Working with a blank canvas for its new corporate headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn., AquaShield, Inc., is demonstrating a sustainable approach to water management by using various stormwater treatment and water conservation technologies for the new building and site design. J. Kelly Williamson, president of AquaShield, estimated that return on investment for the technologies will be less than one year, and the company’s dependence on potable water can be reduced by about 50 percent.

"We are well aware of what AquaShield can do to treat stormwater runoff, but we were dedicated to incorporating these cutting-edge water management practices into our building plans," said Williamson. "While the integration of these technologies reduce pollution, they also conserve our limited water resources that otherwise would have been lost."

The various technologies effectively reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, harvest water for non-potable uses, and limit disruption to the groundwater table. Stormwater and roof runoff are treated underground by hydrodynamic separation and filtration technologies that remove debris, sediment, oil, and harmful bacteria. The treated water is then harvested within an underground modular storage unit, and later used for landscape irrigation, an outdoor fountain, and other non-potable building processes. Elsewhere on the property, infiltration to groundwater is enhanced through the use of a combination of load-supporting drivable grass and gravel paving technologies in the vehicle parking areas. As an added benefit, these unique paving features contribute to reducing the urban heat island effect caused by traditional paving materials while at the same time enhancing the viewscape of the area.

Prior to construction, a conventional approach to development was limited because of the presence of a major utility easement that runs through the property. As a result, only 89 percent of the land could be used, and the building size would have been reduced. Instead, by incorporating the integrated technologies into the site design, AquaShield was able to utilize 100 percent of the land, allowing for a larger building and future development, while at the same time reducing potable water use and costs.

According to AquaShield, incorporation of these technologies into a sustainable, integrated-use system requires advanced design planning compared with traditional water management practices. The benefits of their implementation can be clearly realized in terms of practical uses and operational costs.