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CITY WATER: Redefining Stormwater Management in the Urban Environment

Sarah E Marshall

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Architecture University of Washington 2011

Program Authorized to Offer Degree: Department of Architecture


University of Washington Graduate School This is to certify that I have examined this copy of a master’s thesis by Sarah E Marshall and have found that it is complete and satisfactory in all respects, and that any and all revisions required by the final examining committee have been made.

Committee Members: ______________________________________________________ Rob Pena ______________________________________________________ Peter Cohan

Date:_______________________________________________________


In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree at the University of Washington, I agree that the Library shall make its copies freely available for inspection. I further agree that extensive copying of this thesis is allowable only for scholarly purposes, consistent with “fair use” as prescribed in the U.S. Copyright Law. Any other reproduction for any purposes or by any means shall not be allowed without my written permission.

Signature

______________________________________________________

Date

______________________________________________________


Table of Contents:

List of Figures

iii

01

Introduction

1

02

Linear Systems

10

03

Closed Loop Systems

20

04

Precedent Studies

26

05

Diverse, Resilient Systems

34

06

Site

40

07

Design

50

08

Conclusions

70

09

References

74

i


ii


List of Figures Figure 2.1 West Point Outfall, 1916 ............................................................................................ Figure 2.2 Water Cycle ............................................................................................................... Figure 2.3 West Point Treatment ................................................................................................. Figure 3.1 Living Building Challenge ........................................................................................... Figure 4.1 Paving Hierarchy ........................................................................................................ Figure 4.2 Harbour Baths ........................................................................................................... Figure 4.3 Kastrup Sea Baths .................................................................................................... Figure 4.4 Streetscape ............................................................................................................... Figure 4.5 Canal System ............................................................................................................ Figure 4.6 Open Stormwater System ......................................................................................... Figure 4.7 Augustenborg ............................................................................................................ Figure 4.8 Canal System, Ă˜restad .............................................................................................. Figure 4.9 Canal, Ă˜restad ........................................................................................................... Figure 4.10 Houtan Park, Shanghai ............................................................................................ Figure 4.11 Houtan Park, Birdseye ............................................................................................. Figure 4.12 Houtan Park Collage ................................................................................................ Figure 5.1 Kids, Lake Washington .............................................................................................. Figure 5.2 Constucted Storage .................................................................................................. Figure 5.3 Natural Storage .......................................................................................................... Figure 5.4 Diverse Flows Diagram ............................................................................................... Figure 5.5 Incremental Diagram .................................................................................................. Figure 5.6 Kirkland Triathlon ........................................................................................................ Figure 6.1 Pier 48 ........................................................................................................................ Figure 6.2 Contextual Site ........................................................................................................... Figure 6.3 Wetland and Stormwater ............................................................................................

10 12 16 20 26 28 28 29 29 30 30 31 31 32 32 33 34 36 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 iii


Figure 6.4 Subsurface Constructed Wetland ........................................................................................ Figure 6.5 Pier 48 Site ........................................................................................................................... Figure 6.6 Elliott Bay Fill ........................................................................................................................ Figure 6.7 Original Waterfront Road ...................................................................................................... Figure 6.8 Dumping 1 ............................................................................................................................ Figure 6.9 Dumping 2 ............................................................................................................................ Figure 6.10 Overflows ............................................................................................................................ Figure 6.11 Tree Cover ........................................................................................................................... Figure 6.12 Building Area ....................................................................................................................... Figure 6.13 Road Area ............................................................................................................................ Figure 6.14 Paved Area .......................................................................................................................... Figure 7.1 Perspective from Boardwalk ................................................................................................. Figure 7.2 Site Users .............................................................................................................................. Figure 7.3 Site Plan ................................................................................................................................. Figure 7.4 Under Deck ............................................................................................................................ Figure 7.5 Above Deck ............................................................................................................................ Figure 7.6 Longitudinal North .................................................................................................................. Figure 7.7 Longitudinal South ................................................................................................................. Figure 7.8 Transverse, Multipurpose ........................................................................................................ Figure 7.9 Transverse, Intertidal .............................................................................................................. Figure 7.10 Transverse, Boat Launch ..................................................................................................... Figure 7.11 Transverse, Pool .................................................................................................................. Figure 7.12 Transverse, Sauna ................................................................................................................ Figure 7.13 Transverse, Diving ................................................................................................................ Figure 7.14 Main Street Section ............................................................................................................. Figure 7.15 Main Street Entry, ................................................................................................................. Figure 7.16 Perspective, Multipurpose .................................................................................................... iv

43 44 45 46 46 46 47 47 48 48 48 50 53 55 56 56 57 57 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 62 63


Figure 7.17 Perspective, Boat Launch ......................................................................................... Figure 7.18 Perspective, Pool ...................................................................................................... Figure 7.19 Perspective, Sauna, .................................................................................................. Figure 7.20 Perspective, Movie Night .......................................................................................... Figure 7.21 Perspective, Under Pier ............................................................................................ Figure 8.1 Elliott Bay ....................................................................................................................

64 65 66 67 68 70

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01 Introduction


Introduction

“Mix one part excreta with 100 parts clean water. Send the mixture through pipes to a central station where billions are spent in futile attempts to separate the two. Then dump the effluent, now poisoned with chemicals but still rich in nutrients, into the nearest body of water. The nutrients feed algae which soon use up all the oxygen in the water, eventually destroying all aquatic life that may have survived the chemical residues.” Sim Van der Ryn, The Toilet Papers

“A bad solution is bad, then, because it acts destructively upon the larger patterns in which it is contained. It acts destructively upon those patterns, most likely, because it is formed in ignorance or disregard of them. A bad solution solves for a single purpose or goal, such as increased production. And it is typical of such solutions that they achieve stupendous increases in production at exorbitant biological and social costs.” Wendell Berry, Solving for Pattern

1


Water management in Seattle is a constantly evolving process. Before 1960, the idea of sewage treatment didn’t even exist here. It was assumed that nature would treat the water, and it was our civil obligation to simply route wastewater out of the city and into the Puget Sound. Our city’s water infrastructure was built as a system for transport. Then, with the passing of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the city began to take on the responsibility of purifying the water before it was deposited in the Sound. This major shift took place directly after another a major change in Seattle’s growth: The construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the central waterfront.

Seventy years later, in 2011, here in Seattle we are about to face a new period of change. Not only is the viaduct scheduled to come down, but the seawall, completed in 1934 is also scheduled to be replaced. This will result in a completely new landscape for the Seattle Central Waterfront. The fact that these two events are scheduled to happen at the same time provides a fortuitous opportunity for Seattle. It is our opportunity and obligation to rebuild not with today’s standards and infrastructure requirements in mind, but to project our minds into the future to imagine what the next 50-100 years of urban water management will be like.

2


Problem Statement

In a city where water is plentiful and rain falls 60% of the days of the year, it is hard to imagine a water crisis. Because water is so plentiful here, we rarely experience any of the water stresses that other climates experience, such as drought or contaminated water supplies. However, in Seattle we are experiencing a crisis, in part because water is so plentiful. Because of combined sewer and stormwater systems, the rate at which we are creating contaminated water often surpasses our ability to purify it. Every time it rains, the rainwater mixes with the blackwater in the sewer, increasing the amount of water that needs to be treated at the treatment facility. In fact, stormwater itself is not really in need of treatment at a sewage treatment plant unless it comes into contact with contaminated substances. Additionally, many of the substances that we knowingly dump into our water system are actually valuable resources on their own. By diluting them in more water, we are actually making them harder to reclaim.

The contaminated water that we do treat is only treated for the removal of large solids and organic materials; little action is taken to remove the other substances that we add to our water supply, such as soaps, detergents, chemical fertilizers, and pollution from automobiles. These chemicals are dumped back into our surrounding 3


waterways, creating increasing concentrations of chemicals in our fresh water supply, and in the Puget Sound. These chemicals are damaging to native plants and animals, and affect the overall health of the ecosystem.

This situation indicates that rather than a water crisis, we actually have a system design crisis. The first problem is that we are treating all wastewater as blackwater, when in reality, water can be classified into many different forms of wastewater.

The second problem is that we are allowing our blackwater systems to mix with other types of wastewater, therefore converting them to blackwater. Blackwater (sewage) treatment facilities rely on a steady flow of sewage to keep the bacteria that perform much of the purification process alive. However, sewage treatment facilities are not prepared to take on the ever changing quantities of water that occur when stormwater is added to the mix.

Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are the third water problem facing the Puget Sound. During the early 20th century, when sewage treatment was nearly nonexistent, stormwater and sewage pipes were shared to save on the amount of infrastructure built by the city. This was during a time when Seattle’s wastewater was simply routed to an outfall into the Puget Sound (located at Discovery Park, where the West Point Treatment plant is 4


today). With the development of sewage treatment practices, new facilities can no longer handle unlimited flows, so during periods of heavy rainfall, the extra sewage (diluted with stormwater) overflows, untreated into the Puget Sound, and other surrounding bodies of water.

The fourth, and perhaps biggest problem is that our least-controllable water source, stormwater, is falling primarily on our most contaminated urban surface: roads. Roads are contaminated mostly by pollution from automobile use, though other contaminants such as fertilizers can be found there as well.

Currently, the oceans and waterways that are our dumping grounds for end of the ‘loop’ waste products, are a valuable resource for us. They cultivate our food (most of the planet depends on fish as its primary source of protein). Urban waterways also provide an opportunity for bathing and recreation and an invaluable connection to our natural surroundings. Most urban waterways are being degraded at an alarming rate.

Our water system in Seattle is in need of an upgrade. Current water treatment practices are incomplete and often at a scale that is easy to ignore. Much of our water systems are invisible (underground), creating an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality. The treatment system is prone to failure (overflow). 5


Delimitations

The existing wastewater infrastructure, which I will be evaluating as a Linear System, was built for a completely different purpose than it serves now, one that was designed to transport water from the city quickly, without treatment. All wastewater was treated equally, with most of the clean-up work left to nature, and resources that were put into the system were abandoned.

Another approach to water treatment, which I will define as a Closed Loop System, recognize rainwater for the resource that it is. Living Building Challenge and other net-zero building approaches attempt to make use of only water that falls on site, and treat all wastewater on site. Exceptions to these rules include water that must come from potable sources (drinking water, shower water), and sewage (which currently consists of water from the toilet, washing machine, kitchen sink).

The conventional classifications for wastewater are: stormwater, greywater, and blackwater. However, for the purposes of this thesis, I will divide stormwater into 2 categories: clean stormwater (collected from rooftops, and other relatively clean surfaces) and dirty stormwater (collected in urban roadways and other impervious surfaces). 6


These two types of stormwater can be handled in very different ways. Clean stormwater could easily be purified and used for a number of applications, such as flushing toilets, and perhaps even showering. However, contaminated stormwater should be treated before being discharged into natural waterways.

The concept of “continued degradation� is an issue addressed by this thesis. A system is unsustainable if the output is of lesser value than the input. In order to improve the quality of effluent that enters our urban waterways, we must design systems that are diverse and resilient, with a goal of overall health of the system, and not just its visible components.

Thesis Proposal

The Seattle Central Waterfront has the potential to lay the foundation for improved water quality in the Puget Sound. The viaduct must be removed, and the seawall must be replaced. With this new development, it is essential that we embrace the possibility of new approaches to water use and treatment, and lay the groundwork for building on those systems now. The next big opportunity for change may not present itself for another 70 years. 7


The Central Waterfront serves as the most visible and public boundary between land and water in Seattle. By creating a new approach to water management here, it will serve as an impetus to improving our urban waterways. This thesis proposes a series of constructed wetlands along the waterfront to treat contaminated stormwater, an open stormwater system to transport stormwater to the waterfront, and a bathing facility at the site of Pier 48. The program for the bathing facility will accommodate both a community of public bathers, as well as provide an opportunity for divers, small craft boaters, and eventually swimmers to access Elliott Bay as water quality improves. This facility will create the opportunity for Seattleites and visitors to take ownership over the quality of water in the Puget Sound.

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9


02 Linear System

Figure 2.1 Original Sewage Outfall at Discovery Park, 1916 10


Seattle’s system

The notion of a linear system presumes both a beginning and an end. In the case of water, this beginning is often a reservoir or a watershed that feeds into a purification plant that supplies clean, potable water to an urban district for all of it’s water needs. These needs can vary from irrigation, to cooking, bathing and flushing. Water is cleaned to meet the highest standard of demand, and then the public uses it, and essentially pays for what’s leftover. The end of the system is the outfall, where treated water is dumped in a natural setting where it presumably evaporates and begin the whole cycle all over again.

Here in Seattle, we are lucky to have a seemingly-ideal water system: plentiful water fed by a pristine watershed in the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range. This system fulfills everything we know about the natural water cycle. Water evaporates from the ocean, forms clouds which are blown inland until they hit the mountains, where they release moisture in the form of rain and snow, which then trickles down over, quality relatively unhindered by the natural setting, and is stored in reservoirs where it will eventually be used by the citizens of Seattle and treated at the West Point Treatment Plant at Discovery Park, the South Treatment Plant in Renton, or eventually the Brightwater Treatment Plant near Woodinville, all of which will release the effluent at a marine outfalls on the Puget Sound. Is it 11


Figure 2.2 Water Cycle Diagram really the whole story? What is added to the water? Is anything removed along the way? Here is a breakdown of the path water takes from the mountains to the ocean in King County, Washington.

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Phase 1: Purification, “From Mountain Forests to Faucet”

Water accumulates in the moutains as a combination of snow and rain. Runoff flows into the Cedar River, and is is stored in two major reservoirs, the Masonry Pool and Chester Morse Lake. This water (~8 million gallons per day in December, annual average 1.24 million gallons per day) is directed to a powerplant at Cedar Falls which captures hydroelectric energy and was originally built to serve Seattle City Light.

After using the resource of moving water as a source of energy, the water is directed back into the Cedar River, where it travels to the Landsberg dam, where the water is split into two different paths. One path (an average of 22% of the water) travels through a series of cleaning processes to become drinking water. The other 78% of the water is allowed to flow naturally, and is used to maintain salmon habitat along the river, which travels through Lake Washington, Lake Union, and eventually reaches the Puget Sound via the Chittenden Locks.

The 22% of water that does get treated to drinking water quality is first filtered through a screen to remove large objects, such as sticks and leaves. After that, the water is chlorinated to kill bacteria and viruses. Then the water is fluoridated to protect the teeth of Seattle’s citizens. Next, the water is ozonated to prevent Giardia, and improve 13


the flavor of the water. The water is also treated with ultra-violet light to kill chlorine resitant microbial organisms. Lastly, the pH is adjusted through the addition of lime, which helps control corrosion, especially in older lead pipes. Finally, the water is fit to travel to Seattle, where it may or may not be used as drinking water.

Phase 2: Consumption

Water travels to Seattle where it is distributed via an underground system of pipes. Water uses can generally be classified as domestic, commercial, and industrial, though average daily consumption per person in the US is 151 gallons. That is the highest national average in the world, and more than double the national average for most countries. It is only recommended that we drink half a gallon of water per day. That means that less than 1% of the water we use actually goes into our bodies. It is important to question the quality standard for our other water uses. Where should we draw the line for potable water? Should shower water be potable water? Handwashing? Rinsing vegetables? Boiling spaghetti? Watering the lawn? Washing the dog?

One of the most interesting parts of this thesis is examining our expectations as a community for water quality. It is 14


currently expected in most communities that if flushing toilets with non-potable water, the bathroom should have a sign indicating that the water is unsafe for human consumption. How did we get to this point, as a society, that we expect the water that we defacate into to be fit for human consumption? To take this question one step further, one might ask why we defacate into a bowl of water in the first place.

Phase 3: Sewage Treatment Plant

Once water leaves your house, or workplace, it becomes sewage, or blackwater. Blackwater refers to water that has been contaminated with fecal matter, but in this case includes all waste water from the home, because fecal matter is immediately introduced to all other kinds of wastewater in the sewage pipe. Additionally, much of the stormwater from Seattle (which is generally collected via stormwater drains in the roadway) is also diverted to the sewer lines, which travel to the treatment Facility. During winter months (at West Point Treatment Facility), stormwater accounts for over half (53%) of the water that makes its way to the facility. Of the remaining 47%, 29% comes from residential sources, 17% from commercial sources, and 1% from industrial sources.

Once the water reaches the sewage treatment plant, it is a raging river of 144 million gallons per day on average, 15


for a wet winter day. Maximum capacity is 440 million gallons, and is regularly reached during stormy conditions. Compare that to an average of 1.24 million gallons per day at the Cedar Falls powerplant, and you may see an underutilized potential for harnessing hydroelectric power at the treatment plant. However, the sewage treatment plant is currently unable to use the energy produced by this flow in part due to the large amount of extra debri and garbage that finds its way into the sewers.

On days when the maximum capacity is exceded due to stormy conditions, CSOs must go into effect. There are 151 CSO locations in Seattle, and they vary in their frequency of discharge: some discharge almost every time it

Figure 2.3 West Point Treatment Diagram 16


rains. Others only discharge during the most extreme winter storms. In either case, the water that is discharging is untreated sewage that is harmful to plant and animal life in the water.

As for the water that does reach the plant, it goes through a series of treatments:

Preliminary Treatment: Incoming water is filtered for removal of large solids and foreign objects, such as leaves, trash, etc.

Primary Treatment: The water goes through a skimming and settling process and ends with the removal of sludge (heavy solids that accumulate on the bottom) and scum (lightweight materials that accumulate on the surface). The sludge is transported to an anaerobic digesting process that breaks it down into a fertilizer.

Secondary Treatment: The water moves on to a biological process using bacteria that removes suspended and dissolved organic materials, and leaves the water at least 85% cleaner than it was when it entered the plant.

Disinfection: The water is disinfected with chlorine to kill any remaining pathogens. It is then dechlorinated and 17


released as effluent into the Puget Sound via a deep water outfall with a 600 ft. diffuser.

Conclusion

The linear system would work beautifully if the effluent of the treatment process were really just water. Unfortunately, the reality is that the effluent of the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant is treated only for the removal of large solids and organic waste. Many chemicals and detergents that go into the system are still present on the other side of the process. This linear approach to water treatment results in continued degredation of the body of water that receives the effluent.

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03 Closed-Loop System

Figure 3.1: Living Building Challenge Diagram 20


Living Building Challenge and Net-Zero

New benchmarks in sustainable design are paving the way for closed-loop systems. Programs such as Living Building Challenge and other net-zero, site-based building strategies are aimed at working with the resources available on a given site. Calling a system a closed loop, indicates that all water used on site should come from the site, usually in the form of captured rainwater. All energy consumed on site should be produced on site. In the case of single building sites, this scale can greatly limit the amount of water available for use in the building, especially when applied in dry climates.

According to the Living Building Challenge, there are two requirements for water:

1. One hundred percent of occupants’ water use must come from captured precipitation or closed loop water systems that account for downstream ecosystem impacts and that are appropriately purified without the use of chemicals.

2. One hundred percent of storm water and building water discharge must be managed onsite to feed the 21


project’s internal water demands or released onto adjacent sites for management through acceptable natural time-scale surface flow, groundwater recharge, agricultural use or adjacent building needs.

However, these two guidelines are amended as follows: • This Imperative may be attempted using the Scale Jumping design overlay, which endorses the implementation of solutions beyond the building scale that maximize ecological benefit while maintaining selfsufficiency at the city block, neighborhood, or community scale. For more information on Scale Jumping, refer to the User’s Guide. • There is an exception for water that must be from potable sources due to local health regulations, including sinks, faucets and showers but excluding irrigation, toilet flushing, janitorial uses and equipment uses. However, due diligence to comply with this Imperative must be demonstrated by filing an appeal(s) with the appropriate agency (or agencies). • An exception is made for an initial water purchase to get cisterns topped off. A Living Building only buys water once. • Acceptable onsite storm water management practices are defined in the User’s Guide. Municipal storm sewer solutions do not qualify. For Building projects that have a F.A.R. equal to or greater than 1.5 in Transects L5 22


or L6, a conditional exception may apply, which allows some water to leave the site at a reduced rate and depends on site and soil conditions and the surrounding development context. Greater flexibility is given to projects with higher densities. Refer to the User’s Guide for more detailed information.

Some limitations of a closed loop approach are that currently, a large amount of water use onsite is still dependent on municipal (linear) systems due to code requirements for potable water. Exceptions are also made for sewage, which must be treated by a certified treatment facility. In other words, under current building requirements, Living Building Challenge only really addresses the possibility of capturing rainwater for use in flush toilets and irrigation. In fact, infiltration requirements are such that a large portion of the outdoor space on site will need to be devoted to infiltration of excessive stormwater. This goal may be achievable at smaller scales, but in some cases the goal of creating exposed rooftop surface area in order to harvest sunlight for solar power may conflict with a desire to eliminate impervious surfaces for better retention and infiltration of water on site.

Scale Jumping is a concept incorporated into the Living Building Challenge that allows some of these site strategies to be achieved by systems that operate at a larger scale than the site they are serving, as long as they 23


can be proven to be of equal or greater ecological benefit than smaller, site based approaches. For example, one might argue that in Seattle where sunlight is limited solar panels might not be the most efficient source of energy. They are expensive to produce and they occupy a lot of valuable space on a high performance site. Yet solar panels are one of the only power sources that are affordable and scalable to the needs of a single, small structure. Could one make the case that here in the Pacific Northwest, another power source is more efficient in the long run?

One of the largest downfalls of a single site-based approach to water is that most sites, under our current ownership practices, consist of a single parcel, or multiple parcels that are bounded on one or more sides by public rights-of-way: sidewalks, alleys and roads. Most of these impervious surfaces are owned and maintained by the city. These surfaces drain to storm drains in the street, and meet up with the combined sewer system, which leads to overflows. Even if we covered every parcel in Seattle with a Living Building Challenge approach to water, there would still be an overflow problem during storm conditions.

Another question that should be posed about most net zero approaches to water: Is infiltration always the most appropriate solution for stormwater? Currently in Seattle, there are three ways to deal with stormwater. 1. It 24


may enter a combined sewage system and be treated at the sewage treatment plant, except for during overflow conditions. 2. It may go down a separated system and be discharged into local waterways with little or no treatment. 3. It may get infiltrated on site as is the case with Seattle’s Roadside Rain Gardens in Ballard, and with most net zero sites.

Infiltrating water on site is appropriate in a rural or suburban setting, where site conditions allow for absorption. However, in an urban setting such as downtown Seattle, the conditions for infiltration are nearly nonexistent, the surfaces that collect water (roadways) are polluted, and the waterway that receives the runoff is literally just down the street, so pollutants that enter the groundwater will go straight into the Puget Sound. It may be that the best solution in an urban setting is to treat stormwater for the removal of contaminants before sending it into the ground or water.

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04 Precedent Studies

Figure 4.1: Paving Hierarchy, Western Harbour, Malmรถ,Sweden 26


Open Stormwater Systems, Wetlands, and Bathing

During this thesis process, I had the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark and MalmĂś, Sweden to research innovative water systems there. One popular trend in European water management right now is the “open stormwater system,â€? which is essentially a series of open gutters or canals that are built within or next to public rights-of way.

The benefits of these systems include the ability to incorporate natural features into the gutter, such as swales, ponds, and permeable pavers that provide opportunities to slow, filter, infiltrate or detain some of the water. Another benefit is improved accessibility. If a problem such as a clog occur, the maintenance work can be performed by those who occupy buildings nearby, rather than relying on a professional. Open systems provide more opportunity for public interaction with water, and creativity in the way we represent water in the urban realm.

Other precedent studies include an constructed wetland design, and the water quality alert network that makes urban swimming a possibility in some Scandinavian cities.

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1. Bathing in Copenhagen Fifteen years ago, the harbor in downtown Copenhagen was too dirty to swim in. Industrial practices, and a combined sewer system led to a harbor that posed a public health risk.

By making a decision to swim in the harbor, the city defined its standard for urban water quality. Over 10 Figure 4.2: A Harbour Bath, Copenhagen, Denmark years, reservoirs were built to control combined sewer overflows, and an online alert system developed so that bathing in the harbor could become a reality. Bathers can monitor water quality from their homes.

Other factors that contribute to ease of public bathing in Scandinavia: access to public transportation, places to warm up/clean up, places to change clothes. 28

Figure 4.3: Kastrup Sea Baths, Copenhagen, Denmark


2. Western Harbour, Malmรถ, Sweden BO01, the first phase of a new mixed use neighborhood on the waterfront in Malmรถ is a neighborhood that has embraced an innovative way of dealing with stormwater. The neighborhood uses an open stormwater system to capture rain water and whisks it into a series of canals that retain and filter the water before it is released into the ร˜resund Sound. Figure 4.4: Streetscape, Western Harbour, Malmรถ, Sweden

The greatest strength of this scheme is the extremely detailed hierarchy of pavers that clearly dictate rightof-way for all types of traffic. Bumpy pavers prevent bicycles from driving into the gutters, metal panels cover gutters at intersections, and indicate where water crosses the street. A larger system of canal become backyard gardens for the inhabitants.

Figure 4.5: Canal System, Western Harbour, Malmรถ, Sweden 29


3. Augustenborg, Malmรถ, Sweden The open stormwater system at Augustenborg takes a similar approach to the system at the Western Harbour, however this project was done with smaller budget. The neighborhood is a flood prone combined-sewer area, composed of outdated low-income housing that was suffering from high tenant turnover rates and crime. A local artist designed the gutters, and the goal of this Figure 4.6: Open Storm System, Malmรถ, Sweden system is 100% on-site infiltration (currently at 70%).

Strengths of this system are an incremental approach that allows the system to be expanded as funds allow, and planned flood zones that are dry amphitheaters in the summer, but become ponds in the winter. Additional benefits include longer tenancies and improved living conditions for the neighborhood. 30

Figure 4.7: Augustenborg, Malmรถ, Sweden


3. Ørestad, Copenhagen, Denmark Ørestad is a growing neighborhood in Copenhagen that has earned a reputation as a futuristic suburb that is just a 10 minute metro ride from downtown Copenhagen. The area is criticized for being built at a scale that is too large for pedestrians. This neighborhood also uses an open series of canals to handle stormwater.

Figure 4.8: Canal System, Ørestad, Copenhagen Ørestad, despite criticism, does take a unique stance in its treatment of stormwater. This neighborhood separates water into three categories: sewage, clean stormwater, and road runoff. Sewage is treated at the treatment plant, stormwater from roofs and other “clean” surfaces is diverted directly into canals, while runoff from roads is sent to an experimental filtration system before it meets the canal.

Figure 4.9: Canal System, Ørestad, Copenhagen 31


4. HOutan park, Shanghai expo, China The constructed wetland at Houtan Park in Shanghai was a precedent study for how Seattle could deal with water purification along its waterfront. The linear park along the water is 1 mile long, and varies from 30-100 ft. wide. This scale is very similar to that of the waterfront.

Houtan Park wetland is able to treat 500,000 gallons of Figure 4.10: Houtan Park, Shanghai, China polluted water today, an amount which far surpasses the amount of stormwater discharged on the Seattle waterfront (2.1 million gallons/year). However given better stormwater management practices in Seattle the amount of stormwater in need of treatment could potentially raise significantly, so Houtan Park serves as a example for what could be achieved if measures were taken to treat more stormwater in Seattle. 32

Figure 4.11: Houtan Park birdseye, Shanghai, China


Figure 4.12: Houtan Park Collage, Shanghai, China 33


05 Diverse, Resilient Systems

Figure 5.1: Kids Waiting to Swim in Lake Washington 34


Approaches to Water Management

In Scandinavia, sustainable developments that address environmental health of both land and water are called “green and blue�. Blue refers to measures that help protect water quality adjacent to urban areas. Here, the strengths outlined in the precedent studies from the last chapter are compiled into a series of traits that contribute to the creation of diverse, resilient systems. They are systems that: posess ample storage, address diverse flows, can be built upon incrementally, and impart a sense of ownership on the surrounding community.

These traits represent lenses through which Seattle should address stormwater while rebuilding on the waterfront. While Denmark and Sweden differ from the US greatly in the way they address ownership of public space and infrastructure, there are some universal concepts that can be derived by studying their model.

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Storage: Constructed or Natural?

Sometimes it is assumed, in the design of urban spaces, that it is the role of the landscape to mitigate stormwater that falls on a site, sending whatever is leftover into the storm drain. However, in a dense urban area such as downtown Seattle, there is simply not enough open space to infiltrate the amount of stormwater we receive during winter months. If the city is serious about addressing overflows, constructed solutions for water storage will have to be considered.

Figure 5.2: Constructed

Storage for water can come in a infinite number of shapes and sizes: Cisterns, water towers, rain water barrels, planter beds, green roofs and walls. All of these systems were really designed to slow or stop the flow of water. Storage of clean stormwater can be used to help Seattlites make it through the dry summer without stressing the municipal system for non-potable demands. Storage for sewage and contaminated stormwater can help to control the rate at which water is released to treatment systems which are prone to overflows. 36

Figure 5.3: Natural Storage


Content: Diverse Flows

In most cases our water systems carry more than water. By segregating flows by the type of materials they carry, these materials become easier to reclaim because it doesn’t take additional money to separate them further down the line. In some cases, a resource may be the water itself. Moving water is a resource that can provide hydroelectric power. Hot water can provide heat. For the purposes of this thesis, I have defined three separate flows: clean stormwater, contaminated stormwater, and blackwater.

Clean stormwater, collected from roofs, and other clean surfaces requires little treatment before it can be used for non-potable applications. Runoff from roads contains contaminants that are harmful to people and marine life, however most municipal treatment are designed for the removal of large solids and organic materials; they do not directly address these contaminants. Municipal treatment plants handle blackwater well, except when overloaded with stormwater.

Figure 5.4: Diverse Flows Diagram 37


Incremental

An expensive system that must be built all at once, with little room for expansion has little chance of making it past the drawing boards. For Seattle to take a new approach to water treatment in the public realm, the system would have to able to be built upon in pieces. This thesis proposes that components of the project be built while other construction is already taking place.

The basis for water treatment, constructed wetlands, should be constructed along the waterfront while it is being upgraded. However, the notion of creating a network of open stormwater systems that feed into these wetlands can be implemented in a variety of different ways. It is probable that almost every street in downtown Seattle will need some sort of maintenance work within the lifetime of the new waterfront. It would make sense, then, to wait to transform the street until it is in need of maintenance. 38

Figure 5.5: Incremental Diagram


Public Ownership

This component addresses the role of cultural infrastructure in maintaining a healthy water system. Unfortunately, this component is often overlooked. Inviting the public to enjoy the water they are spending their taxes to clean makes a strong

Figure 5.6: Kirkland Triathlon

statement about our expectations for the built environment. Building a bathing facility on Seattles urban waterfront informs the public that we should be able to swim here.

This is not an entirely unfamiliar story for Seattle. In the mid-1900’s, Lake Washington was so contaminated you could not swim in it. It was the site of numerous CSOs, as well as a former landfill. However, when a photo circulated of young children standing beside the lake in their swimming gear, next to a sign reading “WARNING: Polluted Water” interest in cleaning up the lake was fueled. Today, the lakeshore is lined with bathing facilities. The benefits of this transformation go beyond the use of the swimming facilities. The entire lake has seen improvements based on this effort.

39


06 Site

Figure 6.1: Pier 48 40


Contextual Site

The contextual site for this thesis is the CSO basin for the downtown Seattle area. This means that a majority of the site is served by combined sewage systems; during heavy rainfall there is the possibility of overflow into the Puget Sound. Improving stormwater management at this site is extremely important to the health of Seattle’s waterways, yet has been largely ignored by initiatives to improve stormwater management in Seattle. “Green solutions won’t work in all areas because of Seattle’s hilly topography, the width of certain streets, and soil conditions, among other factors.”

Figure 6.2: Contextual Stie

Downtown Seattle faces many barriers to providing green infrastructure for stormwater. Composed almost entirely of impervious surfaces, with steeply sloped streets, the possibility of infiltrating water here is unlikely. Some proposals for solutions to this problem include off-site storage for stormwater that allows combined system overflow to be held, and slowly released to the treatment plant during rainy weather. Most recently, with plans for the new Seattle Central Waterfront underway, there has been a proposal for a large pipe to be placed under the surface highway that will 41


replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This pipe will serve as a reservoir and will function in much the same way as an off-site storage reservoir would have.

Water Transport and Treatment

With construction on the new Seattle Central Waterfront and the seawall replacement project looming on Seattle’s horizon, it is important that the new waterfront serve as a site for a more innovative system for water treatment. This thesis proposes a series of subsurface constructed wetlands to be built along the new Seattle Central Waterfront to filter stormwater before it is released into the Puget Sound.

A subsurface constructed wetland is an appropriate treatment solution for

Figure 6.3: Wetland and Open Stormwater Route

urban stormwater because it is a controlled system that allows evaluation of both influent and effluent. It is a living system that relies on sedimentation, sand and gravel filters, and a planted substrate to remove contaminants from the water. Plants can be selected to address contaminants that are specific to certain areas, and can be 42


modified over time. This system does not rely on infiltration, but instead allows water to flow through an orchestrated series of wetland beds, before being discharged into a receiving waterway. The water travels below the surface of the bed,

Figure 6.4: Subsurface Constructed Wetland Diagram

so the water is never visible, though the plants roots can tap into the water. The design goal of using a subsurface constructed wetland is to make the path of the water visible in the urban realm. Even though the actual water is below the surface, visually the plants signal that there is water below the surface.

This thesis also proposes a series of open stormwater channels in the roadway to convey water to the wetland. The benefits of using an open system for conveying stormwater are ease of maintenance, the ability to build upon it incrementally, and it creates a visible separation from the traditional sewage system.

Traditional sewage systems, buried beneath roadways and buildings, require intensive construction to make changes. 43


With an open system, problems are more easily resolved, and maintenance can even be left in the hands of those who own property near them (in much the same way home owners are expected to clear the storm drains in front of their property) rather than a professional crew.

An open system can be made up of a series of special pavers that are designed to transport water, slow it down, filter leaves, water plant beds, etc... Using paved pathways to illustrate the flow of water through the city can activate the edges of the street, areas that are often unused, and full of litter. The details of this system can differ depending on the character of the street, and are open to interpretation and design as the system expands.

Pier 48 Bathing Facility

As a part of the new Seattle Central Waterfront, this thesis proposes a bathing facility for Pier 48. This pier, for a long time a part of Seattle’s industrial waterfront, is nearing the end of its useful life. The warehouse that used to occupy the pier has been torn down, and the paved surface 44

Figure 6.5: Pier 48 Site


is to be used as a staging site for the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Though not entirely condemned, the wooden piles that the pier is built upon are decomposing. Many proposals for the future of this site have encouraged capping the pier as a public park space. However, this would be a conservative approach, considering other possibilities of this site.

Because of the shallowness of this site, it is one of the few areas where a more natural edge to the waterfront can be created. Habitat for marine creatures is already severely limited on Seattle’s waterfront, due to the expansive structures that block out light, and limited shallow zones for organisms that require access to both land and light. The creation of an intertidal zone (a place that is under water at high tide, but exposed at low tide) would be an asset to marine habitat, as well as an engaging zone for the public to interact with the water more intimately. Therefore, this thesis proposes the removal of the pier’s concrete top, with the deteriorating piles left mostly intact. Figure 6.6: Diagram of Fill, Elliott Bay 45


History The story of Seattle’s waterfront is a complex and violent one. The creation of the urban landscape consisted of massive land-moving projects. The Denny regrade was a chapter in which Denny Hill was torn down and dumped into the bay. Over time, Seattle’s shoreline expanded to fill in the former tidelands of Elliott Bay. Although this Figure 6.7: Original Waterfront area is perceived as solid ground, in reality much of the shoreline is a liquefaction zone, so any construction that happens along the waterfront must be built on a pile system as if building over water. Figure 6.8: Denny Regrade Dumping 1 In fact, when Seattleites first started building along the waterfront, the roads were built as a wooden boardwalk, consisting of wooden piles and a wooden deck, with the water still visible between the lanes. Over time, the standards for the urban realm shifted, and a concrete landscape emerged. Figure 6.9: Denny Regrade Dumping 2 46


The completion of the seawall in 1934, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 1966 were two moments in history that marked Seattle Central Waterfront’s transition to a paved landscape. The seawall was built in the water on a system of wooden piles, then filled in to the east. This act defined the area that we now know as Alaskan Way.

Site Conditions

Figure 6.10: Overflows

Figure 6.11: Tree Cover

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Figure 6.12: Building Area, 50%

Figure 6.13: Road Area, 25%

Figure 6.14: Paved Area, 50%

Site Precipitation

Seattle, in the winter, receives an average of 5-6 inches per rain (Dec-Feb). During extreme conditions, these numbers can double. The site of the CSO basin for downtown Seattle receives about 10.2 billion gallons of rain during the month of December alone. However, recent statistics from James Corner Field Operations and the 48


waterfront project say that only 2.1 million gallons of stormwater (not including CSO overflow) are discharged at this site per year. This indicates that the majority of stormwater in downtown Seattle is going into combined systems.

49


07 Design

Figure 7.1 Perspective from Boardwalk

50


Program

The program components I am proposing to support the creation of diverse, resilient water systems will consist of several interventions that can affect the way we address water in the urban environment at every step of the water supply and treatment process. I will address these steps through the lenses defined in the previous chapter: storage, diversity, increment, and public ownership.

The first program component will be a subsurface constructed wetland system for treating road runoff. Presumably, most stormwater that falls in Seattle is relatively clean, and can be used in graywater applications such as flushing toilets, irrigation, and even routed to urban waterways. Unfortunately, our current method of capturing water via storm drains set in paved surfaces on or near roadways allows large quantities of contaminants to enter an otherwise efficient transportation method. By reducing stormwater flows via on-site storage, and graywater uses, and diverting the flow of clean stormwater away from roadways we can reduce the number of contaminants that enter storm drains. However, there will still be some quantity of contaminated stormwater that will require filtration in this system.

The second program component will be a series of open stormwater routes that carry water to the constructed 51


wetland. This thesis will provide some examples for ways in whic this system could be implemented, however the idea is that each street can take a personalized approach to water collection and transport.

The final program component of this thesis will be a public bathing facilty that provides access to the water along the waterfront, and encourages swimming. The facility will incorporate an outdoor Elliott Bay swimming area, a wading/exploration zone, a tempered seawater swimming pool, a boat launch, a diving platform, an outdoor seating/sunbathing area, and covered outdoor seating. Conditioned spaces will include a multipurpose space with administration office/reception area, kitchenette and a flexible program space that can accomodate group activities, camps, etc. Unconditioned spaces include locker rooms, showers, 2 saunas, equipment storage for small craft boats, bikes, and other gear.

Users

This bathing pier is designed as a public site. The goal of this pier is that every surface of the deck is occupiable. So many of the piers on Seattle’s Waterfront boast great, views, yet most of the space is privately owned, so that to enjoy the views one has to go to a restaurant or shop. The intention is that by creating an open and inviting 52


space, that provides some privacy for those needing to change into their swimming gear, the space regulates Scuba divers

itself. There are no fully enclosed public spaces, the bathrooms are coed, without full height walls. The

Commuters

Small craft boaters

showers are also coed, with bathing attire encouraged. Tourists

The idea is to provide the bare minimum level of privacy needed to enjoy the space, without allowing enough

Families Transient Population

privacy for illicit behaviors to occur. Swimmers

Materials

Figure 7.2 Site Users

This design project addresses the way we build on and around water. It questions the use of concrete as the default for urban spaces, and suggests that other, permeable materials could be appropriate for a variety of reasons.

The main material used for the Pier 48 bathing facility is a metal grate. The metal grate is used primarily to allow light 53


and water to pass through the structure. Shoreline habitats can only thrive where the water is shallow and receives ample sunlgiht. Unfortunately in Elliott Bay, the shoreline currently consists of a densely built series of piers, with little solar access, and almost no shallow water zones. This site attempts to recreate a more gradual, natural shorline, even underneath the pier structure.

In parts of the bathing facility where people may walk barefoot, adjacent to certain swimming zones, the metal grate is replaced with a wood deck. The wood deck is used very sparely in order to allow light to penetrate and preserve the habitat zones beneath the pier.

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Figure 7.3 Site Plan 55


5

3

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32

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128

Figure 7.4 Under Deck

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1. Kayak Storage 2. Showers 3. Lockers 4. Toilets 5. Changing Rooms 6. Sauna

7. Boat Launch 8. Heated Pool 9. Diving Platform 10. Sun Deck 11. Multipurpose Room 12. Private Office

13. Administrative Office 14. Kitchen 15. Solar Roof 16. Water Roof 17. Bike Storage 18. Intertidal Zone

Figure 7.5 Above Deck 56


1ST AVE

ALASKAN WAY

Figure 7.6 Longitudinal Section North

64

128

256

ALASKAN WAY

1ST AVE

1ST AVE

1ST AVE

ALASKAN WAY

ALASKAN WAY

Figure 7.7 Longitudinal Section South

64

128

256

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Figure 7.8 Transverse Section, Multipurpose Room

Figure 7.9 Transverse Section, Intertidal Zone 58

16

32

64

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32

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Figure 7.10 Transverse Section, Boat Launch

16

32

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Figure 7.11 Transverse Section, Tempered Pool

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32

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Figure 7.12 Transverse Section, Sauna

Figure 7.13 Transverse Section, Diving Platform 60

16

32

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32

64


Figure 7.14 Main Street Section, at Occidental Park

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Figure 7.15 Main Street Section, at Alaskan Way 62


Figure 7.16 Perspective, Multipurpose Room in the Rain 63


Figure 7.17 Perspective, Toward Boat Launch 64


Figure 7.18 Perspective, From Tempered Pool 65


Figure 7.19 Perspective, From Sauna 66


Figure 7.20 Perspective, Night Movie and Civic Space 67


Figure 7.21 Perspective, Kayaking Under Pier 68


69


08 Conclusions

Figure 9.1: Elliott Bay 70


Summary

This thesis sought to recreate an infrastructure for stormwater in the dense, urban area of downtown Seattle during a time when change is imminent. While exploring alternatives to traditional infrastructure for municipal water, it became apparent that perhaps the most affective design solution was the role of human infrastructure for appreciating and understanding the outcome of the water purification process.

The idea of an educational or interpretive center that explains process is one way to approach this concept. However, this approach skirts the real issue at stake, which is: “How clean is this water, really?” and replaces it with information about natural processes and diagrams. The only honest way to answer the question of quality is to ask yourself: “Would I drink it?” or “Would I swim in it?” These questions get to the heart of the issue because, if it’s not clean enough for you or me, is it really clean enough for anyone else?

The resulting design is for a bathing facility, a slice of a constructed wetland along the water’s edge, as well as a diagram for how to begin removing stormwater flows from the combined sewer system. The bathing facility seeks to remake the site of Pier 48, formerly a warehouse, which marks the transition from industrial waterfront to a 71


recreational waterfront. The wetland and graded entry along the Pier 48 site illustrates way in which we can consider restoring more natural edges to the water.

Review

The final review for this project brought up areas where the design had succeeded, as well as some areas that could have been developed further. The parts of the project that were received as most successful were the ideas about giving more space to natural landscapes in what is currently primarily a concrete landscape. The approaches to collecting and treating stormwater were received as significantly better than our current method for dealing with stormwater. Another issue that was well received was the scale of the bathing facility, which is quite large; though when viewed in the context of the rest of the waterfront (ferries, shipping containers, and cranes) the scale is quite appropriate. The project not only succeeds as means of gracefully accessing the water, but also asserts itself as a civic space on the waterfront.

One area that could have been developed further is the superstructure that supports components of this project. The sun roof and rain roof worked as concepts, though more meaning would be brought to the structure by showing how 72


pipes and other utilities were integrated into the frame. Another area that could have been more developed was the entry from the waterfront boardwalk zone. While the linear progression from east to west through the city onto the pier was well articulated, the north/south entry appears as an afterthought.

Conclusions

When I began this project, I really thought it would be about addressing the streetscape of downtown Seattle, and it still is, in part. However, once I started researching approaches to stormwater in Scandinavia, I realized that most cases where significant improvements had been made to urban water quality were places where people had a strong cultural desire to get in the water. I truly believe that Seattleites have the same desire. The question of this thesis shifted, then, to: What are the minimum comforts required for people to actually take the plunge? Is it proximity to public transit? Impeccably clean water? Access to warm showers? A place to lock up valuables? Is the water in the Puget Sound really too cold for swimming? Open water triathlons, saunas, and polar bear clubs have me convinced that people see the chill as more of a challenge than a barrier. While the premise of this thesis, that we should lay the groundwork for the future of stormwater in Seattle while we are rebuilding the waterfront, remains unchanged, I believe that the resulting design was a surprise that unfolded throughout the process. 73


09 References

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turenscape.com/English/projects/project.php?id=443 >


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Sarah Marshall Thesis