Madison, Wis. — Mead & Hunt received two 2018 Engineering Excellence awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin for the new Madison Water Utility Paterson Street Operations Center, as well as a national design award and a construction award. They won a Best in State award for the innovative stormwater design and a State Finalist award for the design for the renovation and addition of a new sustainable facility, the project management and construction administration. The ACEC Engineering Excellence awards highlight the best of the best in professional engineering.

This project also won national recognition with an Engineering Excellence Honor Award from ACEC and was recognized by the Association of Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin as a Project of Distinction Award winner.

During construction of the new Madison Water Utility Operations Center last year, engineers and architects were forced to find innovative ways to overcome urban site challenges, in this case limited space, contaminated soils and high groundwater.

The challenges started before construction of the new Operations Center site. The site was plagued with petroleum-impacted soils and contaminated groundwater. Although the site was considered a cleaned-up or capped site in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Registry, the petroleum remnants in the soil were high enough to require certified landfill disposal.

Compounding this was the high groundwater, which was also impacted by the petroleum remnants. Other problems were a shallow surcharged storm sewer system and the need to support the utilities daily vehicle loads. Achieving stormwater treatment on the site proved challenging.

Mead & Hunt went underground for a solution to the pollution. An underground stormwater treatment vault capable of removing sediment was installed. The vault functions by having the site grading directed toward the tank opening where a baffle is located. The vault is a precast concrete modular unit that can handle buoyancy concerns. It has a two-layer impermeable liner to prevent the surrounding contaminated groundwater from entering the tank. Additionally, the vault can withstand the weight of heavy vehicle loads coming in and out of the Operations Center, and it also provides capture of oil and grease on the site through the installed baffle in the tank.

The contamination on the site would certainly impact the ability to create the desired landscaping in the parking lot area. Mead & Hunt headed for the roof of the new building and exceeded standard practices by installing a rooftop garden that would reduce the stormwater runoff volume. It is one of only a small handful of green roofs within the City of Madison on municipally-owned buildings.

The successful result is stormwater treatment on an industrial site where it previously did not exist. The removal of pollutants from stormwater runoff is an essential step in the cleanup of waterways and lakes.

The design goals for the Utility Operations building were to better meet the needs for operations and staff. However, the final design went well beyond that to become a model for best practices in urban renewal and industrial working environments. This project showcased how these industrial working environments can enhance a neighborhood. The sustainable design elements will contribute to a greener community while helping the City of Madison and the Water Utility remain fiscally responsible.

The new facility involved the demolition of a portion of the unsafe, dilapidated old building. The team then designed a remodel of what remained as well as an addition, to create a larger, more aesthetically attractive building. Sustainable design elements included reuse of materials, improved insulation, increased use of natural lighting, energy efficient systems and the green roof.