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May 30, 2024

SPU eyes September groundbreaking for ‘twinkling' Ballard pump station

A/E Editor

Renderings by Johnston Architects [enlarge]
Ballard’s new pump station will be wrapped in a stainless-steel lattice illuminated with shifting LED lights.

The DJC reported last week on the city of Seattle's intent to award a contract to Flatiron West Inc. of Renton for construction of the new Ballard Tunnel Effluent Pump Station and an associated combined sewage conveyance project.

The station and conveyance work are part of the broader Ship Canal Water Quality infrastructure project, which will reduce the amount of polluted stormwater and sewage that flows into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay, and Lake Union during heavy storms.

That project also includes a 29 million-gallon, 2.7-mile underground storage tunnel extending from Wallingford to Ballard and culminating at the new pump station. The tunnel will hold combined sewage which comprises sewage and polluted stormwater for storage, retention and release.

The station will be located near the intersection of 24th Avenue Northwest and Shilshole Avenue.

This massive infrastructure upgrade is led by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in partnership with the King County Wastewater Treatment Division. It will address overflows from four SPU outfalls and two King County outfalls.

Flatiron's contract will be for the new pump station and conveyance subproject. SPU confirmed this week that the design for those elements is completed and that it plans to issue Notice to Proceed in early September.

Tunneling for the storage tunnel was completed in June 2023. The contractor for that element was Lane Construction Co., with an assist from boring machine MudHoney.

Flatiron's winning base bid was $178.28 million. The entire Ship Canal Water Quality Project was originally expected to cost $570 million. SPU's Keith Ward, who is the project's executive, told the DJC that those costs have now risen due in part to the pandemic and underground issues in the past several years. Ward said preliminary estimates indicate that the budget could increase between 14 to 25% and that a revised budget will be released in June.

Construction of the Ballard Pump Station and Conveyance Project is estimated to be completed in 2027.

The pump station will rise near the intersection of 24th Avenue Northwest and Shilshole Avenue and have capacity to pump 12 million gallons of combined sewage per day to the nearby West Point Treatment Plant in Magnolia.

It will be the only visible part of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project and has been designed by Johnston Architects to be an attractive new addition to Ballard. The team saw the station as an opportunity to draw attention to the larger project and its unseen actions. The circular structure will double as both public utility and art and will be wrapped with an approximately 80-foot-tall stainless-steel lattice illuminated by LED lights. The lattice's lights will be shifting and programmed to reflect the weather forecast. They will also suggest bioluminescence.

New landscaping, public seating and lighting will be built around the station.

The station site was also slated to include a new public sculpture by Indigenous artist Jeffrey Veregge. Veregge passed away earlier this year and it is not clear whether his artwork will now be able to be incorporated.

The conveyance subproject will divert combined sewage overflows from an outfall where 28th Avenue Northwest meets Salmon Bay into a new 60-inch-diameter conveyance pipe that is about 2,000 lineal feet long that will bring the overflows into a storage tunnel at the Ballard Pump Station site. The conveyance pipe is up to 40 feet deep to reduce impacts to the community and traffic. It will be installed in the new tunnel that will be up to 8 feet in diameter.

The project team for the pump station also includes Delve Underground, project management and oversight; HDR, mechanical, HVAC, electrical, instrumentation & controls and design coordination; Bright Engineering, structural; Entitlement & Engineering Solutions Inc., civil; Brown and Caldwell, I&C support, conveyance modifications; HBB, landscape architecture; and The Greenbusch Group Inc., vertical circulation (elevator).

The team for the conveyance project also includes Kennedy/Jenks Consulting, project management and engineering design; Mott MacDonald, tunneling engineer; Shannon & Wilson, geotechnical engineer; and Bolima Drafting and Design, CAD Lead.


Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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