Dauphin Island Sea Lab Water Treatment

The Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority recently placed into operation a new Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility with a capacity of 1.3 million gallons per day. The Project represents a long term drinking water quality solution for Dauphin Island. The project was funded through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The 7 million dollar reverse osmosis treatment facility uses state of the art technology to deliver high quality drinking water to the public with extremely efficient, economical equipment. The building itself, designed for LEED Silver certification, will showcase techniques the public can use to save energy and water at their own homes. Improved insulation and “smart” controls on HVAC and lighting reduce energy use within the building. Water conserving plumbing fixtures are made even more efficient by the use of nonpotable water to flush toilets. The landscape was designed to demonstrate low impact site design, and require no irrigation or chemical pesticides and fertilizers once established. Stormwater runoff from the building is absorbed and filtered naturally on site.

The new facility is the first LEED Certified municipal water treatment facility and the largest reverse osmosis water treatment facility in the State of Alabama. The facility serves over 1,900 service connections including the Alabama Marine Science Institution Sea Lab and the thousands of tourist that visit the island every year. “We are very proud to be a part of this project for what it means to the community of Dauphin Island, with providing safe and abundant drinking water, and for the sustainability model it brings to the water treatment industry” said Jim Smith, the lead engineer on the project for Constantine Engineering.

This is the second LEED certified building on the small island. Rebecca Bryant with Watershed, a green consulting company for the Project said “High Performance Green Buildings are becoming much more mainstream in Alabama, but this project is breaking new ground as the first Water Treatment Plant, not only in our state, but in our region, to pursue LEED certification. It makes a lot of sense, for a Water and Sewer Authority to demonstrate responsible stewardship of our natural resources. I hope that other municipalities will follow this great example.”

The visibility of this site as one enters the island makes it an ideal demonstration site for green building practices. Visitors already are drawn to Dauphin Island for the beautiful beaches and birding trails. The addition of two green building demonstration sites makes Dauphin Island one of the most exciting ecotourism destinations along the gulf coast. Public educational tours are available through the Water Authority, in collaboration with the US Green Building Council.

Vaile Feemster, General Manager for Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority said “At a recent open house for the community, we had the chance to show off the new plant and talk about how “their” water is made. And it was nice to be proud of something like this. To be proud and thankful for all the people involved in making it happen.”