New pond near Law School a big step toward sustainability

March 9, 2012Duke Law News

Duke’s Board of Trustees has approved construction of a large-scale, water reclamation pond on West Campus, between Erwin Road and Circuit Drive off Towerview Road. A significant step toward campus sustainability, the pond also will provide the Law School community with a nearby scenic spot for picnics and walks.

Water from the six-acre pond will be pumped to one of Duke's nearby chilled water plants to produce chilled water for cooling and dehumidifying campus and medical buildings; right now, that process relies on water from Durham's drinking supply.

Duke is Durham’s largest water customer. Once complete, the pond project will save the city approximately 100 million gallons of potable water a year, said Tallman Trask III, Duke's executive vice president. He said the pond is part of a continuing effort at Duke to find ways to conserve water.

Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2013 and will take about a year to complete. The pond will sit on a tree-filled, 12-acre site that will include amenities such as a pavilion, bridge, boardwalk, walking paths and amphitheater with lawn seating.

The site earmarked for the pond is now wooded with a shallow streambed. Duke will work with state and federal agencies to obtain permits; project managers have been consulting with the Duke University Wetland Center to select native plants that thrive at varying pond depths under dry and wet conditions.

Once operational, the pond will collect rainwater and runoff from 22 percent of the main campus area. At standing capacity, the pond will hold about 23 million gallons of water at an 8- to 12-foot depth.

See the Duke University story about the pond.