Northern Kentucky Sanitation District No. 1
Public Service Park
Landscape Architecture by Human Nature, Inc., Cincinnati
Remote-controlled spray heads flood the runoff race test plots (concrete, lawn, or landscaped areas) to let students observe how the different surfaces materials affect runoff quantities and velocities.
In 1998, the Northern Kentucky Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1) in Fort Wright set out to become the regional agency for implementing new stormwater regulations for three counties
in Northern Kentucky, as outlined in the Clean Water Act.
As part of these new responsibilities SD1 sought to expand its corporate campus and engaged Human Nature to develop a site master plan that would express the agency leading by example.
The landscape architects collaborated with the client and a diverse design team to transform the site into an expressive laboratory for stormwater best management practices (BMPs). The team consensus was a site design reflecting the journey of stormwater in the landscape.
Features of the resulting master
• The region's first extensive green roof
• Biofiltration swales, wetlands and basins for stormwater cleansing and storage
• Water-harvesting aqueducts and cistern and ponds for storage and reuse
• Porous concrete, asphalt and unit paving
• Stormwater-quality monitoring wells at several BMPs for long-term research
• Outdoor classrooms, water-related artwork and interpretive exhibits
• Public trails and picnic areas
• Habitat restoration including native meadows and riparian reforestation
A 7,000-gallon cistern made from reinforced concrete pipe collects runoff from the adjacent garage. A roof solar panel was intended to feed a pump for recirculating the stored water. The cistern water is used for demonstrations throughout the Stormwater Garden. The fountain in the Stormwater Garden is carved from Indiana limestone. Water recirculates via a small, self-contained pump and basin.
The new Admin Building addition has a 3,600 sq. ft. extensive green roof atop its entrance. The team conceived of employing BMPs to nurture storm water from the time it hit the roof to its outfall at Banklick Creek, the ''journey of a drop of water.'' To help demonstrate the effectiveness of the green roof, equal areas of the adjacent traditional ballast roof and the green roof were drained to side-by-side downspouts at the base of a column near the entrance to the building. When it rains, visitors can observe differences in runoff quantity and release time for each roof.
Students learn about stormwater BMPs firsthand, here observing characteristics of porous concrete. An SD1 staff-generated workbook guides students through a series of experiments and activities now integrated with required state educational curricula.
Throughout construction documentation, the team constantly kept in mind the vision to express the journey of a drop of water and keep water as visible as possible. Where water went below ground, the team used paving and plantings to maintain the visual continuity of the water's path. The team also developed hands-on demonstrations about watersheds, erosion, pollution, runoff and power. A 7,000-gallon cistern collects runoff from the nearby garage roof; that water is reused
The cistern water is circulated through a series of concrete flowform sculptures that aerate and cleanse it. The custom steel aqueduct in the background conveys water to the cistern.
SD1 has unveiled 10 interactive audio exhibits strategically located throughout the park. These ''Did You Know?'' audio signs feature two buttons that generate two-minute long clips detailing PSP's best management practices. The ''Tell Me More'' button gives general information about the feature showcased at each exhibit. The ''About SD1's Site'' button provides an in-depth look at each feature specific to SD1.
Watershed Plaza recreates a miniature version of the Banklick Creek watershed. Water flows from the cistern to nozzles at the base of seatwalls and into channels etched into the surface of the concrete plaza. During demonstrations, plastic balls representing various pollutants are placed in the channels and carried ''downstream.''
The SD1 site combines art and science to express the potential to heal, protect and restore our landscapes and waterways, while providing opportunities for enjoyment, research, education, and inspiration.
The Wetland Classroom allows direct access to diverse wetland plants, insects, birds and their habitat, highlighting the entire food chain that prevents mosquitoes from becoming problematic.
For more information about SD1, the Public Service Park and to listen to the audio clips, visit
Sedum, chives and native grasses on the green roof are arranged in waves to accentuate the theme of water and the layers of different landscape textures
Northern Kentucky Sanitation District No. 1 – Public Service
Architect: Humpert Wolnitzek Architects
Civil Engineer: Woolpert LLC
Contractor: Ashley Development, Inc.
Landscape Architecture: Human Nature, Inc.
-Lead Designer: David Whittaker
-Principals-in-Charge: Christopher Manning
and Gary Wolnitzek
MEP Engineer: KLH Engineers
Public Art: Karen Heyl; Allen Nairn
Photography: Gary Kessler, Kessler Photography
The limestone fountain sculpture by Karen Heyl and Allen Nairn expresses the geological history of the area. Terra cotta clay inserts represent locally