The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) awarded the Santa Barbara, Calif., Goleta Water District its Excellence Award for the $20.7 million, Phase 2 upgrade of the 36-mgd Corona del Mar Water Treatment Plant. The design-build project consisted of upgrades, modifications, and new construction to the 35-year-old facility. The district contracted AEC firm MWH for the two-year project, which was completed in 2007.

The district is applying for LEED Gold certification and incorporated many design elements to reach this benchmark, including using materials made of highly renewable resources (such as bamboo or recycled glass), natural lighting through skylights and solar tube skylights, low-VOC paints and adhesives, construction materials containing post-consumer and post-industrial content, and using local manufacturers and suppliers.

“The LAC (laboratory/administration-office/control) building serves as a key fixture for plant tours and will be used to teach visitors about environmentally responsible design and construction and water and energy conservation,” says Diane Jones, director of marketing for MWH Constructors Inc.

Some design elements also decreased energy consumption. For example, a hydraulic flocculator eliminated the need for 30 electrically driven flocculators — saving the district an estimated $21,500 annually in energy costs. Additionally, wastewater and stormwater are treated and used for subsurface irrigation, cutting demand for potable water by half.

Almost all of the water delivered to the Goleta Water District's 80,000 customers is treated at the Corona del Mar plant.