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Free tours of Bellingham waterways and water utilities

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by Stefanie Cilinceon, Public Works

​Community members are invited to six tours offered during Whatcom Water Week to learn about Bellingham’s vital freshwater creeks and the City’s complex stormwater and wastewater treatment systems. Find out what the City of Bellingham is doing to help protect our waters for the future, and how you can help.

Stream Tours: Whatcom, Squalicum, and Padden Creeks are among Bellingham’s most valuable natural resources, bringing life to local salmon populations and fresh water to Bellingham Bay. Each stream has a rich, unique history and a story to tell. No cost, no RSVP necessary, all ages welcome. For more information about the tours or questions about ADA accessibility, please email habitat@cob.org or call (360) 778-7971.

  • Padden Creek Tour:  Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 6 – 7 p.m.  tour of Padden Creek. Meet near the pavilion in Fairhaven Park (107 Chuckanut Drive North.) The pavilion is the brown building on the left, entering the park off Chuckanut Drive.
  • Squalicum Creek Tour: Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 6 – 7 p.m.  tour of Squalicum Creek, which will include information about the upcoming Squalicum Creek Re-route Phases 3 & 4 restoration project. We will meet at theSunset Pond parking lot (3430 James Street.)
  • Whatcom Creek Tour: Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6 – 7 p.m.  tour of Whatcom Creek. Meet at the Geri Fields parking lot (off of Puget Street at the corner of Puget and Fraser.)

Self-Guided Stormwater Discovery Tours: Keeping rainwater clean after it falls is a big responsibility within urban landscapes. Explore Bellingham’s urban and parkland areas while learning how the City works to keep the water clean, filter out pollutants and prevent flooding. There are self-guided tour sites in five areas of Bellingham: Squalicum Creek Park, Bloedel Donovan Park, trails around Barkley village, Fairhaven and Downtown Bellingham. This mobile-friendly website provides guidance with maps, historical photos, and underground drawings that uncover the stormwater features working hard to protect local waters. Visit https://stormwater.cob.org to start exploring.

Treatment Plant Tours: Offers an inside look at how the City treats drinking water and wastewater at  two different treatment plants. No cost. Participants must be able to walk approximately one mile and travel up and down stairs. Advance notice is required for accessible tours and accommodations. Children 8 years and older are welcome with an adult. Please RSVP to NReducation@cob.org for directions and instructions.

  • Water Treatment Plant Tour:  How  drinking water goes from Lake Whatcom to the tap on a tour of Bellingham’s Water Treatment Plant in Whatcom Falls Park. Offered 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour:  How the City treats wastewater after it goes down the drain and before it is released into Bellingham Bay at Bellingham’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in Fairhaven. Offered noon – 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19.

In an effort to help meet Bellingham’s climate action goals, traveling to these tour sites via alternative transportation is recommended. Find the bus route that comes closest to a tour site using the Whatcom Transportation Authority’s (WTA)online trip planner or find a bike route using resources on the Whatcom Smart Trips website.

The City of Bellingham’s Public Works Department works to enhance Bellingham’s quality of life through the construction and operation of a safe, effective physical environment; protect public health, safety and natural resources; and provide neighborhoods, businesses and visitors with efficient, quality services necessary to meet the demands of our growing, diverse community. Learn more at www.cob.org/pw.

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