Environmental Education Tours

Water Treatment Plant Tours

The Bellingham Water School Program begins with a pre-trip video "Go with the Flow" and classroom activities to introduce students to the concepts of watersheds and water treatment. Students begin the 4 1/2 hour field trip with a tour of the water treatment plant, a pH activity at the plant followed by lunch in Whatcom Falls Park. After lunch students participate in an "each pair teach a pair" activity focusing on watershed concepts as they walk to Bloedel Donovan Park where they can really see and experience the Lake Whatcom Watershed.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours

The Bellingham Water School 5th Grade Program begins with a pre-trip video "Down the Drain" and classroom activities to introduce the concept of wastewater treatment. The 4-1/2 hour program begins with a guided tour of the facility where the students receive an overview of the process to clean the wastewater so it can be discharged to Bellingham Bay with 94 to 95% of the contaminants removed. The students make their own "pollution soup" and try to clean it using various household utensils. They quickly learn that once water is dirty it is no easy task to clean it. They also visit the laboratory where they meet the real critters (bacteria) that are used to help clean the wastewater. The students then walk to the Ferry Terminal or Marine Park for their lunch. Along the way they begin an overview of the stormwater concepts of pervious and impervious surfaces and storm drains vs sewers. Following lunch students return to the wastewater plant and participate in the Cookie Catch basin activity to reinforce what they learned.

Wastewater Tour Guidelines

Tours of the wastewater treatment plant are also provided free of charge to interested groups on a request basis.

  • Dress for the weather. The tour will take you in and out of buildings. Since the plant is located near the Bay, the weather is usually more intense.
  • This is an industrial site, therefore hard hats, safety glasses, and vests are required and will be provided for anyone touring the plant. Closed toe shoes must be worn.
  •  The plant is very complex, it is important not to touch dials, buttons or any other machinery during the tour.
  •  We provide plant personnel to lead the tours, however, we are not able to supervise children. Please be sure there is sufficient adult supervision. Due to the hard hat requirement, children under the age of eight are not allowed on plant grounds
  • There is limited visitor parking on site, and some street parking nearby. Carpooling, walking, busing, and biking are encouraged.
  • Please arrive 10-15 minutes early. Tour groups must start and end the tour together. It is not possible to leave early. Participants must be able to walk approximately 1 mile and travel up and down stairs. Advance notice is required for accessible tours and accommodations. Please RSVP to nreducation@cob.org so we can accommodate the group size.