Water Treatment Plant Receives LEED Certification

Ames, IA

Congratulations to the city of Ames! The city received notification that their water treatment plant has achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified status.

  • With LEED, the city achieves the benefits of energy efficiency, sound environmental stewardship, a building environment that promotes worker health and safety, and use of local sources of supply.

As the lead engineering firm for this $70+ million project, FOX Engineering was responsible for management of the project from planning phase to construction completion. In addition, FOX completed process design and site design elements.

Balancing competing internal needs against potential costs and the need to contain customer water rates is always a demanding effort and this project was no exception. A unique objective was to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification of the facility, which qualified the project for approximately $6.5 million in forgivable loans through the State Revolving Loan Fund LEED Green Project Reserve. This is a significant reduction in the city’s total loan.

There are only three LEED Certified water treatment plants in Iowa, and FOX was the design engineer for all three. We completed the LEED process for water treatment plants in two other Iowa client cities; like Ames, they were also successful in receiving forgivable loans: Humboldt: $590,274 and Shenandoah: $1,697,100.

While this forgivable loan program was available only in 2011, the engineers at FOX make funding – both loans and grants – a routine part of their project research. Being knowledgeable about funding and helping our clients plan are critical to a project’s success.

Significant effort was undertaken to limit the impacts of the development while fully utilizing the space available to complement the building program for the new facility. The site layout incorporated much of the open space utilized by the previous owner, thereby limiting disturbance of native grasses and over 25 acres of forested property adjoining the Skunk River.


A significant portion of the necessary points to achieve LEED status can be attributed to the site and stormwater management of the plant campus.

Site design elements helped to meet LEED certification and included installation of white concrete to reduce the heat island effects of hard surfaces, alternative transportation to the site by incorporating bike racks and low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicle parking spaces, limiting parking capacity, protecting and restoring habitat in and around the site, maximizing open space in the developed area, installing stormwater management that provides water quality treatment to site stormwater runoff, and the use of native landscaping to reduce water use.

Read more about this interesting project:

Ames Water Treatment Plant

Ames Water Treatment Plant – Site Development & Stormwater Management

FOX Engineering is an environmental engineering firm based in Ames, Iowa. We specialize in water and wastewater solutions for our diverse municipal and industrial clients. Our work varies in size and scope and can be found throughout the Midwest and beyond.