Submitted by WET Science Center

The Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Ponds make up a special 40-acre oasis of pond and wetland habitat. Come wander the flat gravel paths any day from dawn to dusk. Use our scavenger hunt to take your learning and exploration outdoors to these serene trails. From birds and bugs to rain gardens and native plants, what all will you find? Email your completed scavenger hunt to the WET Science Center for a prize! Looking for even more ways to engage your young scientist? The Rediscovering Science page has lots of other activities to try out!

Photo courtesy: WET Science Center

What is Reclaimed Water?

Have you seen purple pipes or sprinkler heads at parks? Those purple pipes provide a special kind of water – Class A Reclaimed Water! This water can be used for almost any purpose except drinking. Every gallon of reclaimed water used for outdoor watering represents a gallon of potable water saved for drinking and other critical uses.

You can find reclaimed water being used throughout our cities. LOTT uses Class A Reclaimed Water for their East Bay Public Plaza wading stream, to fill the outdoor fountain at their administrative building, and for irrigation. In the City of Olympia, reclaimed water is used to irrigate public spaces like Marathon Park, Percival Landing Park, and streetscapes along Marine Drive. The City of Tumwater uses it to irrigate the Tumwater Valley Municipal Golf Course and the City of Lacey uses it to replenish groundwater at the Woodland Creek Groundwater Recharge Facility. All these uses of reclaimed water help our communities use their water resources wisely!

What is the purpose of the Hawks Prairie Ponds?

LOTT’s Hawks Prairie ponds mimic nature’s design for filtering and storing water using wetlands and soil infiltration. The ponds provide habitat for a biodiverse wetland ecosystem and may help to clean the water at the same time!  Above ground, visitors enjoy trails through tall conifers and vibrant wetlands. Below ground, a series of underground pipes carry reclaimed water through several constructed wetland ponds, then into rectangular groundwater recharge basins. The water flows through sand in these shallow basins and into the soil below, eventually mixing with groundwater.

Photo courtesy: WET Science Center

The Class A Reclaimed Water infiltrated into the ground will replenish groundwater in our local aquifers. An aquifer is water stored underground in soil and rock. Aquifers are what sustain us—Thurston County gets nearly all of its potable water from aquifers. When there is no rain from the sky, or melting snowpack in the river, there is always water deep underfoot. Using Reclaimed Water helps to keep it that way.

See the reclaimed water ponds for yourself! Try to identify the different parts of the filtration system while you’re out there. Or simply enjoy the accessible trail through a charming landscape of singing birds, dancing butterflies, and native plants.

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