Four Inspiring Sustainable Water and Wastewater Facilities

1. Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Rhinebeck, New York

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) has been dubbed as the most beautiful wasterwater treatment plant in the world by The environmental education center and natural water reclamation facility is the first green building in the United States to achieve both LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification.

"The OCSL is a dynamic, living and breathing demonstration of how interconnected we all are with the world around us," says Skip Backus, chief executive officer of the building. "Our goal is to help people reexamine how they relate to the world by showing them what's possible in terms of environmental sustainability, green energy, and regenerative design."

The impressive wastewater treatment plant is a net zero energy building, which means over the course of a year it produces more energy than it consumes. It also uses only 100% geothermal energy, which uses the constant temperature of the earth (about 52 degrees at 50 feet) as a heating and cooling source.

The OCSL is an amazing example of how nature can be mimicked in an industrial setting. According to "It uses a combination of microorganisms, algae, plants and gravel and sand filtration to clean sewage water and return clean drinkable water back to the aquifer."

2. The Advanced Water Purification Facility, Oxnard, CA

The Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF) is a LEED Gold certified project that churns up 25 million gallons of sustainably treated water every day.

The AWPF has revolutionized the City of Oxnard by increasing its efforts to reduce imported water used by its residents, businesses, and farmers with the GREAT Program. The GREAT Program otherwise known as the Groundwater Recovery Enhancement and Treatment Program uses reclaimed water from the city instead of water stricken lands.

The facility has incorporated a host of sustainable elements such as photovoltaic panels and passive and active day lighting controls, as well as various water conservation techniques.

3. The Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, Petaluma, California

Rather than have a luscious garden surrounding its building, the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility decided to go a step further, and build a green garden on top of its building. The "living" roof adorns two buildings and an area of approximately 12,174 square feet. Even more impressive, it is irrigated with the building's own wastewater.

The vegetative roof was designed in part to support the local and migratory bird populations of the area. And it has had a great success as numerous bird species such as killdeer have used the roof for nesting.

The green roof is also being used to support a native bee study research program (by Scott MacIvor, York University in Toronto), which is researching the ecological relevance of living roofs in relation to native bee populations.

4. Brightwater Wastewater Treatment System, Woodinville, Washington

The Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant operations began in 2011. The plant was the largest clean water capital project in King County in 40 years. The highlight of the wastewater plant is the environmental and community center which has 70 acres of public open space, three miles of walking trails and 40 acres of natural habitat. The center is LEED certified and contains a variety of sustainability features including natural ventilation and day lighting, energy star appliances, reclaimed water uses for irrigation and toilet flushing, energy efficient lighting and Washington-made solar panels.

The wastewater plant as a whole also incorporated sustainability practices such as using coal fly ash in concrete as a cement substitute, retaining excavated soils onsite to visually screen wastewater processing areas, and reusing materials to create a salmon habitat and reforestation area.

The original article can be found here.