In the Fall of 2017, I completed building my home studio to facilitate my life-long career as a ceramic artist. I now operate out of a humble (but proud) 10ft x 16ft space complete with electricity and heat. What it lacked was access to a water supply and a wastewater disposal system. With renewable and environmentally friendly practices in mind, Michael Tepe and I have designed a rain water plumbing system and a waste collection procedure that we have finished installing in my studio.
Water is a key component for not only production within the ceramic arts, but also to ensure cleanliness. Safety precautions that protect against the accumulation of dust in the air and on surfaces are important. Access to a running water source helps to keep tools, equipment, my body, and the facility clean from repetitive dust buildup and exposure.
This system that we designed uses a renewable resource. After the initial investment, it will only require monthly physical maintenance to keep the filters free from debris, monitoring of the waste disposal levels, and ensuring the pipes do not freeze during the winter. This environmentally friendly method saves on the high cost of plumbing a water line and also on a reoccurring water utility bill.
This project would not be possible without the CERF+ Get Ready Grant. It was really amazing to have the chance to get this studio need met and to safeguard my business in a sustainable way. As artists, it's important to make sure we invest time and research into making sure our business practices are safe. After completing this project, I realized how fun and simple it was to do just that. For more information about the Get Ready Grant, visit CERF+ The Artists Safety Net at: https://cerfplus.org/
Four barrels are used to collect rain water. The first barrel acts as a trap to collect organic debris and can be emptied to use for nutrient rich garden water.
A pump is used to create water pressure through the plumbing lines. Various pipe joints and parts are needed to join the system.
We had to custom make rubber gaskets to ensure a tight water seal between the barrels and plumbing parts.
A bit was used to cut the correct diameter to fit the pipes. The custom rubber gaskets create a seal to prevent water leakage.
Michael Tepe helping to make sure everything is done safely and correctly! The bottom of this barrel is being cut out so it can be drained and cleaned when needed. This is the first trap barrel in the system.
Final plumbing finished on the first barrel.
A detail shot of how the rubber gasket is creating a seal. No leaks happened when the water was added!
This is the last barrel in the system. It has a float switch installed internally for when the water level is low. The switch will trigger the pump off to make sure the pump motor doesn't burn out.
The barrels are ready for install below my studio! The studio sits on the side of a hill, making it perfect for these barrels to stow away out of sight under.
Both pluming and electricity had to be added through the walls of the studio. Electricity is used to run the water pump. This is the location of the sink with a red shutoff valve.
The sink and custom made sink trap are ready for install!
A sink trap is important for a clay studio to prevent heavy and toxic materials from getting into the surrounding environment. We custom made this using a recycled industrial shampoo container with removable lid. This is a reasonable first line of defense when keeping environmental sustainability in mind.
All four barrels are leveled and installed on cinder blocks. The large vertical pipe is a primary trap system that the rain water runoff first collects into before filling into barrels. This can be drained from the bottom when it fills with debris.
The water pump is installed and powered by an outlet placed close for convenience. Water runs in from the pipe on the bottom, is pressurized, and flows out the top to the sink above.
Don't look down! From the ground to the top of the gutter is about 16 feet. The downspout is installed with a valve to divert the water when needed.
The valve unscrews and pops out to divert the water straight into the drain. This may be necessary when the barrels are full or are going through maintenance. It also will be used when draining the system for winter storage.
The studio roof is a lean-to style with a steel ribbed roofing panel. The water runs off to one side where this gutter collects it.
Detail shot of the gutter installation.
The down spout is securely attached to the side of the studio using the hardware that came with the purchase.
The final destination. All the drains converge here into a 4" corrugated pipe that is buried off the side of the hill into the ravine to prevent erosion around the studio.
A fine mesh guard was added to the gutter to prevent any heavy organic material, such as leaves and bugs, from getting into and clogging the pipe system.
In order to install the gutter system and gutter guard, we had to build a temporary scaffold system to be able to reach the top with a ladder. The studio sits on a hill overlooking a beautiful ravine!
Here is the sink, with faucet, trap, and drain all complete!
When the water pressure gets low, the pump motor gently kicks on outside to build more pressure back into the lines for a steady water stream.
The water exits through the drain line and out a corrugated pipe buried off the side of the hill. The sink trap can be easily disconnected and removed for cleaning and proper disposal of particulates.