Approximately half of Whatcom County
residents use the Lake Whatcom Reservoir for drinking water.
Where does your drinking water come from?
Water flows to Lake Whatcom from two main sources.
- Rainwater in the Lake Whatcom watershed
- Water from the Deming Glacier on Mt. Baker flows to the Middle Fork of
the Nooksack River and is seasonally diverted into Lake Whatcom through a
tunnel under Bowman Mountain.
How does your drinking water get from the lake to your tap?
The City of Bellingham withdraws water from Basin 2 through a 1200-foot
wooden pipeline that leads to the screen house at Whatcom Falls Park. The
treatment plant in Whatcom
Falls Park is capable of producing 24 million gallons of drinking water per day.
What happens to your wastewater?
Sewers were first installed throughout the developed areas of Bellingham in
1892. These original sewers collected both sewage and rainwater and discharged
them into Whatcom Creek and Bellingham Bay.
Most of these early sewers are still in use. Most sewage pipes are now separate
from those carrying stormwater and send their flows directly to the
The City first provided primary wastewater treatment in 1947, discharging
effluent into a shallow part of Bellingham Bay, from a treatment plant located
near the mouth of Whatcom Creek.
In 1974, Bellingham replaced the Whatcom Creek treatment plant with the Post
Point Wastewater Treatment Plant at the foot of Harris Avenue. The Post Point
Wastewater Treatment Plant provided primary treatment for up to a peak flow of
55 million gallons per day for the area's sewered population.
In 1993, Post Point was upgraded to include secondary
at a cost of $55 million. This upgrade to secondary treatment
increased contamination removal to 95% before releasing it into Bellingham Bay.
Post Point Wastewater Treatment Improvements outlines upcoming
upgrades to the plant.
Additional water providers
Although the City of Bellingham supplies water to the majority of residents,
there are others that also obtain water from the lake including:
For more information, please contact Environmental Resources in the
Public Works Department main office.