July 17, 2003

LOTT dives into reclaimed water

  • Utility alliance has two water plants under way
    LOTT Wastewater Alliance

    LOTT’s Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Satellite
    Illustration courtesy of LOTT
    LOTT’s Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Satellite will feature attractive constructed wetlands storage ponds and interpretive exhibit kiosks in a 30-acre park-like setting.

    The LOTT Wastewater Alliance is currently building a reclaimed water plant and will soon start construction on a second. LOTT’s four government partners — Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County — chose reclaimed water as the core of their long-range wastewater resource management plan because of strong public desire to treat water as a valuable resource.

    LOTT’s water will be treated to Class A reclaimed water standards — water that is clean enough for public contact and almost any use except drinking.

    LOTT’s 20-year plan calls for construction of three satellite reclaimed water treatment plants located throughout the Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater urban area. Each satellite will initially be built to treat 1 million gallons per day (mgd) and be expandable up to 5 mgd.

    Building the satellites in 1 mgd increments will allow construction “just-in-time” to meet future wastewater treatment capacity needs. To enable effective use of the reclaimed water, the plants will be built near potential users rather than where development is occurring. The cleaned water will be used for irrigation, various commercial and industrial purposes, groundwater recharge, and environmental improvements such as stream-flow augmentation and wetland enhancement.

    Design of the first satellite is complete. Known as the Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Satellite, it will be built in the city of Lacey, with the water serving portions of Lacey and Olympia.

    Construction is expected to begin in 2004 and will cost about $28 million. The project will include the treatment plant, about 3 miles of purple pipe (the color-coding for reclaimed water pipelines), about 30 acres of park-like setting where the Class A water will circulate through constructed wetlands ponds, and a series of groundwater recharge basins where water not used for other purposes will be allowed to infiltrate down to the groundwater aquifer.

    LOTT has also begun construction on a reclaimed water facility at its existing wastewater treatment plant, which currently discharges to Budd Inlet at the southern end of Puget Sound. The reclaimed water facility will treat a small portion of the plant’s effluent to Class A standards so it can be used in the State Capitol Campus, Heritage Park, Downtown Olympia and Port of Olympia areas. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2003, with water available for distribution in early 2004.

    Both of LOTT’s reclaimed water plants have been designed by the consulting engineering firm Brown and Caldwell.

    Karla Fowler is program manager for the LOTT Wastewater Alliance, responsible for reclaimed water policy development, wastewater flow reduction programs, environmental evaluations and public information and involvement. She’s served LOTT for seven years full time and eight years as a consultant.

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