Winning wetlands

June 2011 » Web Exclusive » PROJECT CASE STUDY
Constructed wetlands support extended treatment and reuse of wastewater effluent.

CH2M HILL recently received two Excellence in Environmental Engineering awards from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. The winning projects are the $38 million Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) Sustainable Water Supply project in Georgia, and the $13 million Talking Water Gardens project in Albany, Ore. Both won in the environmental stewardship category. The Talking Water Gardens project also earned the Superior Achievement award, which is presented to the best entry overall.

The Talking Water Gardens integrated wetland system is the first in the nation designed to treat a unique combination of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant effluents for temperature, total dissolved solids, and nutrient reduction.

Talking Water Gardens
The Talking Water Gardens is a water treatment and reuse project that is the first public/private engineering project of its kind in the United States. CH2M HILL worked with the cities of Albany and Millersburg, Ore., and metal manufacturer ATI Wah Chang, to create a 39-acre functional wetlands system. The project was designed to provide cooling and additional natural treatment before water is discharged to the Willamette River. CH2M HILL developed the project concept, applied for all permits, completed designs and construction management, and advised the operations team on getting the most treatment from the system.

The Talking Water Gardens site, previously occupied by two abandoned lumber mills, sits between a railroad switch yard and a 200-acre environmental preserve bounded by creeks, a backwater river channel oxbow, and the Willamette River.

Using natural treatment processes, the Talking Water Gardens project creates and restores wetlands along the river and enhances wildlife habitat. The 11 acres of perimeter landscaping provides the opportunity to reuse effluent for irrigation. The site, previously occupied by two abandoned lumber mills, sits between a railroad switch yard and a 200-acre environmental preserve bounded by creeks, a backwater river channel oxbow, and the Willamette River.

Project
Talking Water Gardens project, Albany, Ore.
Clayton County Water Authority Sustainable Water Supply, Georgia

Civil engineer

CH2M HILL

Technology application

Constructed wetlands provide additional natural treatment, cooling, and reuse for wastewater effluent.

The functional wetland system is being developed as a public recreation area designed to facilitate recreation and educate the community about the region’s water systems. Kurisu International Landscape Architects specifically designed the waterfalls and special landscape features to encourage the public to walk the trails and discover the overlooks and habitat niches of the site — while experiencing the sounds and views of waterfalls that passively are cooling and treating water while soothing and calming the senses.

“This complex project provided an integrated approach not only through coordinating the needs and resources of three entities, but also by maximizing ancillary environmental benefits that affect air and land quality - such as converting an abandoned industrial property back into a natural riparian ecosystem — in addition to water cooling and quality improvement,” said, CH2M HILL Natural Treatment Systems Principal Technologist Mark Madison.

The innovative integrated wetland system will be the first in the nation designed to treat a unique combination of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant effluents for temperature, total dissolved solids, and nutrient reduction.

The project also provides cost-saving measures such as using no energy or chemicals for treatment, low capital costs, and low operations and maintenance costs. Constructed and currently growing plants to maturity to provide treatment, Talking Water Gardens will treat effluent in 2011 and be open to the public in spring 2012. For more on the project, visit www.cityofalbany.net/publicworks/twg

Constructed wetlands in Clayton County, Ga., provide a more land-efficient, energy-efficient, easier-to-maintain, reliable, and sustainable option for water treatment and water supply augmentation.

Sustainable water supply
In Clayton County, Ga., an innovative water recycling system that uses man-made wetlands and reservoirs is treating and supplying water to a densely developed urban area, even during severe drought conditions. For 30 years, the Clayton County Water Authority (CCWA) operated two land application systems, or spray irrigation fields. CH2M HILL assisted CCWA in identifying the use of constructed wetlands as a more land-efficient, energy-efficient, easier-to-maintain, reliable, and sustainable option for water treatment and water supply augmentation. CH2M HILL also provided engineering services during design and construction of all phases.

In addition to providing a consistent, sustainable supply of water, the wetlands system serves as a desirable habitat to many species of birds and other animals.

According to Mike Thomas, CCWA general manager, the wetlands provide an environmentally sustainable and ecologically friendly process that produces a high quality of water. In addition to providing a consistent, sustainable supply of water, the wetlands system serves as a desirable habitat to many species of birds and other animals.

During the 2009 annual bird survey on CCWA properties, a total of 205 species of birds were observed. Of these, 142 were migratory species of songbirds, raptors, woodland birds, waterfowl, and shorebirds. A bald eagle nesting pair at one of the reservoirs produced three eaglets during the 2009 nesting season.

CH2M HILL’s services during construction included a full-time onsite inspector to guide construction, review submittals, act as a liaison between the contractor and CCWA, and monitor progress.

Source: CH2M HILL


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