Washington’s New LEED Gold Certified Water Treatment

We’ve seen LEED certification in just about every segment of the built environment in recent years, but industrial facilities achieving certification through the U.S. Green Building Council‘s increasingly ubiquitous program remain rare. Which is why the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is all kinds of happy about having achieved LEED Gold certification for its 200 West Pump and Treatment groundwater treatment plant at Hanford Site in southeast Washington.

Hanford Site is an environmental clean up area, formerly a plutonium production site for the U.S. military. Starting in 1943, the site was used to produce plutonium for the bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The site also produced produced plutonium for the Cold War and continued until 1987, when the last reactor ceased operation. Of course, those whole process left solid and liquid wastes that posed a risk to the local environment, including the Columbia River. In 1989, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Washington State Department of Ecology entered into a legally binding accord, the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA), to clean up the Hanford Site, of which the West Pump and Treatment plant is a part.

Groundwater Treatment Facility, Hanford

image via U.S. DOE

Construction of the Pump and Treat system was completed in two years, two months ahead of schedule and $41.4 million under budget. The DOE worked with contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company to gain LEED certification for the facility via a focus on energy efficiency: the building’s design is expected to result in an energy cost savings of more than 70 percent over the life of the facility. Energy savings have been estimated at 317,470 kilowatt-hours a year. That’s enough (according to U.S. Energy Information Administration) to power around 28 American households.

The building also meets or beats new Energy Department-mandated green building standards that address site sustainability, water efficiency, renewable energy, conservation of materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.