While creating and building Shale Oak we kept a keen eye on sustainability in every facet, striving to make the smallest impact possible on our surrounding environment. Above Grade Engineering and Elutriate Systems both helped us achieve some of our goals.
Above Grade Engineering
Above Grade’s focus was on designing a comprehensive water plan for the entire site, and coordinating and connecting it with systems put in place by other members of the team.
In order to make best use of rainwater, a bioswale was recommended and installed. It allows vegetation to use the water, encouraging it to percolate back into the ground instead of running off site and affecting streams and creeks. To capture any increased runoff, a basin area was created in the lowest corner of the property. Water is pumped from it to holding tanks for landscape and vineyard irrigation, supplementing wells that tend to get low toward the end of the season. This reclaimed water is also used for toilet flushing.
In addition to designing other elements of water reuse, Above Grade recommended concrete and decomposed granite in parking and driving areas. These materials are lighter than black pavement, reflecting light rather than creating hot spots, and the decomposed granite lets water back into the ground instead of running off.
As water treatment and reclamation are critical elements to a sustainably built winery, a highly experienced engineering firm specializing in the design, installation and service of wastewater systems was hired. Elutriate Systems designed and installed a cutting-edge bioreactor system.
They also implemented the plan put forth by Above Grade Engineering, including a rain harvesting plan, water run-off reclamation system, and reverse osmosis system. These all work in concert to treat winery wastewater, convert it to compost tea, and use it for landscape irrigation. Also to collect and reuse rainwater as well as water run-off, and send to holding tanks for later use, generally minimizing the draw on the land.