Environmental Education Tours

​Bellingham Water School

The Bellingham Water School Program is designed for 5th grade classrooms in the Bellingham Public School system. A City educator will lead a pre-visit lesson, field trip, and post-visit lesson for each classroom as well as provide support and teaching materials for in-class lessons taught by the teacher. The Water School program focuses on the three water systems in the City of Bellingham: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. As part of the field trip, students will get a tour of the City’s Water Treatment Plant. Bellingham Water School is aligned with state learning standards for 5th grade. Private schools with students living within city limits may request to schedule a Water School field trip (subject to schedule availability) for students between 3rd and 8th grades. 

Water Treatment Plant Tours

Interested school or community groups can tour the Water Treatment Plant with a City environmental educator upon request. The City’s Water Treatment Plant, located near Whatcom Falls Park, oversees the diversion of water from the Nooksack River to Lake Whatcom, the process of filtering and treating the City’s drinking water, and the distribution throughout the City. The Water Treatment Plant was upgraded in 2018 to now include a Dissolved Air Flotation basin which helps remove algae and dirt from the influent water. Tours of the Water Treatment Plant run approximately one hour long. 

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours

Interested school or community groups can tour Bellingham’s Resource Recovery Plant located near Post Point in Fairhaven. The Plant has both primary and secondary treatment and uses an aerobic digestion process to eliminate organic matter from the wastewater; removing 95% of contaminates before discharging to Bellingham Bay. Tours will take you through each step of the treatment process and run approximately one and a half hours long. 

Treatment Plant​ Tour Guidelines

​​Tours of the treatment plants are provided free of charge to interested groups on a request basis.

  • Tours will be provided for groups of at least 6 people.
  • 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. Long pants and 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 enough adult supervision. For safety reasons, only children eight and older are 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 5-10 minutes early. Tour groups must start and end the tour together. It is not possible to leave early because participants must remain with the group leader while on plant grounds.
  • 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.​