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Mabton considers going green

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Mark Buehrer (R), director of 2020 Engineering, Inc., speaks with the Mabton City Council last night about wholistic engineering and how the city can go green with its wastewater facility.<

MABTON - Imagine if all the wastewater could be reused for the same purpose. For example, water flushed from the toilets to move waste through the system could be cleaned and then rerouted for use again. Any extra water could be used for irrigation.

This is just one of the possibilities that was presented to the Mabton City Council by Mark Buehrer, director of 2020 Engineering, Inc.

Buehrer was invited to last night's city council meeting in Mabton by Councilman Mario Martinez. Martinez is looking for a way to put Mabton on the map and feels if the city goes green, that might do the trick.

The city of Mabton is in the process of renovating its wastewater treatment facility.

Beuhrer told the council that when it comes to water there is no such thing as waste. He even went as far as to say the term wastewater should be eliminated.

"If you have that mindset you start looking at opportunities," he said.

Beuhrer went over many ideas with the Mabton council but started with wholistic engineering. This, he explained, is a management approach which includes the comprehensive inclusion of all issues and possible condition related to the primary task.

"It's all about relationships," he said.

Wholistic engineering approaches problems with three-point design criteria. It looks at the economical factors, environmental factors and the easiest way to solve the problem.

He said through wholistic engineering a living building can be created. This building would use a water system that has separate piping systems for each type of water quality. Separated water sources are handled individually for each specific use or re-use.

Buehrer said when building integrated water systems questions are addressed, like what can the water be used for after its first use and what can the water be used for after its second use? Does the water contain nutrients?

The idea behind wholistic engineering, Buehrer said, is to conserve as much water as possible. By conserving water, it can be used repeatedly.

For instance, he said 80 percent of the water used in buildings is flushed. Using the Mabton School District as an example, he said that's a lot of water.

But under a system designed with wholistic engineering, the flushed water would be caught and the contents separated. The nutrients from the flushed water could be used to fertilize fields or even the lawns at the schools. When the contents are separated the fresh water could be recycled to flush the toilets again.

Martinez was onboard, saying since the renovation of the city's wastewater plant is in the planning phase, this is the time to start looking at options such as 2020 Engineering, Inc. presented.

"This is our opportunity to do something right and in the right way," he told the council.

Mabton Mayor Angel Reyna agreed, adding that going green might even make more funding available.

The mayor will direct the city's current engineering firm, Gray & Osborne, Inc., to get together with 2020 Engineering to see what kind of options are available to the city.

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