Cal Enviro Water Treatment
Project Leads: Hallie McManus, Michelle Kim
Sponsor: Civil and Environmental Engineering Joint Fundraising Committee (CEE-JFC)
TGIF Grant: $19,010.00
Project Theme: Water Conservation and Tap Water
Project Description: Cal Environmental Team (Cal Enviro) is a Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) competition team and DeCal. We participate in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Mid-Pacific Conference (Mid-Pac), in an annual wastewater treatment competition in late April of 2021 against other collegiate teams with the aim of designing and constructing a low cost, sustainable, effective water filter. Our mission is to impart the fundamentals of wastewater treatment and sustainable engineering design, provide hands-on laboratory and construction experience, and opportunities for students to improve their public speaking and technical writing skills. We strive to offer an inclusive space for lower division and transfer students to learn technical skills that they can later implement to water and environmental issues. Our team is open to any student who is interested in water quality, regardless of their major, and we actively work within environmental communities at Berkeley to include everyone.
Goals: As a team of environmentalists, Cal Enviro prioritizes sustainability. Our projects address a lack of opportunity for students to learn about water and wastewater treatment outside of limited technical environmental engineering coursework. We understand the importance of treating water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and other types of exposure. We understand how critical it is to treat wastewater before releasing it back into the environment, to avoid mass illnesses and fish kills. Our team educates newer members on these issues and provides a space for them to learn that is incredibly low-stakes (no one could be hurt if their designs don’t work out). We also identify sustainability by focusing on retention among younger members while striving for further development of water quality engineering and leadership skills. By participating in Cal Enviro, students are able to supplement their skill set with knowledge needed to further pursue environmental engineering opportunities. On a more technical note, our team teaches the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) model to members so that while designing and constructing our water filter, we are able to quantify the environmental impact of our activities. We design our water filters to be as efficient as possible, teaching students to balance effectiveness of chemical treatment along with cost, accessibility to materials, and time. Striving for this cost effective, implementable treatment teaches students to think holistically about engineering problems.