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Swanson Bark and Wood Products

Longview, Washington

Swanson Bark and Wood Products, Inc. recycles waste wood and bark that might otherwise go to landfill. In the fall of 2015, the company began plans to expand by creating a compost facility capable of producing 70,000 cubic yards of compost out of 32,000 tons of commercial green waste collected from throughout the Portland area.

The process of composting requires water, and a facility of this magnitude would require around 550,000 gallons per year. Rather than use a municipal water supply, Swanson wanted to find a more sustainable solution, and consulted Aquarius Environmental to turn the problem of stormwater runoff from its property into a resource.

AE designed the project to solve two problems: (1) Meeting state requirements for management of runoff from impervious surfaces and (2) meeting state requirements for containment of runoff from compost facilities. The first was solved by grading the composting facility so the nearly four acres of runoff could flow into a bio-infiltration swale and minimize potential for uncontrolled runoff leaving the site. One-and-a-half football fields long and just ten feet wide, stormwater flows in and is filtered by a top layer of plants and lower layer of compost and native soil. The Second challenge of containment of runoff from the active compost area involved the design of 1.1 million pond to capture rainfall and retain it for re-use.

The stormwater stores throughout the rainy season is then used in the composting process throughout the dry season giving Swanson’s compost facility zero-impact on the local water supply.

Key Services

  • Provided design and specifications services for all environmental engineering elements including:​
    • Site grading
    • Containment design
    • Solids management
    • Bio-infiltration facility design
    • Containment pond and liner design
    • Water reuse system design
  • Provide design, specification and water balance calculation for review and approval by the local jurisdiction, Washington Department of Ecology and Department of Health
  • Provided As-Built Drawing Services


  • Site meets or exceeds applicable requirements of the WA Department of Ecology and Department of Health
  • Design resulted in minimal grading and excavation to optimize construction costs
  • Innovation grading and containment approach minimized the required containment pond size