Clean Water in Only 20 Minutes? Holy Cal! (Environmental Team prepares for Mid-Pac)


When disaster strikes, ensuring quick and reliable access to clean water is a must.

And the rules of the Mid-Pacific Regional Competition's (Mid-Pac)) Environmental Team Competition reflect this. For full points, teams are now allotted only 20 minutes to build their systems and treat 9  gallons of wastewater for use after a tropical storm.

CEE's 2018 Environmental Team, Holy Cal, was unwilling to compromise water quality for the sake of speed. So team members spent the past several months testing different chemical treatments and filter designs in order to rapidly and sustainably produce high quality water. 


L-R: Jocelyn Tsai, Natalie Fedorova, Sam Good, and Meera Kota discuss the most efficient way to puncture drainage holes.


Last semester, Holy Cal determined a highly effective chemical treatment for coagulation and flocculation of particles. However, the combination of potting soil and bentonite clay in the wastewater caused several filter designs to clog.

Though effluent quality was high, filtration took upwards of an hour—unacceptable within the time constraints of the competition!


Holy Cal watches as their first filter design clogs.


Another update to the 2018 Mid-Pac competition rules was the increase in cost of operators. To minimize labor costs, Holy Cal designed their system to be built by one operator. 

Tryouts were held to determine which members were capable of transporting all 9 gallons of water to be treated. 


Holy Cal! These two are strong! Elizabeth Rodriguez and Carl Bello are the only team members who can comfortably lift our 9 gallons of effluent.


Fortunately, with only 2 weeks left before final design reports had to be submitted, Holy Cal determined a filter design that could run effectively in only 10 minutes!



Holy Cal anxiously waits to see how long it takes their final filter design to run.



Holy Cal! It works! Elizabeth Rodriguez shows off samples of rapidly purified water.


Between now and April 21, Holy Cal will refine their construction process to maximize efficiency, and prepare for their oral presentation.

The team is excited and looking forward to representing Cal at Mid-Pac.

Go Holy Cal!

Go Bears!

Published 03/26/2018