Most wastewater treatment centers fade into the background and are barely seen or heard about. By contrast, the Brightwater Center in Woodinville, Washington is a high-profile educational facility that brings people together to learn about the many issues that surround wastewater. This LEED Platinum center was established alongside the Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant and it was created by King County, Mithun, Hargreaves Associates, and Streeter & Associates, among many other sustainably minded organizations.
The Brightwater Center is a 15,000-square-foot facility set on over 114 acres that cost around $1.8 billion to build over nearly a decade. Seattle had long left its water untreated, and many of the city’s waterways were polluted. Up until the 1960s, over 40 million gallons of sewage spilled into Lake Washington daily from a pipeline near Discovery Park. Part of King County’s mission for the Brightwater Center is to educate new generations of the importance of treating the city’s wastewater.
Mithun designed this facility to give back to the community it supports while serving as an example of LEED Platinum building. It uses 75% less power and takes advantage of renewable energy sources to provide heat and hot water for the entire building. Daylighting provides the interiors with warmth and a sense of connectivity to the center’s natural surroundings. The interiors are finished with reclaimed wood, polished concrete and insulated concrete masonry units. The center’s sustainable building strategies are shown in educational boards, which also outline the wastewater treatment processes within King County.