The Waterhub

Project Name: The WaterHub® at Emory University
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Design Teams
Sustainable Water (
Reeves Young (
Construction / Contracting
McKim & Creed (
Natalie Zvanya
Business Development Coordinator, Sustainable Water
804-965-5590 |

Building Type: Water Reclamation and Reuse Facility (WaterHub®) on University Campus
People Served: 44,000 students and University and healthcare faculty and staff
Year Completed: 2015
Square foot of building:
Combined Approximately 4,800 ft2
Glasshouse: 3,200 ft2
Outdoor reactors: 1,600 ft2
Gallons produced per day: Up to 400,000 gallons per day (146 million annually)
Permitting Agencies:
DeKalb Country Department of Watershed Management, Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Water Purchase Agreement:
The WaterHub was built through an innovative performance finance agreement called a Water Purchase Agreement (WPA). Similar to a Power Purchase Agreement, the WPA allowed Sustainable Water to fully design, construct and operate the WaterHub at no capital expense or development risk to the University. Under a WPA, Sustainable Water assumes all maintenance and operational responsibilities as well as all permitting requirements, bonding, construction risk and performance liabilities. Water savings produced by the project are used to pay off the cost of the facility over time. Over the 20-year operating agreement, the University is expected to save millions of dollars in water utility costs.

Water Source
Water Use:
Heating (Boilers)
Cooling (Chiller Plants)
Toilet Flushing (Domestic)
Water Treatment Technology:
Moving Bed Bio-Reactors
Integrated Submerged Fixed-Film Hydroponic Systems
Demonstration Reciprocating Wetland (ReCip®)

The first of its kind installed in the United States:
District-scale water reclamation and reuse system that mines wastewater directly from the campus sewer system and utilizes eco-engineered processes to treat the wastewater for beneficial reuse
Processed over 100 million gallons of water since its commissioning in May 2015
Millions of dollars expected in cost savings over the next 20 years
Mitigates the impact of water failures on campus utility systems
Provides a living, learning laboratory for immersion learning
Provides a platform for water-related research and community outreach
Over 500 WaterHub tours performed since its commissioning in May 2015
Received 14 awards:
2016 Project Excellence Award; Water Environment Federation
2016 Outstanding Achievement Game Changer Award; Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge
2016 Innovation Award; National Association of College and University Business Officers
2016 Effective & Innovative Practices Award; APPA
2016 National Engineering Excellence Grand Award; American Council of Engineering Companies
2016 SCUP Excellence in Landscape Architecture-General Honorable Mention Award Recipient; Society for College and University Planning
2016 US Water Prize; US Water Alliance
2016 Fulcrum Award; Southface
2016 Engineering Excellence Grand Award; American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina
2015 Innovative Deal of the Year Award; Urban Land Institute Virginia
2015 Superior Environmental Performance Award, Georgia Safety; Health and Environmental Conference and the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers

2015 Liquid Assets Award; Metro Atlanta Chamber
2015 Innovative Project of the Year Award; WateReuse Association
2015 Project Achievement Award; Construction Management Association of American South Atlantic Chapter

Reduces University wastewater discharge by up to 66%
Extracts and treats up to 146 million gallons per year of campus wastewater
Reduces Emory’s draw of potable water by 40%