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State Parks

CT State Parks – Gillete Castle, East Haddam, CT
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PROJECT OVERVIEW

Gillette Castle was built in the early 1900s by renowned stage actor and nature lover William Gillette. In 1943 the Castle and its surrounding 600 acres were purchased by the State of Connecticut and transformed into a state park. In 2002, the park was refurbished adding a 5,000-square-foot visitor center with concessions housing a 40-seat restaurant and 66-seat picnic area.

Set atop an environmentally sensitive hilltop adjacent to the Connecticut River, the visitor center required either a 4000-gallon-per-day septic system with an over-sized leaching field, or a $950,000 treatment plant that would require extensive blasting, site destruction, tree removal and high operating expenses. In addition, there was not enough water available at the site to support water flushing toilets, and the cost to keep drilling for a well was extreme.

With respect for Mr. Gillette’s vision of land preservation, the State installed a Clivus composting system which required very little water to operate and no further excavation. With a drastic reduction in water need and consumption, and the removal of black waste from the waste stream, the visitor center now discharges greywater only to a smaller leaching bed located in a pre-existing cleared area thus safeguarding surrounding landscapes.

Architecture:
Ira Hessman, Plantsville, CT;
Andrew Sacks Dragat, Stockbridge, MA.
Engineering:
Clark Engineering, Civil Engineers