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Good Water Company Just Got Better

by Doug Pushard

Good Water Company, founded in Santa Fe, NM in 1988, is the oldest independent water company in Northern New Mexico. Good Water designs, installs and services water purification systems and was purchased by Stephen Wiman in March, 2005. The company offers NSF-certified (National Sanitation Foundation) water conditioning equipment by the industry leader (Hague Water Quality International); however, Stephen's primary quest has been to identify third-party certified, environmentally-friendly, sustainable water purification technology suitable to the needs of Santa Feans who want to both conserve precious water resources and protect the environment.

His vision has been to re-structure Good Water Company into a "green" water purification company. Applying environmental consciousness, not only to the products the company sells, but also how the company operates. The company recently outgrew the old location, so Stephen and his business partner, Linda Paisley, seized the opportunity to go “green”. They settled on the Railyard Development area, which is Santa Fe's newest, green mixed-use commercial and residential development.

They purchased an old building adjacent to the South Railyard area and over the course of a year and a half performed a total "green" makeover of the Baca Bazaar building (former 7-Up bottling plant) at 933 Baca Street.

The 1968 building shell was retained, diverting tons of material from the landfill, but the entire interior was gutted to allow for a flexible, efficient adaptive re-use of the space. The creation of a high performance building out of this old metal structure began with a new galvalume roof, then the entire shell envelope was insulated with spray-on foam insulation for high thermal performance as well as air penetration prevention. High performance double-paned windows, including clerestory windows complete the thermally efficient envelope, while flooding the space with natural daylight. The daylighting mitigates the need for daytime use of artificial lighting and is augmented by ew high efficiency lighting installed throughout The majority of these new windows are operable allowing the staff to enjoy the typically fabulous Santa Fe weather and lessening the cost and discomfort of mechanical systems. A high efficiency HVAC system was installed for those months when it is needed, along with Energy Star appliances. The southern clerestory windows are protected from summer heat gain with a passive solar shade.

Materials were chosen for their durability, recyclability and recycled content, environmental friendliness, zero emissions, and reduced materiality. Flooring selections for instance include Interface carpet tiles, linoleum and exposed concrete in the warehouse. Exterior galvanized siding was selected because it requires no paint and no maintenance.

The new building features a showroom with actual working demonstration systems as well as Santa Fe’s first water tasting bar topped by IceStone, made of beautiful blue and green recycled glass and recycled cement.

No or low VOC paints and stains were used in the interior. Local vendors and manufacturers were used where possible lessening the transportation impact.

Water conservation was the highest priority in this renovation. All plumbing fixtures were selected for their efficiency including waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, and low-flow faucets. Additionally, a rainwater harvesting system was designed and installed to collect rain and snowmelt.

It is the rainwater system that really stands out in the remodel. The most visible aspect of the system is the 20 foot tall, 8,300 gallon galvanized steel tank that dominates the back of the parking lot. But it is only the very tip of the system.

It starts with the new galvalume metal roof which reduces contamination of rainwater to be collected now equipped with beautiful galvanized metal gutters and downspouts – over 12 downspouts ring the 8,400 square foot building. With about 12" of rain a year in Santa Fe, the building harvests over 62,000 gallons of water! The downspouts connect to an underground conveyance system of 4” and 6" Schedule 40 PVC pipe that moves all the water away from the building to an underground 500-gallon polyethylene surge tank. From the surge tank, where the water is filtered, it is then pumped to the above ground metal tank by two (2) Liberty 80gpm submersible pumps through two underground 2” pipes.

The above ground galvanized metal tank is equipped with a potable water liner to increase the longevity of the tank. The outbound plumbing for the system is housed in a 5’ diameter x 4’ deep well-type housing and includes:

  • An outgoing line to the irrigation system to water the almost 200 native and drought tolerant plants and trees.
  • An incoming line from the city equipped with an auto-fill valve, which is float-activated to refill the tank if the level is low. This is currently not connected due to city permitting issues, but hopefully will be connected in the near future.
  • An overflow line that connects to a pumice wick along the back of the property line that allows stormwater to penetrate deep into the ground and eventually drains any overflow into the street
  • A line running to the interior. That line is currently not used, but could be used if the city approves rainwater for interior use.
  • A 1 HP Grundfos pump which provides pressure for the irrigation system.

Stephen and Linda are extremely happy with the result, now that it is complete and know that rainwater harvesting was the responsible thing to complement the other green features incorporated in the building remodel. It is a statement that Good Water is involved in the water business in general and both Linda and Stephen anticipate the treatment of catchment water to become a major business opportunity in the future. The new facility and its beautiful rainwater harvesting system provides a great showcase for other businesses.

Both Linda and Stephen agree, the biggest watch word for others that want to follow in their footsteps is "patience". They had numerous difficulties in coordinating and managing the multiple subcontractors as well as dealing with city permitting issues. Plus, to make matters worse, the plan kept constantly evolving. Stephen feels that this specific project has made major breakthroughs with the City of Santa Fe and will hopefully serve as an example for others retrofitting a commercial building and wanting to go green.

The rainwater harvesting system was designed and installed by The Raincatcher of Santa Fe. The large metal tank is manufactured by Cor-Gal and was supplied and assembled on-site by Mountain & Mesa Construction.

This new rainwater system will hopefully grow with Good Water Company and provide them a new business opportunity and serve as a role model for others wanting to go green.

Related Links

Sketch of the Overall System
Picture of Downspouts
Picture of Sump Box
Picture of Tank Under Construction
Picture of Inside Tank Liner
Picture of Inlet/Outlets
Inlet/Outlet Plan
Tank Foundation Schematic
Picture of Tank Foundation





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