NAU Fossil Creek Field Station


Preliminary Design Concept Report

March 7, 2003


Submitted by:
Daniel Brown II
Kristina Brown
Jacob Horvath

CENE 486
Introduction

In the early 1900's, construction began to develop hydroelectric power plants that utilize water from Fossil Creek. The design and construction of these plants is an engineering marvel. The Arizona Power Company began construction of the Childs Irving plants on March 28, 1908, with the Irving plant soon to follow. The work force for these plants consisted of nearly 600 workers during the peak of construction. The labor force also entailed 400 mules and more than 150 wagons. Many of the workers were Native American Indians. The development of the power plant involved the construction of two dams, seven tunnels, a water siphon, and 14 miles of flume. The flume was constructed from a combination of wood, steel, and concrete. The tunnels were made of concrete. The upper dam is a concrete dam. The second dam is an earthen dam whose impoundment created Stehr Lake.

The first power plant to go on line was located at Childs. Childs is located along the Verde River and went on line in 1908. The second power plant is located at Irving, which is along Fossil Creek approximately 3 miles down stream from the upper dam. The Irving power plant started producing electric power in 1916. These power plants were a significant source of electricity for central Arizona in the early 1900's. The mining communities of Jerome and Crown King used electricity form these plants. These plants also supplied Phoenix with electric power. In the mid 1920's, Irving and Childs provided much of the power for the Salt River Valley.

Fossil Creek has one of the most unique ecosystems in Arizona. The creek is fed by natural springs that provide a steady flow of about 43 cfs. This base flow is the dominant flow in Fossil Creek. Gage data obtained from the Irving power plant indicates that surface runoff typically contributes to less than 20 percent of the flow. Fossil Creek contributes up to 50 percent of the flow in the Verde River during low-flow periods. Travertine deposits form from the flow and produce pools of clear water. The creek supplies water to a vast amount of plant and animal life. Many plants and animals depend on this water for life in this otherwise dry region. This provides a unique opportunity for research.

Although the power plants are still producing electric power, they are going to be decommissioned. The decommissioning of the power plants is in part due to pressure from environmental groups. An agreement for decommissioning both plants was released by APS on November 17, 1999. Because of the uniqueness of this area, several groups feel that the area should be restored. The environmental partnership was led by American Rivers, also included were Arizona Riparian Council, Friends of Arizona Rivers, Northern Arizona Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and the Nature Conservancy. Under the terms of the agreement between the environmental groups and APS, full flow will be returned to the creek by December 31, 2004. The cost for the decommissioning of the power plants and project works is estimated at nearly 19 million dollars.

NAU has a desire to create a network of field stations throughout the Colorado Plateau region that will provide opportunities for research and education for a variety of sciences. Geologists, biologists, ecologists, engineers, and other scientists will be provided opportunities to enhance their educational experience. The decommissioning of these plants provides a unique opportunity for the development of a field station in the area. The field station at Fossil Creek will provide an opportunity for a diverse range of people to research the local ecosystem. Opportunities for K-12 students to explore their environment will also be provided. This project was developed to facilitate these needs.

NAU is committed to providing sustainable and environmentally friendly facilities. The design for this field station is committed to provide an environmentally friendly facility. The preservation of the natural environment of the area is of utmost importance. One of the goals of our project is to provide a conceptual design that will achieve certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System.


LEED

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is represented by all segments of the building industry and was developed to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC membership consists of visionary leaders representing over 1000 leading organizations in the following areas :
Building Product Manufacturers
Building Owners, Managers, Users and Brokers
Financial and Insurance Firms
Professional Societies
Design, Architectural, Engineering and Technical Firms
Contractors and Builders
Environmental Groups
Utilities
Universities and Technical Research Institutes
State, Local and Federal Governments
Building Control Service Contractors and Manufacturers

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, originally launched in March 2000, is a voluntary, consensus based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. This rating system was developed by the USGBC in an effort to:
Define "Green Building" by establishing a common standard of measurement
Promote integrated, whole-building design practices
Recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
Stimulate green competition
Raise consumer awareness of green building benefits
Transform the building market
The LEED Green Building Rating System provides a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainable goals.

LEED provides a project checklist and related documentation requirements for gaining accreditation. The LEED system analyzes projects in the following areas:
Site Sustainability
Water Efficiency
Energy and Atmosphere
Materials and Resources
Indoor Environmental Air Quality
Innovation and Design Process
Each of these areas contains specified prerequisites, which are required to be met for review, and additional credits that may improve a projects rating1.

Site

There are 22 existing structures at the Childs site, which are identified on the detailed site drawing. The existing structures, excluding the power plant and icehouse, are located adjacent to both sides of an east-west gravel road passing through the site. With the exception of building 5, which has 3 beds and 2 baths, the existing residential structures (buildings 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6) are of a common 1950's style layout with 2 beds and 1 bath. All existing structures are functional and equipped with washer and dryer hookups. Current use and general dimensions of each structure are provided in Exhibit 1.


Exhibit 1 - Building Current Use
Building Current Use Dimensions Square Footage Basement
1 Residence - U.S. Forest Service 38x24 912 Y
1a Unknown (Shed) 20x12 240 N
2 None (Residence) 38x24 912 Y
2a Water Treatment Facility 17x12 204 N
3 None (Residence) 48x16 768 Y
3a Unknown (Shed) 14x9 126 N
3b Chicken Coop 20x6 120 N
3c Chicken Coop 8x8 64 N
4 Guest House - APS 38x23 874 Y
4a Unknown (Shed) 20x12 240 N
5 Residence 56x26 1456 Y
6 Residence 44x38 1672 Y
6a Unknown (Shed) 20x12 240 N
7 Office 50x30 1500 N
7a Unknown (Shed) 21x20 420 N
8 Machine Shop 24.5x20 490 N
9 Machine/Maintenance Shop 32x24 768 N
10 Storage (Old Icehouse) 19x15 285 N
11 Hazardous Material Storage 8x6 48 N
11a Hazardous Material Storage 12x10 120 N
Power Plant Hydroelectric Power Generation 32x77 2464 N
Microwave Relay Station Microwave Relay Station 13x9 117 N

The water currently used for domestic purposes is taken from the penstock, which utilizes water from the Fossil Creek Diversion. This water is subjected to chlorine and UV treatment, in the water treatment facility (building 2a), prior to distribution throughout the site.2

A well is located about 10 feet directly south of building 2a. This well is approximately 235 feet deep and provides water of "poor" quality as stated by Mr. Elmer Alston (APS).

Current telecommunications utilize a microwave system that is owned, operated and maintained by APS. A small tower, located near the southwest corner of the site, transfers information to a larger tower located on Ike's Backbone (the prominent ridge NE of the site). This microwave system is the only current means of communicating off-site.

Mr. Elmer Alston, estimated the average electrical power usage for the Childs Site at about 8200 kWhr/month. This number is representative of about eight persons residing in three to four units.

Electric heat is used in all buildings. Central air-conditioning is used in three buildings (buildings 6, 5 & 7). A window AC unit is utilized in building 4.2

No immediate drainage issues or concerns were identified. All existing structures are located outside of the 100-yr flood plain.

Current access to the Childs Site by motorized land vehicle is via 23 miles of unpaved roads. The last six of which are of "primitive" form and are only easily traversable by a vehicle with high ground clearance or four-wheel drive. Other feasible means to access the site is by way of the Verde River or helicopter.

No ADA compliant structures are recognized on the Childs site.

Minimum Requirements for NAU Fossil Creek Field Station

The minimum requirements presented below were developed by BBH in response to a 3 sets of interviews with NAU faculty members in engineering and biology. The major field station components, defined as those common to each interviewee, were identified and have been included. The detailed summary of each of these interviews is available in the Appendix.

Contained within this section is a preliminary infrastructure needs analysis for the proposed field station to located at the former site of the APS Childs Hydroelectric Power Plant. This 15-acre site is located on the Verde River, about 3 miles upstream from the confluence of Fossil Creek, and currently has 11 major structures in place, along with 10 structures designed for storage. A microwave relay station, for communications, is located at the western end of the site. Due to remote nature of the site, and also the close proximity to a major river system, the site needs to be self-sufficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.

The proposed field station will serve a diverse range of peoples and academic fields and is designed to facilitate an understanding of the Fossil Creek ecosystem and the Colorado Plateau of which it is a part. The primary and secondary users of this facility have been identified and are shown below.

Primary Users
NAU Faculty & Student Researchers (engineering, biology, geology)
NAU Research Programs (CSE, Verde Watershed Res/Educ Program)
USFS (human presence)
Visiting research staff (other colleges, govt agencies)

Secondary Users
Various K-12 school districts (Camp Verde, Pine, Maricopa)
Arizona Historical Society
Boy Scouts of America
A series of interviews with NAU faculty from the various departments has been used to generate the field station parameters shown on the next page. The authors wish to thank the following faculty members for their time and expertise:

Professor William Auberle, MSE, PE (CET)
Professor Charlie Schlinger, PhD, PE, PG (CET)
Professor Neil Cobb, PhD (Biology)
Professor Amy Whipple, PhD (Biology)

Fossil Creek Field Station Minimum Parameters

1. One structure to function as the permanent residence for the station director. The director or the director and family will occupy this structure year-round. The residence will include full bathroom and kitchen facilities, power/telephone line, and other amenities to be decided.

2. Two structures to function as temporary residences for 6-8 short-term research staff, defined as residents for six months or less. These structures will provide full bathroom facilities, a meeting area, lounge facilities, full kitchen/dining facilities, and other amenities to be decided. Two possibilities exist to fulfill this requirement and are shown below.
Two buildings that house 3-4 people each and are stand-alone. Each structure would provide the full range of amenities. This option provides a ready means of gender separation in living facilities, but may require an additional building for the meeting and lounge facilities requirement.

3. One structure dedicated to research. This will provide a light-use laboratory and the following amenities:
Power
Telephone and fax lines
Computers
Refrigeration (standard refrigerator and chest freezer)
Drying ovens (electric)

4. One or two structures to function as a maintenance shop/garage and field house for storage.

5. One structure to provide a wide range of services: multi-use classroom(s), research facility, outdoor learning/education pavilion that provides a gathering place and facilities for slide shows, presentations, etc., museum for hydroelectric facilities and AZ, and a public information/outreach center.

Preliminary Structure Uses

The existing structures, as described in the existing infrastructure assessment, appear to be structurally sound and in good condition. During the site visits BBH, all structures were examined and measured from the exterior. The interior of all structures were examined for general condition, with the exception of buildings 1, 5, & 6 which were serving as residences for APS staff or USFS rangers. The plant manager, Mr. Elmer Alston, provided much information concerning the current condition of the structures.

Exhibit 2 presents the current and proposed uses for each of the structures located at the Childs site, along with the building exterior dimensions and square footage. Whether or not the structure has a basement is also indicated.

An additional structure, indicated on the site layout but not included in this exhibit, is located within the site dump area. This structure is dilapidated and will be removed during APS remediation of this area of the site.



Exhibit 2 - Current and Proposed Structure Use (dimensions in US Customary units)


Building Current Use Proposed Use Dimensions Square Footage Basement
1 Residence - U.S. Forest Service Residence - U.S. Forest Service 38x24 912 Y
1a Unknown (Shed) Storage Shed 20x12 240 N
2 None (Residence) Short-term Residence 38x24 912 Y
2a Water Treatment Facility Water Treatment Facility 17x12 204 N
3 None (Residence) Short-term Residence 48x16 768 Y
3a Unknown (Shed) Storage Shed 14x9 126 N
3b Chicken Coop Removed 20x6 120 N
3c Chicken Coop Removed 8x8 64 N
4 Guest House - APS Distinguished Visitors 38x23 874 Y
4a Unknown (Shed) Storage Shed 20x12 240 N
5 Residence Station Director Residence 56x28 1568 Y
6 Residence Long-term Residence 44x38 1672 Y
6a Unknown (Shed) Storage Shed 20x12 240 N
7 Office Office/Light-Use Lab 50x30 1500 N
7a Unknown (Shed) Field house 21x20 420 N
8 Machine Shop Machine Shop 24.5x20 490 N
9 Machine/Maintenance Shop Machine/Maintenance Shop 32x24 768 N
10 Storage (Old Icehouse) Information Center (restored) 19x15 285 N
11 Hazardous Material Storage Removed 8x6 48 N
11a Hazardous Material Storage Removed 12x10 120 N
Power Plant Hydroelectric Power Generation Museum/Education Center (restored) 32x77 2464 N
Microwave Relay Station Microwave Relay Station Microwave Relay Station 13x9 117 N

Existing Structures Discussion

1. Building 1: This structure currently serves a residence for the USFS Rangers in charge of this area. The rangers are part of the Coconino National Forest Beaver Creek Ranger District. It is believed that the use of this structure will not change after APS relinquishes control of the site to National Forest, as there currently are no ranger stations in this area. This structure has 912 ft2 of space, a half-basement, and is the structure located furthest from the site entrance.

2. Building 1a: Located northwest of building 1 at a distance of 70'. This structure serves a storage shed and is the only structure of this type that has a concrete floor slab. The area of this structure is 240 ft2. It is anticipated that building 1a will serve as a storage shed for building 1.

3. Building 2: This is a residence structure that contains two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and washer/dryer connections. The floor space of this structure is 912 ft2, not including the half-basement. Building 2 does not have any form of air-conditioning system and is currently unoccupied. This structure has been identified for use a short-term residence for research staff at the field station. This structure appears to be in the worst condition of any of the residences at the site. Preliminary observations indicate the following (minimum) upgrades are necessary for this structure to serve as a short-term residence for 2-3 people:
New carpeting
Front porch reconstruction
Provision of kitchen appliances (electric stove and refrigerator)
New exterior siding and insulation
Exterior and interior painting

4. Building 2a: This structure, with an area of 204 ft2, currently serves as the water treatment facility for the potable water of the Childs site. It is intended that this structure continue to serve this purpose. The building is relatively new and not in need of any upgrades. Upgrades to the water treatment system are discussed in the Potable Water subsection of the Systems Specifications section which follows this discussion.

5. Building 3: This structure is very similar to building 2, although it slightly smaller and has a different layout. Building 3 has 768 ft2 of space, two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a half-basement. Washer and dryer hookups are located in enclosed porch on rear of structure. The air-conditioning system is a window unit. Building 3 is currently unoccupied. This structure has been identified for use a short-term residence for research staff at the field station. Preliminary observations indicate the following (minimum) upgrades are necessary for this structure to serve as a short-term residence for 2-3 people:
New carpeting
Front porch reconstruction
Provision of kitchen appliances (electric stove and refrigerator)
New exterior siding and insulation
Exterior painting

6. Building 3a: This structure is a relatively new storage shed located between buildings 2 and 3. The area of this building is 126 ft2 and it is intended that this structure will serve as storage shed for the residents of buildings 2 and 3.

7. Buildings 3b and 3c: These structures currently serve a chicken coops. It is intended that these structures are to be removed. Due to the need for a newly designed septic system and leach field to serve building 1, 2, and 3, the location currently occupied by these buildings will be used for this purpose. See the discussion of wastewater treatment that follows in the Systems Specifications section.

8. Building 4: This structure, which has an area of 874 ft2, two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a half-basement, currently serves as a guesthouse for APS staff. It is intended that this structure remain in place and be used a residence for distinguished visitors to the site. Preliminary observations indicate that no upgrades are necessary for this structure to serve as a guesthouse, however, BBH did not have the opportunity to examine the interior of this structure. It is proposed that the interior of this structure must have the same interior conditions as all other short-term residences at this site, which may include new carpeting, interior painting, and other upgrades as necessary.

9. Building 4a: This structure is currently used as a storage shed for building 4, and it is intended that the proposed use be the same. The building has an area of 240 ft2.

10. Building 5: This building is the second largest of the residence structures at the Childs site. The building has an area of 1568 ft2, central air conditioning, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, and a half-basement. An APS staff member and his family currently occupy this structure. It is proposed that this structure be used as the permanent residence of the station director. Preliminary observations of the exterior of this structure indicate that no upgrades are necessary at this time for this building to fulfill the role of permanent residence for the station director. It is proposed that the interior of this structure must have the same interior conditions as all other short-term residences at this site, which may include new carpeting, interior painting, and other upgrades as necessary.

11. Building 6: This is the largest of the existing structures at 1672 ft2. This building has two bedrooms, one bathroom structure with a full kitchen, half-basement, and a rooftop AC unit. The current use for this structure is as the residence for Mr. Elmer Alston, the plant manager for the Childs facility. There is no immediate need for this structure under the minimum requirements developed earlier in this document. It is proposed that this structure be retained on the site for future use as a long-term research staff residence. Preliminary observations that the following upgrades will be necessary for this structure to fulfill this role:
Exterior painting
Possible reproofing
Interior upgrades as necessary for satisfactory interior conditions

12. Building 6a: Storage shed for building 6 is the current use of this 240 ft2 is storage for building 6. It is proposed that the building serve the same function for the field station.

13. Building 7: This structure currently serves as the plant office for the Childs facility. The structure has an area of 1500 ft2 and a half-bathroom. A large roll-up is located at the eastern end of this structure. Most of the structure is open with the exception of an office at the western end. It is proposed that this building serve as the field station office and light-use lab facility. The following preliminary (minimum) upgrades have been identified for building 7 to serve as the field station office and laboratory:

Complete renovation and reconfiguration of building interior
Electrical upgrades to provide sufficient power for computers and laboratory equipment
Provision of suitable furniture and tables
Necessary computer and communications equipment
Necessary laboratory equipment (electric drying ovens, refrigeration/freezing capabilities, and other)

14. Building 7a: This 420 ft2 structure currently serves as sto4rage for building 7. It is proposed that this structure be utilized as the field house for the station, to store large field equipment. It is proposed that this structure will require the placing of a concrete slab floor and upgrading of the entry door, with locks, to provide secure storage for equipment.
15. Buildings 8 and 9: These two structures, with areas of 490 ft2 and 768 ft2, respectively, currently serve as the machine/maintenance shops for the Childs facility. Needed parts have been fabricated on-site within these two structures. This has been a very important aspect of this facility for the simple reason that the remote nature of the site has forced the APS staff to be self-reliant in many cases. It is proposed that one or both of these structures serve as the station's maintenance facility. No upgrades have been identified at this time for these two structures. It is anticipated, given the current usage of the structures as maintenance facilities, that they will be able to adequately fulfill this role with minimal upgrades, if any at all.

16. Building 10: This structure, currently serving as a storage facility, is the "Old Icehouse". The icehouse has been identified by Mr. Phil Smithers, APS, as being one of two structures that will remain on the site, regardless of the final usage of the site. This is due to the request by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) that the icehouse, power plant, penstock, and other features remain due to their historical significance. It is proposed that building 10 be restored, according to the standards set forth under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 19??, and be utilized as the information/public outreach center for the site museum (see entry 18 below). BBH is unable to propose any preliminary upgrades until a better understanding of the policies and procedures set forth under the NHPA has been gained.

17. Buildings 11 and 11a: These structures currently serve as storage for hazardous/flammable materials. It is proposed that these structures be removed, with the burden of remediation to be placed on APS.

18. Historic Childs Power Plant: The power plant structure has 2464 ft2 of space. It is proposed that this structure remain in place due to its unique heritage and be utilized as a museum and educational center for the understanding of hydroelectric power generation and early 20th century Arizona. At this time, no preliminary upgrades have been identified. It is proposed that one of the three generators on site be retained, along with placement of the generator from the Irving power plant, for preservation and education purposes.

19. Microwave Relay Station: This is not a structure, however, it is a very critical aspect of the site infrastructure in terms of communications. There are no landlines coming to the Childs site, and it is believed that the cost of doing so would be prohibitive. Therefore, it is proposed that the relay station be retained for the purpose of providing communications for the field station. A satisfactory arrangement will need to be made with APS to gain access to their repeater station (located on Ike's Backbone) for communication with the outside world.

Systems Specifications

Six main systems have been identified by BBH as necessary for the operation of the NAU Fossil Creek Field Station at the former Childs Power Plant Facility. These are:
Potable Water Supply
Wastewater Treatment Facilities
Communications
Power Supply
Road Maintenance and Access
Structure Heating and Cooling

A discussion of the preliminary solutions to these field station needs is shown below.

1. Potable Water Supply: The potable water supply for the Childs facility is currently is supplied by a feed from the power plant penstock. This means that the drinking water for the site is Fossil Creek water. This source of water will no longer be available after 12/31/2004, when full flow is restored to Fossil Creek. Three alternatives for supply of potable water have been identified and are discussed.
a. Use of the existing 235' well, located 10' directly south of the water treatment facility (Building 2a). As this water is of "poor quality" , it is anticipated that the current water treatment facility will need to be upgraded. The current water treatment system consists of two carbon filters, chlorine treatment, and UV treatment. Further investigation is required to determine the feasibility of a more stringent treatment program.
b. Hauling of potable water from an outside source. This option will require an additional, or larger, storage tank. The feasibility of this option needs further investigation by BBH. It is anticipated that the remote nature of the site and the 23 miles of primitive roadway will make this option a last resort.
c. Acquisition of Verde River water rights from SRP and the placement of a well in the alluvial. Once again, further investigation is necessary to determine the feasibility of this option. Conversation with Dr. Charlie Schlinger indicate that acquisition of Verde River water rights from SRP will not be difficult, however, BBH is unable at this time to propose any specific details concerning this option. It is anticipated that the current water treatment system will be adequate for production of potable water.

2. Wastewater Treatment Facilities: There are currently two septic systems in place at the Childs facility. The first is located between Buildings 4 and 5 and serves those two structures only. The leach field is located more than 50' from the 100-year flood plain of the Verde River, the minimum required by Yavapai County's Health Department. It is proposed that this septic system will be adequate to service these buildings under their proposed uses. The remainder of the residence structures and Building 7 are served by a septic system located off the southwest corner of Building 7. This septic system has two immediate problems that make it unacceptable for future use. The first is that the leach field is potentially within 50' of the 100-year flood plain. The second is that the septic system has been modified from the original as-built plans and there is no information that presents the current specifications of the modified system, nor is there indication that the Yavapai County Health Department is aware of these modifications. As such, BBH cannot, with confidence, propose that this septic system meets the regulations concerning health and safety. Therefore, the wastewater treatment systems for Buildings 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 will need to be designed by BBH. The following preliminary design is proposed:
a. One septic system to be located near Building 7 to serve Buildings 6 and 7. This system will be placed in approximately the same location as the existing system, with the guarantee that the leach field be located more than 50' from the Verde River's 100-year flood plain.
b. One septic system to be located east of Building 3 to serve Building 1, 2, and 3. The exact location of this system will need to be specified, although BBH anticipates that the location of the Buildings 3b and 3c provides the best location. BBH will need to verify that the leach field will be more than 50's from the flood plain of the wash that runs between the residence and power plant sections of the site.

Conclusion

The intent of this submittal is to reveal the general content to be included in the conceptual design and cost analysis for the NAU Fossil Creek Field Station. The authors would appreciate any comments and suggestions that you may have regarding any topics, included or excluded form this document, concerning the NAU Fossil Creek Field Station.


References

The following websites and personal interviews are sources of information used for this submittal.

Alston, Elmer. Personal Interview. 2/19/03, APS - Supervisor of Day to Day Operations, Childs Plant

Smithers, Phil. Personal Interview. 2/19/03, APS - Project Manager for the decommissioning of the Childs
Facility

www.pinestrashs.org/childsiriving.htm

www.rmrs.nau.edu/lab/4302/fc/

www.aps.com/my_community/storyarchive/story/archive_18

www.americanrivers.org/tablecontents/fcoverview.htm

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