Phoenix’s 27th Avenue Compost Facility Receives Envision Silver Rating

May 24, 2017

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure awarded the Envision Silver to the Phoenix, AZ, 27th Avenue Compost Facility. The facility is the first solid waste infrastructure project in the United States and the first project in Arizona to earn the award.

The City of Phoenix set a goal of 40 percent waste reduction from landfills by 2020, which is part of a larger city sustainability goal to achieve zero waste by 2050. When completed, the Compost Facility will be capable of processing up to 110,000 tons of green and food waste per year, resulting in an estimated 11 percent reduction of waste sent to the city landfills. The city plans to implement a second phase to the facility that will allow it to double its composting program from 110,000 tons per year to 220,000.

The 27th Avenue Compost Facility is designed with a storm drain system that harvests all runoff water that falls on the site, as well as any water pumped into the site. Once the storm drain system harvests the water, it stores it onsite and reuses it in the composting process, ensuring that the project eliminates the negative impacts of infrastructure on stormwater runoff quantity and quality.

Although the project is in an industrial area, landscaping components are being introduced at the site. The landscape design accommodates only native and desert adaptive plant species, none of which require management through chemical applications. The project also preserves greenfields, since 100 percent of the project’s developed area is located on a greyfield, a previously developed site.

Designs for the Compost Facility make the project both resilient and adaptive. The designs incorporate long-term climate change plans, including managing a 100-year flood event within the existing on-site water detention pond, redeveloping an existing well-head site to provide a cheaper and more reliable source of nonpotable water for the facility’s use, and tooling the project for future installation of solar equipment. These features will also offer significant savings to taxpayers.

Additionally, the project covers plans to mitigate several short-term hazards in the area, including flash flooding; extreme, short-duration dust storms caused by fierce winds; and compost fires. The project reduces air pollutant emissions, meeting both the California Ambient Air Quality Standards and applicable South Coast Air Quality Management Standards.

Organizations involved in the design and construction of this state-of-the-art facility were the City of Phoenix (owner); Arrington Watkins Architects, Green Mountain Technologies, Dibble Engineering, Solutions AEC, and Floor & Associates Inc. (project design team); Brycon Construction (project design team and constructor); and HDR (lead Envision sustainability facilitator).

The ISI Envision rating system measures sustainable infrastructure projects in five categories: quality of life, leadership, natural world, resource allocation, and climate and risk. Learn more about Envision and ISI at

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