Mead & Hunt work on Madison Water Utility project wins four awards

The new Madison Water Utility Paterson Street Operations Center is being recognized with two Wisconsin engineering awards, a national design award and a construction award.

Mead & Hunt received two 2018 Engineering Excellence awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin. They won a Best in State award for the innovative storm water 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.

Unique urban site calls for innovation

During the 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 pre-cast 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.

Thinking out of the box and onto the roof

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 end result is storm water 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 our waterways and lakes.

Sustainability goes beyond a roof garden

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.

Mead & Hunt is an employee-owned firm with more than 600 engineers, architects, planners, historians, scientists and administrative and technical staff. The firm provides professional consulting services to clients nationwide. Founded in Wisconsin in 1900, the firm’s 30-plus offices are now located in more than 20 states. Mead & Hunt’s multi-discipline teams work on projects throughout the country and provide solutions to meet a wide range of client needs.

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