The blackwater system is designed to set a course for the future of water management for the Texan city and demonstrate sustainable water reuse for commercial buildings.
Austin Water has unveiled a blackwater system with the aim of setting a course for the future of water management for new developments in Austin.
Located at the City of Austin’s Permitting and Development Centre and known as ‘Oscar’ and ‘Clara’, the project has completed commissioning and will be used to demonstrate sustainable water reuse for commercial buildings and help extend Austin’s current water supply.
Potable water use
“Together, Oscar and Clara are aiming to help the City of Austin to save over one million gallons of drinking water each year, reducing the site’s potable water use by up to 75 per cent, said Robert Goode, interim director of the utility.
“As the City of Austin continues to grow, Oscar and Clara will serve as models for other new buildings in the city that can capture and reuse water onsite.”
In a lawn area next to the conference centre is an underground On-site collection and reuse system, or Oscar. The utility reports the system can collect 40,000 gallons of rainwater and air-conditioning condensate that is filtered and then stored in tanks to reuse for outdoor landscaping.
“Launching this pilot project is an important step in demonstrating how commercial development in Austin can help contribute to a sustainable water future in the face of future growth and climate change”
This system not only conserves its potable water, but also saves energy by eliminating the treatment process used to produce drinking water.
Meanwhile, hidden beneath the pedestrian walkway from E Highland Mall Boulevard is a Closed-loop advanced reclaimed assembly (Clara). It can collect up to 5,000 gallons per day of wastewater from the building’s sewers, treat it using advanced membrane technology, and then recycle the clean water back to the building to flush toilets and urinals. This water can be used repeatedly for this purpose.
“Oscar and Clara are great examples of on-site water reuse strategies identified in Austin’s Water Forward plan,” added Kevin Critendon, assistant director of environmental, planning and development services for Austin Water.
“Launching this pilot project is an important step in demonstrating how commercial development in Austin can help contribute to a sustainable water future in the face of future growth and climate change.”
The project was developed through a partnership between Austin Water and the City of Austin’s Development Services and Watershed Protection Departments.