TRACEN, Petaluma: The Water Treatment Facility of the Future


TRACEN is Coast Guard speak for training center. It’s a training facility not unlike a college campus; currently trains about 1,400 people at any one time. The US Coast Guard is very committed to
environmental protection and one of our statutory missions is marine
environmental protection. The senior officer within the Coast Guard has made
it clear that environmental stewardship is something that we need to think about. Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects: right from the start, in terms of master planning the project, our key partners were GHD’s Santa Rosa office, that did the civil structural, and Larry Reed of SWA Landscape Architects. The normal way of wastewater treatment is to treat to a
permissible level and then discharge the effluent. In this case, because of generations of ag runoff, the Stemple Creek watershed is considered an impacted watershed, and no drop of water would be allowed to be discharged either
to the ground or the stream. We have a equalization basin that has a
tremendously high capacity if we have the 80 million gallons of storage ponds
to be able to adjust to very large peaks and demands, to make sure the creeks and
the groundwater is always protected. With the water treatment plant, that was an
opportunity to find water to irrigate whatever habitat that we build and take it off the domestic water supply, to make the campus more self-sustaining. It’s all pretty basic, cast-in-place concrete walls, unpainted galvanized structure, this really great fiberglass roofing; light transmitting roofing, and
should last the life the project. The material selected are low maintenance.
It’s a fairly simple design and that will help with reducing our maintenance
load moving into the future. They can monitor how each part of the system is
working and fine-tune it. The operator calls it his ‘Ferrari’ when he is sitting in front of his three large screens. GHD: they did quite a biological
survey of the area to determine what was of impact, and we opened up a wildlife corridor where there was a covered covert before. A few weeks ago when I was explaining the concept of the fencing to someone, they looked down and said, “Well, it’s working; look, there’s a herd of deer down there.” The staff prides itself in being the greenest Coast Guard facility in the United States. They’re very supportive in making it as sustainable as possible.

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