Nature and industry, oftenportrayed as conflicting forces, live in harmony at the City of Henderson Water Reclamation Facility, just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, Las Vegas is ironically located in the middle of the Southern Nevada desert, just east of Death Valley National Park. With so much infrastructure in such an environment, it’s imperative to the success of the city that they reclaim as much water as possible. This explains why the City of Henderson wastewater evaporation site is the third-largest body of water in the southern Nevada area.
This isn’t just a simple geographical fun fact. Migrating birds quickly took notice of the bountiful and protected water source as they traveled across the desert; and where birds gather, so shall bird-watchers appear. The evaporating ponds garnered national attention in 1967 from the National Audubon Society, and City of Henderson began collecting and reporting data on the migratory birds in collaboration with the organization.
At this point, the birding site was simply a standard wastewater treatment plant. However, as local and non-local birders alike continued to visit in growing numbers, a dream began to form of a true bird preserve that also functions as wastewater evaporation ponds. The city collaborated with birding authorities and developed the City of Henderson Birding Preserve, officially founded in 1998. The 80-acre public property houses nine evaporation ponds and acts as a home for over 270 species of birds. By scheduling pond drainage around nesting periods and allowing natural vegetation to grow in strategic areas, the park is visually identical to a standard nature preserve. Birds have a comfortable and safe place for nesting and breeding, and thrive in the treated wastewater. Beautiful trails, bridges, and viewing platforms intersect the ponds, including ¾ miles of paved pathway.
Of course, you can’t have wastewater evaporation ponds integrated with nature without careful nutrient examination! City of Henderson has established a state of the art water quality laboratory, complete with a SEAL AA3 Auto-Analyzer, and both the AQ2 and AQ400 discrete analyzers. Like many wastewater facilities, City of Henderson uses these analyzers to monitor ammonia, phosphate, and TKN (Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen) levels in incoming and outcoming water from their wastewater treatment plant and other public utilities. SEAL Analytical is proud to support modern, creative agencies pushing the definition of environmental analysis to new heights! If you’re ever in the area for some fun times in Las Vegas, swing by the bird preserve for an amazing experience of human industry collaborating with the beauty of nature.