Birch Bay Water and Sewer District is a special purpose district providing water and wastewater services to about 7,500 people in northwest Whatcom County (see attached map) in Washington state. Although unincorporated, most of the District’s water and sewer service areas fall within an Urban Growth Area, which has been one of the most rapidly growing parts of the county in recent years. Formed in 1968, the District operates as a municipal government under Chapter 57 Revised Code of Washington. An elected three-member Board of Commissioners provides policy guidance to the District’s General Manager, who is responsible for planning and managing daily operations and implementing improvements as approved by the Board. The District’s organization consists of 16 full-time employees, including the recently approved Operations Department Manager position. This position is responsible for managing the consolidated water and sewer divisions, which were previously managed as separate departments. The District contracts for certain engineering and other services.
The District’s administrative office, water and sewer operations headquarters and 1.3 MGD wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) are located on a 60-acrea site abutting Birch Bay State Park near Point Whitehorn on the south end of Birch Bay.
Key facilities in the District’s water system include three reservoirs, four booster pumps and about 70 miles of water mains. The District’s current water supply consists of groundwater delivered under a long-term contract with the City of Blaine. To enhance reliability and provide for growth, the District is pursuing additional groundwater rights jointly with Blaine and also holds a contract with PUD #1 of Whatcom County for delivery of surface water.
In addition to the WWTP, the District’s wastewater system consists of about 50 miles of pipe, with 900 manholes and 11 pump stations. The District’s WWTP employs a conventional activated sludge process with primary clarifiers and surface aerators, using UV for disinfection. Service contracts provide for disposal of biosolids by means of short-haul to a land application operation on private property under a DOE “Beneficial Use Facility” permit. The District’s outfall lies 1500 feet off Point Whitehorn near the Georgia Strait in 50 feet of salt water.