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Balancing the Three Pillars of Sustainable Design for the Sugar Creek WWTP Expansion Project

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The Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, originally constructed in 1929, was one of the first activated sludge plants in the Unites States. For nearly 80 years, the Sugar Creek WWTP has served the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, and has helped balance the region's significant economic growth with protection of water quality. In May 2007, a Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Study recommended various expansion and upgrade projects, including a two-phase expansion of the Sugar Creek WWTP from 20 mgd to 34 mgd.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities has set forth as a major goal of this project the incorporation of sustainable design principles. The project team has developed many sustainable design opportunities that are now being categorized under the three pillars of sustainable design – economic, social, and environmental. Specifically, the Sugar Creek WWTP project will consider issues such as:

Water quality – wastewater treatment and storm water management

LEED building design

Energy efficiency of equipment and processes

Process right-sizing

Vegetative buffers

Adaptive reuse of buildings

Stream and habitat restoration

Community interface with the facility – building architecture, tree buffers; odor, noise, and light pollution control

Integration of a greenway on the property with public education features

Waste management – use of recycled materials/local materials, waste diversion

Public education

Community stakeholder group input into the sustainable design concepts

When this project is complete, the Sugar Creek WWTP will be one of the first wastewater treatment plants in the United States to have comprehensively incorporated sustainable design initiatives into their wastewater treatment plant expansion project. This technical paper will address how sustainable design initiatives were developed, evaluated, and incorporated into the project – and how Utilities and HDR worked with the public stakeholder advisory group throughout the process.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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