Best Face Forward

A Newly Renovated Plaza and Fountain on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Property Creates Positive Impressions in Edmonds, Washington.

Best Face Forward

The exercise equipment located in the park behind the administration building.

The Washington city of Edmonds has transformed its wastewater treatment facility with a summer-long project to repair, clean and seal a decorative tile-covered plaza at the north end of the property.

Residents at first questioned why the multilevel plaza was closed during the summer. Near one end of the plaza is a city bus stop, and at the other end is a 47-foot long waterfall fountain. In the middle and at the top level is a 700-square-foot open-air seating area with a pagoda-style roof. Fitted with park-like seating and heavily used by the public, the pagoda area serves as the roof of the plant’s secondary clarifier. Access is by stairs or a ramp leading up from a busy street.

Attractive plantings

Neighbors on three sides of the 11.8 mgd (design) treatment plant include businesses, a retirement center, and condominiums. A wetland that adjoins a city park is on the fourth side. Two blocks away is a dock for a ferry that travels across Puget Sound.

Extensive landscaping surrounds the facility. A lawn of green space is at one end of the plaza. A variety of shrubs are planted in four tiers of planters, which separate the stairways from the street to the pagoda. Rhododendrons line the east side of the plant. On the south side and behind the administration building, a trail meanders through a manicured park area equipped with stationary exercise devices.

“We are part of the community and we’re proud of our place,” says Pamela Randolph, manager. Seal Team One, a national franchised cleaning and sealing firm, blocked off the plaza to repair and replace tiles installed in 1988. All the walking surfaces were pressure-washed and resealed. The nearly 8-foot tall fountain was turned off to repair leaks and replace worn components. 

Spooky celebration

Once the work was completed, the plant operators and staff found a novel way to celebrate the accomplishment. They missed an opportunity to be part of the annual Scarecrow Festival, a family and business event that exhibits handmade scarecrows throughout the city, a Seattle suburb. “We brainstormed and came up with the idea of decorating the water fountain with skeletons around Halloween time,” says Randolph. “Phil Williams, our Public Works director suggested I write a press release, and that’s when the two ideas came together.” 

After the fountain was turned on again, skeletons clung to heavy chains slung between some of its 36 vertical tubes. Two creepy gloved hands extended skyward from the pond at the fountain base, and two gargoyle-looking creatures stood guard at the fountain. One large skeleton, wearing a hardhat and other appropriate personal protective equipment, overlooked it all from his perch at the top of the waterfall.

“We’re in a downtown location and just wanted to fit in with the Halloween décor,” Randolph says. “We had fun buying the skeletons, and the decorating activity all came together.” Plant staff contributed nearly $180 to purchase the skeletons.  

A newspaper article announcing the project’s completion was cryptic in order to draw attention to the plant. Randolph wrote it to be amusing and in keeping Halloween. The complete article can be seen at https://edmondsbeacon. treatment-plant/1697950.

Says Randolph, “It really was a successful team-building activity enjoyed by everyone.”


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