Year in review: Birch Bay Water and Sewer District

By Emily Hagin

In 2015, the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District worked to secure future water supply by conducting a groundwater study. The district partnered with the city of Blaine, Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and the Washington State Department of Health to drill a monitoring well. The district and city are currently monitoring the well’s productivity and water quality.

The district continued collaboration with the Blaine Community Assistance Program to offer assistance to low-income customers. In 2015, 75 customers were able to keep their water service with this assistance program.

The district won its sixth consecutive Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance Award for the year 2014 by the DOE. Birch Bay is one of only two wastewater plants in Whatcom County serving 4,000 people or more that have won the award 13 or more times in the last 18 years.

The district and the city of Blaine were also awarded first place in the Northwest subsection of the American Waterworks Association’s (AWWA) 2015 Best Tasting Water Contest and second place in the Pacific Northwest Regional Water Tasting Contest. A panel of five judges sampled water from the 12 winning AWWA subsection entries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

The district continued active membership in the Whatcom Water Alliance, a regional water conservation group seeking to promote water conservation among local government water purveyors by coordinating public information efforts and related activities.

For 2015, the Alliance supported a voluntary odd-even watering schedule to reduce summer outdoor water usage and support rain barrels as a conservation activity.

In 2016, the district is looking to increase transparency in governance by implementing software that will publicly maintain board meeting agendas, minutes and handouts online for citizen access. The district will also replace the aging water line on Blaine Road and install new fire hydrants in congruence with the project.

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