LEED Certified Design/Build: Bradley Avenue WTP

Client: Illinois American Water
Location: Champaign/Urbana, IL

Facing an increasing demand for water and aging existing plants, Champaign County wanted to build a new water treatment plant that would improve water system reliability. No effort was spared to make the new plant as sustainable as possible, including energy-efficient technologies, recycling of construction waste, and preservation of the surrounding natural habitat as a wildlife sanctuary.

Project Outcomes and Benefits

  • New 15-mgd water treatment plant, expandable to 20 mgd, was delivering water within 21 months from project start.
  • The plant was designed and constructed in order to obtain LEED Certification with regard to energy efficiency and environmental impacts.
  • Use of over 46 percent local materials lowered transportation energy costs.
  • 68 percent of the construction waste was also locally recycled to minimize waste hauling, energy, and disposal impacts.

Facility site August 2007

Facility site March 2008

In the clarification zone, the flocculated water stratifies into three levels: a supernatant (top), a sludge blanket (middle), and a slurry pool (bottom). The supernatant, or clarified water, is conveyed evenly to the outlet of the primary softeners via radial launders with submerged orifices. Flocculation continues within the sludge blanket promoting the settling of calcium and magnesium precipitates to the slurry pool.

Primary softener effluent flows by gravity to the secondary clarifier for additional clarification.

When excess lime solids accumulate in both the primary and secondary clarifiers such that optimum solids concentration in the mixing zone can not be maintained, automatic-timed blow down of solids by gravity to one of two lagoons occurs until the optimum concentration in the clarifiers is again achieved. 

The three high service pumps each have a capacity of 7.5 mgd, for a firm pumping capacity of 15 mgd with one pump out of service.

Facility site November 2008

Finished water storage facilities are sized to provide 1) detention time for disinfection, 2) storage for filter wash water supply and other plant uses, and 3) equalization between plant production and distributive pumping rates.

Vertical turbine pumps are installed in a wetwell associated with the finished water storage basin to pump finished water to the distribution system.

An on-site sodium hypochlorite generation and feed system is provided for disinfection.

Finished LEED certified facility February 2009

Among the many sustainable design and construction elements to the facility, pervious pavement prevents stormwater runoff, recharging local groundwater. Native plantings also cover the grounds.

The new plant was constructed on a greenfield site and is 7.5 miles west of downtown Champaign. Plant construction covers an area of approximately 25 acres of a total property area of 40 acres. Design of the Champaign County Water Treatment Facility project included new raw water supply wells; treatment facilities, including lime softening clarifiers, recarbonation basins, filters, clearwells, distributive pumps, chemical feed facilities, and residuals handling facilities; and administrative facilities.

Energy saving aspects of the facility include: complete recycle or reuse of waste streams to lower raw water pumping costs; variable speed pump drives to optimize operational control and energy use; the use of a side stream of raw water for geothermal heating and cooling; optimized building energy performance and certification; reduced ‘heat island” reflective roofing to minimize heat adsorption; and water efficient fixtures throughout the facility.

Native plants were used for landscaping to minimize the need to irrigate the plant site which is both an energy and water use saving. Stormwater runoff was minimized through the use of porous pavement and stormwater retention areas were designed for water quality control.

For more information on this project, or to discuss a similar project in your area, contact

Mark Bishop, P.E., BCEE at mbishop@hazenandsawyer.com