The Tricky Business of On-Site Water Treatment and Reuse
It’s time to rethink old assumptions about what can and can’t be done
By Vicki Elmer and Paula Kehoe
As published in the December 2014 Issue of the Planning Magazine
The 3Rs for solid waste — reduce, reuse, recycle — have been around since the 1970s, but the next big R is for water. Reuse of the wet stuff is on the rise.
On-site water treatment and reuse is turning up in commercial and residential buildings from Seattle to San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Portland.
Large water and wastewater utilities pioneered wastewater recycling — using it for irrigation in dry states. Today, local developers in both wet and dry states are getting in on the game with the goal of “net zero” or “net positive” water for individual building projects. Some of these projects also recover energy from wastewater and solid waste with integrated water-energy-waste systems.
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The following post is authored by student and Sherwood blogging intern, Rachel Gross.
One of my professors recently asked our class to think about what “grand challenges” face our society, and my mind immediately jumped to population growth and urbanization. As population continues to grow over the next several decades, resources will become more scarce and human impact on the environment will also grow. UN population studies project that world population will reach 9.31 billion by 2050. Where will these people live? Current and projected urbanization rates estimate that by 2050, about 6.25 billion people (67% of the total world population) will live in cities. This is almost twice the 2010 urban population of 3.56 billion people (about 52% of the current world population). Read the rest of this entry »
Working on a team with lead architect EHDD, Tipping Mar and Integral Group Sherwood helped to design the new headquarters of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which sits in downtown Los Altos, California. Sherwood worked with the team to design multiple sustainable systems, including rainwater harvesting, green streets, stormwater infiltration and treatment, and pedestrian-friendly circulation. Sherwood was also responsible for sustainable systems integration, grading and drainage design, site utility design, and deconstruction all the way through construction. As part of this project, a 550-foot length of public street was redesigned to include rain gardens adjacent to the street that will treat road runoff, and four surface parking lots were retrofitted with vegetated swales and infiltration basins to treat stormwater runoff. Read the rest of this entry »
This morning, a group of Sherwood engineers were given a tour of the Living Machine® wastewater treatment system at the new headquarters of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). The new headquarters building is a model of innovation and sustainable design, from its energy efficiency, to water reuse, to ecological and environmental benefits. Living Machine® Technology treats and reuses wastewater by incorporating plants and beneficial bacteria with innovative engineering. Based on the principles of wetland ecology, the tidal process cleans water, making the Living Machine® extremely energy-efficient and allowing the system to produce reclaimed water that meets high-quality reuse standards. Read the rest of this entry »
Sherwood collaborated with Woods Bagot and Hargreaves Associates on the master plan concept for China Southern Airport City, a 400-hectare, mixed-use development integrating business, manufacturing, residential, and cultural amenities within a comprehensive open space network that supports recreational opportunity and bolsters ecological vitality. Sherwood’s role was Master Engineer for the site focusing on site energy, water, and ecological system design with goals of Zero Net energy and Zero Net water use. In addition to full site utility infrastructure design and comprehensive stormwater management, Sherwood collaborated on the design of onsite graywater treatment wetlands, and a “necklace” of lakes which serve to cleanse stormwater and repair the site ecology. Read the rest of this entry »
Sherwood worked with Nelson Nygaard to complete the design of a multi-block green streets project located at the edge of Santa Monica’s border with Venice, CA. The design implements a woonerf style livable street by incorporating multifunctional urban stormwater best management practices as well as low impact design philosophies into a pedestrian friendly design. Read the rest of this entry »