Wastewater treatment plant provides Class A reclaimed water to community and communicates importance of water preservation
The LOTT Clean Water Alliance’s new Regional Services Center in Olympia, Wash., will aim to actively engage the public. Designed by architectural firm The Miller Hull Partnership, the project is on target for LEED Platinum certification, and also includes the “WET Center” (Water Educational and Technology), with an exhibit gallery and classroom.
"This new building portrays all the good things about community stewardship,” said Robert Hull, one of the founding partners of Miller Hull. “It’s no longer just a sewage treatment plant. It becomes the new public face of LOTT in the community.”
Class A reclaimed water, produced at the treatment plant, is water that has been used and then cleaned to high quality standards so it can be returned to the community for irrigation, toilet flushing, industrial and manufacturing, and other uses. Benefits include wastewater and water supply management, and environmental enhancement such as using reclaimed water for wetlands restoration or streamflow augmentation. The reclaimed water for LOTT’s new facility is used for a pond surrounding the center, for irrigating the grounds and the building’s green roof, and for toilet flushing inside the building.
“Common themes that run throughout this project include education, environmental sustainability and the value of reclaimed water as a beneficial, safe resource for our communities,” said Scott Wolf, partner at Miller Hull. “By showcasing Class A reclaimed water in these water features, LOTT provides the public with an opportunity to see and experience the water up close, reinforcing the themes of reclaimed water as a valuable resource and its contribution to the environmental sustainability of our communities.”
The design challenge for the project included renovating the existing administrative and laboratory building, and the creation of a new four-story Regional Services Center to house administrative offices, an emergency operations center, boardroom and an education center with interpretive exhibits and a classroom. Designed with a contemporary, industrial aesthetic, the building is meant to complement its surroundings, while the structure’s height acts like an iconic symbol for the neighborhood. The facility is coordinated with other projects planned in the area, including a new Hands on Children’s Museum--also designed by Miller Hull--to begin construction in the fall of 2010, and the East Bay Public Plaza.
The water in the pond is Class A reclaimed water and moves slowly around the front of the building to the east. The edges of the pond are lined with plants, and a smaller pond within the larger water feature supports water lilies. The pond’s water is recycled, requiring minimal make-up water to sustain the pond. Two walkways were constructed over the pond leading people to the building entrances. Furthermore, a water fountain sculpture resembling a large cup pours reclaimed water into the pond and creates a visual and audible signal to the public, symbolically returning the treated water to the community for reuse. The landscape designer was Murase Associates.