Self-sustaining Pondless® Waterfall for Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

Published on September 3, 2009


St. Charles, IL – Aquascape, Inc. was commissioned by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to construct a 3000-gallon Pondless® Waterfall adjacent to its outside dining terrace. The 80-foot waterfall and stream feature replicates a watershed and can be replenished with rainwater that runs off the terrace into a series of 50-gallon rain barrels.

Three dramatic, weathered limestone waterfalls flow into a 3000-gallon underground reservoir constructed with 100 AquaBlox® water matrixes. The 12-foot high self-sustaining water feature is situated on a slope angled toward Lake Michigan. The reservoir at the bottom of the waterfall and stream helps to capture some of the stormwater run-off that would otherwise flow into the lake. Two Tsurumi 9PL pumps push the stored water up and over the re-circulating waterfall, providing filtration, aeration and habitat, thereby improving water quality.

“This self-sustaining water feature provides a riparian zone, which is instrumental in water quality for surface run-off,” claims Ed Beaulieu, chief sustainability officer for Aquascape, Inc. “By incorporating the sub-surface reservoir, we’re able to better manage rainwater run-off and provide an aesthetic waterfall feature at the same time.”

Visitors to the Shedd Aquarium, as well as passers-by on the lakefront’s paved bike path can interact with the water feature. A bridge traverses the stream from the dining terrace to the grass beyond. Native plants soften the edges of the rocky feature and provide a landing spot for birds, butterflies, and bees.

For more information on Aquascape’s rainwater harvesting systems, products or programs, log onto or or call 1-866-877-6637 (US) or 866-766-3426 (CAN).

Aquascape is North America’s leading innovator in the water gardening industry. Aquascape invented the low-maintenance, naturally balanced ecosystem pond that is the # 1 contractor-installed water garden. The St. Charles, Illinois headquarters, dubbed “Aqualand,” received Silver Level recognition in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating system. Aquascape’s mission is to help our customers succeed at building, selling, and retailing water garden products. Aquascape and its vast network of Authorized AquascapePRO™ Distributors sell exclusively to contractors and retailers. Founded in 1991, Aquascape made the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies four years in a row. In 2005, founder and CEO Greg Wittstock was named one of America’s Best Bosses by FORTUNE Small Business Magazine and Winning Workplaces(tm).

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