Lo­cal man shows how to stretch what na­ture sup­plies

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

On quiet af­ter­noons, Dr. David Si­mons, a renowned sci­en­tific pi­o­neer in the field of my­ofas­cial trig­ger points, en­joys sit­ting on his sun porch and gaz­ing out onto the mag­no­lia trees grow­ing in the back­yard of his Floyd Street home.

When the drought last sum­mer with­ered his plants and sick­ened his trees, Si­mons was greatly dis­tressed. Know­ing that the wa­ter re­stric­tions in place would not al­low him to wa­ter his trees for more than a cou­ple of hours a week, he set about de­vis­ing a sys­tem to get wa­ter to his plants an­other way.

Af­ter months of re­search, un­ex­pected chal­lenges and loads of hard work, Si­mons and a cob­bled to­gether team of plumbers, con­struc­tion con­trac­tors and handy women de­vised a wa­ter recla­ma­tion sys­tem that cap­tures rain­wa­ter from

the roof of his house and fun­nels it into a sys­tem of hoses that even­tu­ally leads to a se­ries of sprin­klers that wa­ter his flower beds.

“ It kind of grew like Topsy,” Si­mons said. “ I had the ba­sic idea. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t have much idea on how to do it.”

What orig­i­nally be­gan as a se­ries of large plas­tic trash cans hooked to­gether by a se­ries of tubes has grown into a sprawl­ing net­work of hoses, sump pumps, man­i­folds and a large 2,500 gal­lon tank of wa­ter, which stood 2,000 gal­lons full Tues­day morn­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Sharon Barker, Dr. Si­mons’ as­sis­tant, nearly ev­ery piece of equip­ment used in the sys­tem was pur­chased from Home De­pot with the ex­cep­tion of the 2,500 gal­lon tank, which was pur­chased on­line.

Barker es­ti­mated that Si­mons spent close to $ 6,000 on equip­ment plus ap­prox­i­mately $ 2,000 on la­bor.

Much like a cac­tus, Si­mons’ sys­tem stores wa­ter dur­ing times of plen­ti­ful rain­fall only to see it dis­bursed dur­ing times of drought.

Si­mons said he was moved to ac­tion af­ter read­ing Al Gore’s “An In­con­ve­nient Truth,” last year which he said brought him to the re­al­iza­tion that the North Ge­or­gian drought was part of a larger pat­tern of cli­mate change.

In an era of cli­mate change, Si­mons pre­dicts the South­east re­gion of the United States can ex­pect a greater fre­quency of droughts and a gen­eral de­cline in rain­fall.

“All of this hap­pened be­cause I re­al­ized we had reached the tip­ping point [ of global warm­ing],” Si­mons said.

Rain­wa­ter from 11 down­spouts on the house roof is col­lected in trash cans set up be­neath them.

At some cor­ners around the house where down­spouts were not avail­able, chains were put in place to guide the wa­ter in its trickle down to the rain bar­rel be­low.

A sump pump, in­stalled at the bot­tom of each can, pumps out the wa­ter once the wa­ter level rises to the top.

“As long as you keep [ the sump pump] plugged in, it’ll kick on,” said Jared Rut­berg, a con­struc­tion con­trac­tor who worked with Si­mons on his wa­ter sys­tem.

Wa­ter pres­sure then pushes the wa­ter through a se­ries of hoses set up on the out­skirts of the house and some­times buried un­der­ground, to two col­lec­tion man­i­folds.

“ The sys­tem can op­er­ate out of grav­ity be­cause the sys­tem wants to go to equi­lib­rium,” Rut­berg said.

From th­ese man­i­folds, the wa­ter is then di­rected into hoses that go un­der­ground by way of a drainage pipe Si­mons al­ready had in his back­yard and into a 2,500 gal­lon tank.

From the tank a third man­i­fold re­dis­tributes the wa­ter into an­other net­work of hoses, which link to a se­ries of sprin­kler sys­tems set up around the back­yard.

A clicker then op­er­ates the sprin­klers, which wa­ter Si­mons’ beloved mag­no­lia trees, aza­leas and peren­ni­als.

“ You can put out a lot of wa­ter with it but you can’t run 12 sprin­klers with it,” said Rut­berg of the recla­ma­tion sys­tem’s ca­pac­ity.

Rut­berg said the sys­tem de­vised by Si­mons, him­self, mas­ter plum­ber Jerry Bales and Si­mons’ house­keeper, An­gela Hol­comb, is in­fin­itely adapt­able and can be recre­ated at al­most any home.

“ There’s a mil­lion ways that you can run this for your house,” said Rut­berg, adding that the square footage of the roof and the num­ber of down­spouts would de­ter­mine how much wa­ter could be col­lected.

While Dr. Si­mons’ wa­ter recla­ma­tion sys­tem is only used for the wa­ter­ing of his lawn and gar­dens, there are pos­si­bil­i­ties for the in­ter­nal house­hold use of cap­tured wa­ter, or grey wa­ter, such as us­ing it to fill toi­let tanks.

“ There are so many ways that peo­ples can use their down­spouts,” Rut­berg said. “ What he’s got here is a great way to pre­serve his flower beds with­out wor­ry­ing about wa­ter re­stric­tions.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Snaking sys­tem: One of the many man­i­folds lo­cated at the Cov­ing­ton home of Dr. David Si­mons which claims rain wa­ter and routes the wa­ter to the proper lo­ca­tion.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Pump sta­tion: An­gela Hol­comb moves a sump pump from one reser­voir to an­other to pump col­lected rain wa­ter to a hold­ing tank lo­cated on the prop­erty of her em­ployer Dr. David Si­mons.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Rain re­serves: A sprin­kler wa­ters the lawn of Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent Dr. David Si­mons with rain wa­ter that he col­lects and stores in a tank on his prop­erty, back­ground.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.