Urban High-Rise Design Meets Water Conservation Goals
In New York City – one of the largest cities in the world – improving water efficiency while responding to the ever-increasing demand is a critical issue that is identified for action by Mayor Bloomberg in the PlaNYC Progress Report. As a result, developers must reevaluate designs to ensure both water quality and maximum efficiency.
Developed by the Albanese Organization and designed by world-class architect Rafael Pelli, The Visionaire luxury high-rise condominium in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City epitomizes this sustainable focus in an urban setting, applying the most advanced water treatment technology to assure a superior clarification and recyclability of the building’s water supply. Conservation and reuse solutions are core skills of Applied Water Management Group, a subsidiary of American Water.
“Sustainable residential buildings like The Visionaire are not just attractive for the environmentally conscious,” said Tim Davies, president of Applied Water Management. “Saving water makes economical sense and helps address our nation’s critical water supply challenges.”
Applied Water Management (AWM) had previously managed the design and construction of the unique wastewater recycling facility for The Solaire, a nearby Manhattan apartment tower also developed by the Albanese Organization. As a result of this experience, AWM was able to enhance the service offering by providing new and improved design technology for The Visionaire.
The Visionaire’s 251 units are designed to accommodate approximately 778 residents. Its wastewater treatment system is designed to treat 25,000 gallons of water per day (GPD). The system uses the capacity generated by the wastewater treatment system along with potable water and collected stormwater to offset the building’s 40,000 GPD demand.
Now considered to be the greenest high-rise residential condominium in the United States, The Visionaire reflects environmental stewardship in every sense of the term. In addition to the water recycling system, the building has rooftop gardens that are designed to collect and filter rainwater while reducing stormwater runoff. The water harvesting system is capable of collecting 5,000 GPD of stormwater. Further, the building design incorporates sustainable building materials and energy efficient fixtures throughout the entire property, enabling residents to enjoy a truly responsible environmental lifestyle.
The wastewater treatment and recycling process is designed to assure the highest quality water possible. Domestic wastewater entering the system is subject to a rigorous cleansing process. Some of the treated water goes to the system’s cooling tower, furthering energy efficiency. The rest is used for maintenance and flushwater. The building’s sewers are linked to an aerated “feed tank” to provide mixing and “trash trap” to remove all non-biodegradable solids.
A subsequent biological process, which takes up to 10 hours for water to move through, is designed to accumulate solids in the range of 0.8% to 1.2%. These solids contain the biomass that reduce pollutants (Biological Oxygen Demand). This process also reduces total nitrogen and phosphorus.
Liquid/solid separation is accomplished with innovative membrane ultrafiltration technology. The membranes have a pore size of less than 0.04 microns, discerning solid particles. The biomass is left behind and recycled back to the treatment process for further treatment.
In order to keep the membranes clean, a backwash system automatically reverses the flow of the filtered water for several minutes every hour.
Treated, filtered effluent then passes through an ozone generation and ultraviolet light (UV) system to remove any traces of both color and pathogens. Even after water is treated and stored, it is continuously circulated through the ozone and UV systems whenever the permeate pumps are not operating.
The system is able to store up to 15,000 gallons of treated effluent in its tanks.
The treatment and recycling plants designed by Applied Water Management are highly automated. In case of an imbalance or unanticipated disruption, the company’s team receives a direct alarm notice and an operator on call is immediately dispatched to handle the issue. The system is inspected twice a week with quarterly preventive maintenance checks.
About the Author:
Applied Water Management Group of American Water began designing and operating wastewater recycling systems for residential developments in 2000 with The Solaire, the nation’s first sustainable residential high-rise. Since then, the company has implemented similar systems at Millennium Towers, Tribeca Green, River House and The Visionaire – all green high-rises in Battery Park City. For more information, please visit www.amwater.com.