Archive for the ‘In The News’ Category

Infographic – America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Here is a cool info graphic from highlighting the current use age and state of America’s Infrastructure.


Green Water Infrastructure Founder to Serve on the Indy Rezone Steering Committee


Editorial Contact:
Tom Barrett, CEO
Green Water Infrastructure, Inc.
P.O. Box 124
Westfield, IN 46074
317-674-3GWI (3494)
Tom Barrett, owner and founder of Green Water Infrastructure, Inc., has been selected to serve on the steering committee for Indy Rezone.
Indy Rezone is an Indianapolis based government agency that plans to update the ordinances, regulations and design practices to be more sustainable and to improve Indianapolis residents’ quality of life by providing the foundation for redevelopment into vibrant communities. Recommended by Jesse Kharbanda, the Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana’s largest environmental policy organization, Tom has agreed to represent the HEC  and the people of Indianapolis in this position.
“I’m honored to be recommended for this position,” Tom said in a recent interview. “Indianapolis has a tremendous potential to be a pioneer in green infrastructure done right.  What we need now is two-fold: to get the government and the people of Indianapolis on the same page with what works and what doesn’t work, then we need to combine efforts to make that happen in a safe, efficient, and responsible way.”
Mr. Barrett began Green Water Infrastructure, Inc. in 2009 in response to what he saw as a great need to marry green and gray infrastructure, creating more efficient and sustainable solutions to an ever growing problem.
With over thirty years of successful landscape industry experience, Tom Barrett has held leadership positions at industry leading companies that include: Rain Bird, Kenney Machinery, Ewing, Netafim, and MacAllister Machinery. Some of Tom’s projects can be seen at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, the Gates residence in Seattle, and Aqualand — the largest inclined green roof in the country. He has won awards in quality and process improvement, and is a frequent contributor of articles for numerous publications.

Windridge Condominium Ravine Stormwater Study

In January of 2012, the Windridge Condominium Board of Directors commissioned Fischer Design LLC to conduct a comprehensive stormwater study. This a presentation of the findings and possible green infrastructure solutions.

The presentation to  Windridge Condominium Board of Directors and interested homeowners on the Ravine Stormwater Presentation went extremely well last night.

The highlights of the presentation are:

  • There is a lot of water falling in a one inch rainfall event. The largest stormwater basin is almost sixty acres and receives over 1.6 million gallons of water in a one inch rain. This is the equivalent of allowing your kitchen sink to run fully open 24 four hours a day for 225 days continuously.
  • Going upstream to fix the stormwater issue will provide the greatest return in mitigating the current stormwater issues.
  • The majority of the stormwater problems experienced by the Windridge property owners is coming from the adjacent properties. Developing a cooperative plan with the adjacent property owners will have a large impact on the Windridge ravine erosion issue.

Here is a copy of the presentation:


EPA’s Fix a Leak Week March 12 – 19, 2012

EPA WaterSense Fix A Leak Week 2012










It’s the EPA WaterSense’s fourth annual Fix A Leak Week. From March 12th through March 19th WaterSense Partners, consumers, and professionals are asked to check their plumbing fixtures for leaking water.

The EPA estimates that each day over 10,000 gallons of water is lost due to leaking and dripping plumbing in American households. This is over 1 trillion gallons of water lost each year. This water loss is easily and inexpensively preventable by simply checking your toilets, showers, and facets for drips. It does not take much to fix a dripping facet or a leaky toilet.

If each of us makes a small effort to stop leaks we can, collectively, have a large impact.  Click here to see what others are doing.

And here are some things you can do:

Faucets and Showerheads

  • A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. A home with WaterSense labeled toilets could use that water to flush for six months!
  • Leaky faucets can be reduced by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. If you are replacing a faucet, look for the WaterSense label.
  • A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That’s enough water to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
  • Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench.


  • If your toilet is running constantly, you could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day.
  • If your toilet is leaking, the cause is most often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.
  • If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model. If a family of four replaces its older, inefficient toilets with new WaterSense labeled ones, it could save more than 16,000 gallons per year. Retrofitting the house could save the family approximately $2,000 in water and wastewater bills over the lifetime of the toilets.


  • An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
  • An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • To ensure that your in-ground irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with a WaterSense irrigation partner who has passed a certification program focused on water efficiency; look for a WaterSense irrigation partner.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

Source: EPA WaterSense Fix A Leak Fact Sheet 

Here is a fun commercial from the Wisconsin DNR

“Leaks Don’t Fix Themselves”

Rainwater Harvesting & Condensate Recovery Presentation at the Chicago Center for Green Technology

Rain IN the Street ImageChicago Center for Green Technology Presentation

Chicago, Illinois

March 1, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting and Condensate Recovery are two tools used in implementing sustainable water practices. Although not widely used in the United States, rainwater harvesting is used extensively in less developed parts of the world. Mistakenly, the primary benefit of rainwater harvesting is not the extensive water savings that can be achieved. The primary benefit from rainwater harvesting is to reduce the untreated sewer discharge into our local waterways that occurs with almost every rainfall.

In the presentation, Barrett will discuss how rainwater harvesting and condensate recovery not only reduces potable water usage but protects, restores, and mimics the natural water cycle.

Additionally, Tom will explain how rainwater harvest can help develop a natural solution for water efficiency, and relieve storm water management issues. By developing a rainwater harvesting systom or other environmentally responsible landscape solution, we can reduce the contaminants that collect in the sewer systems, and make a significant improvement for a cleaner and healthier environment.

“The American Society for Civil Engineers gave the United States’ water systems a grade of ‘D-,’ the lowest of any America infrastructure,” said Barrett. “Through increased use of rain gardens and bioswales, we can improve our water systems and create a better environment for plants, animals and people. “In his presentation, Barrett will explain just how essential some of these tools are to efficiently utilizing and managing water sources.

Here is the presentation from March 1, 2012. Below are the two movies.

Rainwater Harvesting & Condensate Recovery (Chicago 3.1.12)

View more presentations from Tom Barrett

How to Build a Rainwater Collection System from VideoJug


Video – A 30,000 Gallon Cistern Installation in Four Minutes

It seems everyone enjoyed the presentation and comments from the participants were great! With thirty-seven participants, it is rewarding to see interest in rainwater harvesting gaining momentum.

Here are some comments:

I really enjoyed the videos, especially making the rain barrel.

– Sheri Yarbrough


I get more than enough rain to water my garden and I flush my toilet. Cisterns are awesome!  Condensation should be used.

– Monica Skyora


Austrailia is producing some good water saving solutions. I likes the video on installing barrels; drip irrigation is 90% efficient

– Donna McGuire

I am looking forward to my next presentation at the Chicago Center for Green Technology during the summer.

Putting Green to Work by American Rivers

Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable WaterPutting Green to Work by American Rivers

As many of you who have heard me speak, you know my passion for developing sustainable, environmentally friendly solutions to our nation’s water infrastructure. Stormwater from rainfall events are the biggest source of pollution in America. The civil engineers call it non-point source pollution.

In 2006, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded our nation’s water infrastructure D-. The lowest grade of all the infrastructure categories examined. Although this grade is unacceptably low, the next  lowest grade is F – Failure. An “F” is simply unacceptable. Without access to clean, sanitary water supplies people perish. Click here to see the 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

American Rivers, funded by the Park Foundation, the Kresege Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, Keith Campbel Foundation, and the Turner Foundation, has created report which examines the efforts of nineteen states with “bright green” projects. Here are some key findings:

  • The demand for funding is far, far greater than currently provided on both the Federal and state level.
  • Future funding should be targeted to “bright green” projects. “Bright green” project types includes:
    • Bioswales
    • Green Roofs
    • Permeable Paving
    • Rain Gardens
    • Riparian Habitate Resotoration
    • Wetlands Restoration
  • States must act quickly to remove barriers, eg. statutes, regulation, and policies, that are roadblocks to integrated approaches to our communities’ implementation of infrastructure improvements.
  • An integrated approach is necessary to understand the complete benefit of green infrastructure.

For me, the most important elements are the job creation and economic output.

A $10 billion investment in water efficient projects would produce a total economic output of $25-28 billion and create 150,000 to 220,000 jobs.

For every dollar invested the return is $2.65. It doesn’t take a financial wizard to understand this concept. Investing in green infrastructure is good for the economy, the environment and the communities in which we live.

There is a tremendous opportunity to combine our existing gray infrastructure with newer green infrastructure creating sustainable communities.

Click here to download the report, “Putting Green to Work.”





Brave New World: Trends & Opportunities in the Emerging Green Environment


Recently, I spoke to the Independent Turf and Ornamental Distributors Association in Nashville, Tennessee

I created two presentations for this group of landscape industry professionals.


Brave New World: Trends & Opportunities in the Emerging Green Environment(ITODA)


Over the last two and half years we have experienced some of the greatest changes in the history of this country. The economy is only part of it. Every organization has the power and the talent when unleashed will create dramatic change. Here are the key points:
  • Excess Capacity: Competition is increasing and margins are shrinking
  • The Impact of Local Businesses on the Economy
  • The EPA: Friend or Foe
  • The Impact of Downsizing on Employee Engagement
  • The Dramatically Increasing Presence of Women in Work
  • Transforming Your Business by Creating Value

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.
The current state and trends of the Landscape, golf Course, and Sports Turf Industry. How we stand out, where we rank, and how we are heard. You will be challenged in this provocative and sometimes controversial presentation to do things differently.  Tom Barrett is a national speaker and author. His presentations empower people to become masters of change. Learn how to grow your business without busting the bank. Here are the key points:

  • Business is rapidly changing
  • Opportunities exist in areas unavailable five years ago
  • Customers have different needs and require a new approach
  • Companies investing in marketing are growing

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.

I feel the presentations were incredibly helpful to the folks in the audience. Based on conversations I had with audience members, some of the points they found most interesting were:

  • The dramatically changing social environment, especially women in the workforce.
  • Getting sales people to make more sales calls.
  • Emerging opportunities in green infrastructure and the role landscaping will play in remediating our environment.

I truly enjoyed speaking for an energetic and enthusiastic crowd at Independent Turf and Ornamental Distributors Association. I hope I can return soon, and I look forward to my next speaking engagement on January 12, 2012 at the Green Industry Expo in Indianapolis. I will be leading a panel of experts on landscape industry trends.

Meeting Warren Buffett

Meeting Warren Buffett (center) with Tom Barrett (right) and John Barrett (left)

I had the pleasure of meeting Warren Buffett on Wednesday, September 28th at the Challenge Foundation Academy. What an honor to meet one the great leaders in America. Buffett’s ‘down home’ style belies his sophistication in finance as well as in life.

The Challenge Foundation Academy is a charter school located in the Avondale Meadows area of Indianapolis, Indiana. This area is the most improverished neighborhood in the city.

Buffett, chairman of Bershire Hathaway, is the third richest man in America. He is helping to support a new approach to urban redevelopment. Buffett is hoping to help break the cycle of poverty that for decades has gripped struggling inner-city neighborhoods across the USA.

Click here for the article from USAToday.

Sustainable Site Development : Rain Gardens & Bioswales Presentation at the Center For Green Technology

The Rain Garden at Chicago Center for Green Technology, Chicago, Illinios

I had the pleasure of presenting “Constructing Rain Gardens & Bioswales” at the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT) on Thursday, September 29th. The audience, between 30 to 40 people, was great.

We talked about stormwater issues and toured the rain garden at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. Steve Pincuspy, Director of CCGT, led the tour and did an excellent job of explaining the effectiveness of the rain gardens in mitigating the local stormwater problem.

The presentation was followed by over thirty minutes of questions.

Here is a copy of the presentation:


Windridge Condos Breaks Ground on Rain Garden

Windridge Condominium Homes to Build Eco-Friendly Rain Garden 

Windridge Condominium Homes Main GateIndianapolis, Indiana—Windridge Condominium Homes, located in the Emerson and Fall Creek Parkway area, has announced that it will build a groundbreaking rain garden. Not only will this garden be beautiful, it will also help to alleviate existing flooding and moisture issues in the neighborhood.

Originally built more than 30 years ago, challenges associated with stormwater drainage have confronted Windridge from its inception.  While the original developers installed traditional storm drains and conveyance systems in the neighborhood, ongoing development in the surrounding area has increased the frequency and volume of stormwater flow around and through Windridge.  While various solutions have been implemented over the years to control flooding and standing water issues, the neighborhood’s infrastructure has been unable to handle the more than 91 million  gallons of rain water that fall on the neighborhood annually.

The rain garden will not only reduce runoff into nearby Fall Creek, it will also improve local water quality by capturing pollution that normally contributes to algae growth, and improve the overall ecology of the local water systems.

 “Rain gardens are a green way to solve many traditional storm water problems,” said Tom Barrett, owner of Green Water Infrastructure and a consultant on the project. “They’re also a great retrofit for many older, more established communities with persistent drainage issues.”

Fischer Design, an Indianapolis-based landscape architecture firm, will design the rain garden. Green Water Infrastructure in Westfield will provide green consulting. TERRA Site Development in Westfield will provide the civil engineering for the project. The project is expected to break ground in September 2011.

# # #


About Windridge Condominiums:

The Windridge community is a unique collection of two hundred and twenty one homes located in a natural setting along Fall Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Touring the property one easily recognizes our respect for the natural environment.  You will see a number of wild animals, birds, countless plants, and trees.  The Windridge community takes pride in maintaining our natural surroundings.


About Fischer Design, LLC:

Fischer Design is a landscape architecture design firm focused on the creative integration of man-made and natural environments promoting environmentally responsible, sustainable, functional, and aesthetically beautiful design solutions. For additional information about Fischer Design, please visit


About Green Water Infrastructure:

Green Water Infrastructure is a consulting company that integrates water resources for sustainable site development. Their goal is to utilize one hundred percent of the on-site water resources at a site. Green Water saves communities money by combining green infrastructure with gray infrastructure and new technology with existing technology to create sustainable growth — environmentally and socially. For more information, please visit


About TERRA Site Development, Inc.:

TERRA Site Development, Inc. (TERRA) is a site development consulting firm that provides specialized investigation, engineering design, and testing services for property and projects in all aspects of development.  Assisting clients regardless of what stage their project is in – TERRA provides environmental and geotechnical assessment before property is purchased, civil engineering design and permitting assistance prior to construction, and materials testing and inspection during buildout.  Located in Westfield and Indianapolis, additional information about TERRA can be found at