Historic Prospect Park building becomes innovative restroom
by Patrick Kearns
Jun 20, 2017 | 1860 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of Prospect Park’s oldest buildings is now the first composting restroom in a New York City park.

The Wellhouse, a historic building dating to 1869, is the last structure designed by the park’s original architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, that’s still standing in the park.

Originally used to house the mechanical systems that pumped water, it was considered a wonder at the time. However, it fell into disuse in the early 1900s when the park was put on the city’s water system.

“Being able to provide more restroom facilities to park visitors while advancing the environment, is a win-win situation,” said Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance. “The Wellhouse was a technological marvel when it first opened, and it is once again on the forefront of park facilities."

The composting toilets use 97 percent less water, and the water from the sinks and flood drains will be used to irrigate a garden. It’s estimated the $2.34 million project will save 250,000 gallons of water each year.

“It may look like just a comfort station, but it’s so much more,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. “The composting system used for the Wellhouse is about as environmentally friendly as you can get.”

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