Cleverdesign masks true function

Published on Thu, Jun 24, 2004 by eg Olson

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Clever design masks true function

By Meg Olson

Blaine officials are designing a cleverly disguised new sewer plant for the city, even calling it a “water reclamation facility” in an effort to direct public perception from the dirty sewage going in to the nice clean water coming out.

“The water coming out of here is so good we can run a fountain with it,” said assistant public works director Sandy Petersen, and that’s what they hope to do. The design concept Petersen presented at the June 19 Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District open house at Blaine harbor incorporates a plaza with a fountain and a creek running into Semihamoo Bay, both of which will use the effluent from the plant, which will meet federal clean water standards by the time it’s discharged.

The plant itself will be designed on a cannery theme to fit in with the Cain Wharf master plan the city is drafting to guide development along Marine Drive. “As part of the master plan this becomes an integral part of a two-mile pedestrian loop,” said city community and economic development director Terry Galvin.

The facility will be partially hidden by a berm along Semiahmoo Bay, ending approximately where the totem pole now sits in the park. On top of the berm the totem pole will stay where it is and trail will lead to the lighthouse replica that will top the facility’s western end.

“It’s a full scale replica lighthouse,” Petersen said. “It’s not designed to be a navigational aid but it could have a light.” The lighthouse replica will sit on top of a public display space and the plant laboratory facilities. It will be linked to a rooftop pavilion above the administrative building, east of which will be the membrane batch reactor treatment plant. Petersen said peaked roofs at different elevations would further disguise the plant.

In the proposed design the treatment facility will be located where the old tank on the north side of Marine Drive now sits, and would encroach very little if at all on Blaine Marine Park. “It really isn’t that big because of technology available today that wasn’t available years ago,” Peterson said.

Staff will continue to work with consultants at CH2M Hill, city council and citizens to refine the design during the drafting of the city’s new sewer facilities plan. “This is just a concept, something we’d like to see,” Petersen said.