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Have you noticed that Bellingham’s drinking water tastes better?

Here’s how Bellingham is improving your drinking water

A new pretreatment process gives the City of Bellingham better control over the quality, taste and odor of the city's drinking water.
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A new pretreatment process gives the City of Bellingham better control over the quality, taste and odor of the city's drinking water.

A new water pretreatment process gives the City of Bellingham better control over the quality, taste and odor of its drinking water.

The process at the Whatcom Falls Water Treatment Plant, referred to as dissolved air floatation (DAF), is more effective at filtering out organic materials than the previous filtration method, according to a city press release. Assistant Director of Operations for Bellingham Public Works Eric Johnston said the process also increases the safety of the water.

“The reason to install a pretreatment system is primarily to reduce the amount of chlorine we have to add to the system to disinfect it and keep it safe,” Johnston told The Herald. “Less chlorine means less harmful chemicals in the water.”

The first of its kind in Washington state, the project won regional recognition from the EPA in 2018, according to the release. The award recognizes six of the most innovative and effective drinking water projects in the northwest region.

As previously reported in The Herald, the $15.6 million project in Whatcom Falls Park began in summer 2016. The new process started being used to treat water in September 2018 Steve Bradshaw, chief operator at the Water Treatment Plant, told The Herald.

Bellingham Public Works showed the DAF process to the public for the first time in earlier this month.

Lacey Young is a visual journalist who interned at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center and Minnesota Public Radio. She’s a University of Montana graduate and life-long Washingtonian.
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