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Case Study

Gulf of Mexico State Park Harvests Rainwater

Alabama designed a new Interpretive Center in their Gulf of Mexico State Park, which introduces visitors to the Coast’s ecosystems.

The designers’ aim was to meet one of the world’s most demanding green building standards: the Living Building Challenge. Less than 20 facilities in the world have achieved full certification.

The standard requires true “net zero” for water, which means no outside water used and no stormwater runoff created. A Xerxes by Shawcor fiberglass tank is the centerpiece of this water system, one of the first commercial-scale potable rainwater systems in the US.

The park has no well or municipal water supply, so our NSF-labelled tank provides the facility’s only water, using collected rain for all potable and nonpotable water needs. The tank is designed to capture 60,000 gallons of water each year, which shows how much water would have to be brought in to the center if this system was not in place.

As part of the center’s interactive elements, the designers wanted visitors to see how rainwater is collected from the center’s rooftops, processed and filtered, and then stored in a water tank.

Ecovie Water Management Systems supplied a ZCL | Xerxes horizontal water tank that is half buried and half visible so visitors can see the top of the tank and piping connections alongside the boardwalk.

“This hybrid burial was an unusual installation,” says Bob Drew, Ecovie CEO and founder. “The tank needed to be seen, but it also needed to be anchored.”

The tank is secured with our standard deadmen straps to a concrete slab with backfill installed up to the midpoint of the tank, which helps keep it safe during the region’s severe hurricanes and tornadoes.

A Xerxes tank was the most suitable option because of our ability to provide a corrosion-resistant, watertight tank with an NSF drinking water standard. These properties allowed our fiberglass tank to be installed in this sensitive coastal environment.

Application highlights

  • – Our 11,000-gallon/42,000-liter tank is the centerpiece of a rainwater harvesting system
  • – NSF-listed water tank
  • – Designed to capture 60,000 gallons of water a year
  • – Corrosion-resistant tank in environmentally-sensitive location