Beyond Earth Day: Sustainable Efforts and Outcomes

Beyond Earth Day: Sustainable Efforts and Outcomes

When Woodard & Curran issued its inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report in 2018, we set specific sustainability goals for 2020 and 2025. This included the launch of our Office Sustainability Program (OSP), which provides 80 actionable items for our offices nationwide to undertake or improve upon to contribute to the firm’s overall sustainable community.

We work daily to extend our sustainability goals beyond the office and into our projects. We work with our clients to provide integrated, sustainable solutions that benefit the communities in which we work and the natural environment. Whether it’s through water reclamation, energy conservation, or environmental cleanup, each project works toward reducing our collective footprint. 

With our annual update to key components of our CSR efforts, we thought Earth Day would be an opportune time to celebrate a few projects that highlight both sustainable measures and outcomes.

Recycling Water

 Our work developing water reuse opportunities for the City of Malibu, California spans the greater part of the past decade. Last year, the city was named Recycled Water Agency of the Year for a small community by WateReuse California. This honor is due to the stormwater treatment and reuse and water recycling projects the City has implemented.

Legacy Park, which includes an eight-acre-foot vegetated stormwater detention basin, was planned and designed by Woodard & Curran. The stormwater flow stored in this basin is treated effluent and returned to Legacy Park for landscape irrigation. The City’s new Civic Center Water Treatment Facility, a 500,000 gallon-per-day membrane bioreactor with ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, receives residential and commercial wastewater from a newly implemented collection system and is capable of supplying 70 million gallons of treated effluent for additional irrigation needs.

Navigating an Urban Project Site

When Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his Lead Free NYC initiative in January 2019 to mitigate the health risks associated with exposure to lead, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) hired Woodard & Curran to proactively test its approximately 3,500 drinking water fountains for the presence of lead.

Using GIS data from NYC Parks our team carefully grouped fountains throughout the city’s five boroughs. These groupings improved workflow, organization, and efficiency, allowing field teams to complete the initial round of testing in under five weeks. Field crews were equipped with mobile devices to expedite the recording of data and results with ArcGIS-compatible applications Collector and Survey 123. With fountains located in more than 900 parks across the city’s five boroughs, our team used public transportation between park sites and walked or rented bicycles to navigate the parks.  

Minding Our Bees

This year marked the start of a three-year contract in which Woodard & Curran will design and implement several different pollinator habitat demonstration sites for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Project Scientist Raina Singleton and her team of ecologists are also developing technical guidance and pollinator habitat training for NRCS staff. Demonstration sites represent various geographies in rural and urban settings, forms of agriculture, and conservation practices designed to support native pollinators. Among native bees alone, there’s an estimated 3,500 species who help boost crop yields.

At the Gwinnett Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia, our team is developing an organic pollinator-friendly border around an organic urban vegetable garden. Pollinator plantings along a previously disturbed slope and rain garden swale are pulling double duty by also controlling erosion and naturally increasing stormwater infiltration. At another site, situated on a rural farm in Bristol, Georgia, specific plants were selected to attract pollinators to the farm with hopes to enhance blueberry production.

Leveraging a Landfill

In 2018, city officials in Augusta, Maine voted to put its landfill to work through the design, construction, and implementation of a methane gas to energy system. Hatch Hill Landfill serves more than 40,000 residents in the state’s capital and surrounding communities. New gas wells were installed to supplement the existing underground system of pipes to collect methane produced by decomposing trash. Moisture and contaminants are removed from the gas through a dehydration skid. Once treated methane reaches proper temperature, it is released to fuel a 550-kilowatt generator.

The net metering agreement between the city and the local utility provider will generate credit great enough to offset electric bills for landfill operations, as well as nine city properties that cost the most to power. Augusta anticipates it will recover the initial $3 million investment within 11 years while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nuisance odors. 

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“For all the years W&C has been working at the Billerica WRRF, we have had amazing experience with your company. Whether it is implementing upgrades and going over all the little details, collaborating with industries in town, or working with the EPA on multiple levels as we deal with the permit, aluminum audit and the industrial pre-treatment audit, you have helped us navigate tough issues successfully.”

Jeff Kalmes, Superintendent, Billerica Water Resource Recovery Facility