and university students raises awareness of green infrastructure alternatives for stormwater management.

Omaha North High School students install two HOG tanks as part of their 2011 school renovation.

To participate, student teams, working with a faculty adviser, must submit design plans for a proposed green infrastructure project on their campus.

Teams must register by October 5 and submit their entries by  December 14, 2012. Winning entries will be selected by the EPA and announced in April 2013.

Our offer to participating student teams: incorporate Rainwater HOG tanks into a winning entry, and we will give you three HOG tanks.

Winning teams will earn a cash prize of $1,500 – $2,500 as well as $8,000 – $11,000 in funds for their faculty adviser to conduct research on green infrastructure.

September 2012: B.U.G. (Beautiful.Useful.Green) Design


While we might not go so far as to call the Washit “my green shower pleasure” (something might have been lost in translation from the iF award panel to us…), we’re pleased to share with you this multi-tasking, water-saving new design that combines a shower with a washing machine. Washit is a closed system shower stall/washing machine concept from four Turkish university students.

The Washit re-mixes two domestic standards (the washing machine and shower stall) into one water-wise product that offers improved form and dual functionality.

Why is it beautiful? Winners of the water efficiency prize for the iF Concept Design Award 2012: Hansgrohe Special Award, the young designers were praised for “a clever solution” in a contest that favored intuitive, well-presented  designs. Notes from judge Andreas Haug highlight the Washit’s strengths, “identical components, resource-saving, aesthetic appeal, hygienic.”

Why is it useful? This is a sleek hybrid of two household standby’s that allows you to take a shower and wash your clothes simultaneously.  In the Washit, water used for showering is collected as grey water. Once filtered, the water is stored and ready to use again – for the shower or the washing machine. In case of water loss, water is supplemented from the water mains.

Why is it green? Washit offers a revolution in the wash cycle: from your body to your clothes, at home and in public. (A public use scenario Washit offers a privacy screen for a quick clean at airports, gyms, or music festivals.) Be green while you get clean with Washit.

Check out Sally’s blog for more B.U.G. Designs.