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Emory WaterHub

Project Scope

This wastewater treatment facility used cutting edge eco-engineering to provide nearly 40% of Emory’s campus water needs. Functional as well as beautiful, the odorless facility sits in the middle of campus and provides students a living laboratory for hands-on learning. 

The WaterHubTM is an on-site water recycling system on the Emory University campus that utilizes eco-engineering processes to clean wastewater for future non-potable uses. It is the first system of its kind to be installed in the United States. Emory’s WaterHub is capable of recycling up to 400,000 gallons-per-day – nearly 40% of Emory’s total campus water needs. 

Wastewater cleaned by the WaterHubTM is used to process make-up water in Emory’s steam and chiller plants and for future toilet flushing in select residence halls. The system will reduce Emory’s draw of water from Atlanta’s municipal water supply by up to 146 million gallons of water annually. The WaterHubTM includes a 50,000-gallon emergency water reserve which will allow Emory’s heating and cooling systems to function for an average of seven hours, depending on seasonal operating demands, in the event of any disruption in water availability.

The WaterHubTM was made possible by an innovative water purchase agreement between Emory University and Sustainable Water. The WaterHub creates lower cost water at a long-term stable rate and is expected to save millions of dollars in water utility costs to Emory over a 20-year period. The WaterHub aligns with the University’s vision for a sustainable campus and reduces the overall water demand on one of the smallest municipal watersheds in the United States.

Location:

Atlanta, Georgia

Client:

Emory University

How do you innovate to rely less on natural resources and create long-term savings?

Challenge Faced

In the last decade, Atlanta has witnessed numerous water-related stresses, including severe drought, EPA mandates to resolve critical infrastructure failures, and an extended political dispute over water rights in the so-called “Tri-State Water Wars.” As a result of these challenges, Emory University set out to explore ways to minimize its impact on community water resources and the environment. Using close to 350 million gallons annually, the University deployed water conservation tactics ranging from low-flow fixtures to stormwater reuse. As regional water stresses persisted, the campus turned to a more strategic and impactful water management solution: campus-wide water reclamation and reuse. 

Solution Provided

Sustainable Water designed Emory’s reclamation system to integrate into the existing campus framework using two small parcels near the Chappell Park field and entrusted Reeves Young’s Water Resources team to install the system.  Presently, up to 400,000 gallons of wastewater is mined directly out of the campus sewer system daily. Water is cleaned to Georgia reclaimed water standards through an energy-efficient eco-engineered treatment process supported by solar (PV) energy production. The system has 50,000 gallons of clean water storage capacity, providing N+1 redundancy for campus district energy systems. Recycled water is distributed to the multiple utility plants and select dormitories for toilet flushing via a 4,400 linear foot “purple pipe” distribution system. At full build-out, the system will displace nearly 105 million gallons of potable water annually – providing tens-of-millions of dollars in savings to the University over the next 20 years. 

40% reduction in water use

400,000 gallons of hydraulic capacity per day

105 million gallons of potable water displaced annually

Emory WaterHub

Your team, including all of your management and on-site staff, faced every obstacle with an outstanding attitude and a “we will overcome” effort at every turn.

- Mathew Early, PE Vice President Campus Services, Emory University
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