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Carrier Dome is now flushing 'Duke Blue' down its toilets

If you’ve been to a Syracuse University basketball game this year, you may have noticed a different tint to the toilet bowl water in the restrooms. Here's why:

The Carrier Dome is now collecting rain and snow that falls on about half of its six acre puffy white roof. That water filters down the building into 50,000 gallon underground tanks. It’s then treated and stored, ready for a game break bathroom rush.

Fourteen thousand gallons of last week’s snowstorm was used during a recent men’s basketball game halftime.

"The amount of water that comes off this roof is amazing," said Pete Sala, the managing director of the Carrier Dome. "With the storm that we had the other day, melting the snow the way that I did, we were able to fill the tanks in an unbelievable amount of time." 

Sala says maintaining the pump system and the thousand feet of new piping will be an added task for his team.

"There’s chlorine issues, there’s filter issues," he said, "but on a day-to-day basis, it’s designed to be very user friendly."

The system was paid for mostly through a state grant. It will save 900,000 gallons of water from directly entering the sewer system, untreated, according to state Environmental Facilities Corporation president Matt Driscoll.

"So this system helps separate that, capsulate that water, puts it into the sanitary system, which helps the county meet their obligation for reducing 'x' amount of gallons per year," he said.

Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO
The runoff water is dyed blue, so it's not confused with drinking water.

Right now, the system is installed in the Dome's northern half bathrooms - four sets of men's and women's facilities.

"It is expandable such that at a later date we can add the other half of the restrooms," said John Osinski, the university's project manager.

First, the university needs to make sure that it can easily maintain the system in place now, Osinski said.

The rainwater sitting in toilet bowls is dyed blue – lest there be any confusion over its drinkability. The university jokes it’s the same blue of new rivals Duke University.