Tom Dieck cannot hide his excitement. “This is totally revolutionary, there’s nothing like it out there. I believe it will be the wave of the future.”
He’s not talking about electric cars or solar-powered computers. He’s talking about rain.
Dieck (pronounced deek) owns TRD Designs, a landscape design and construction company in Katonah. What has him so jazzed is a new rainwater recycling system called RainXchange. The product, created by the Illinois-based company Aquascape, allows designers like Dieck to create attractive water features — backyard waterfalls, streams and such — out of harvested rainwater. The water can also be used for gardening, washing the car, cleaning the deck, and other nonpotable tasks.
His company is one of just two in the Hudson Valley whose employees are trained and certified to install the system. (The other is Glencar Water Gardens and Lighting in Hopewell Junction.) Dieck says that, while rainwater harvesting has been around since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, it typically includes barrels or cisterns full of stagnant, unhealthy water. The RainXchange circulates the water through drip irrigation systems and landscaping features, which he says maintains the healthy bacteria and micronutrients that sustain your flowers and vegetables during the dry summer months. That can help cut down on the use of toxic fertilizers and reduce the need for chemically treated water sources.
“It’s also an ideal solution for residential and commercial projects that require a storm water management system,” Dieck says. “This turns it into a design asset as opposed to an afterthought.” In this capacity, the system can earn up to 12 LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit points. “Every town wetlands specialist and architect I talk to about this says, ‘I think we’ve got something here,’ ” he claims.
The system can be incorporated into just about any type of landscape design. “It’s pretty much up to the designer,” Dieck says. “It can be small enough to tuck into a corner or large enough to feed a 60-foot stream. It’s neat because, unless you were told this was part of a rainwater system, you would never know it. We are passionate about bringing water to any landscape design. Here we get the beauty of that while at the same time we’re doing the environment a favor.”