The PUD treats and distributes 5 billion gallons of water a year and is the largest water processor in Whatcom County with an average use of 17 million gallons per day.  It sells more water than any other PUD in the state by almost twice the amount.

The PUD holds water rights of 53 million gallons per day.  It operates 1 water system comprised of 2 river diversions, 2 treatment plants and 20 miles of pipeline.

Pictured left is the Plant 1 Intake Station and Water Treatment Facility, downstream from the Ferndale Bridge on the Nooksack River.  The maximum intake flow is 50 cubic feet (approximately 374 gallons) per second.
(Photo by Eagle-Eye Aerial Solutions, LLC)

The PUD provides industrial grade (not-potable/non-drinking) water to industrial and irrigation customers.

The two PUD treatment facilities draw water from the Nooksack River. The function of the plants is to provide primary treatment, which lowers turbidity levels before conveying the water to its customers. A minimal amount of chlorinating is done to prevent algae growth in the settling basins.

Plant 2 is located upstream of Ferndale.  The maximum intake flow is 28 cubic feet (approximately 209 gallons) per second.

Pictured at left is the large red water transmission pipeline and view of Mt. Baker from the Plant 2 Facility.

Comprehensive Drinking Water System Plan Update 2022
Under Resolution No. 815, the Commission approved the Plan Update on February 8, 2022.  It is a requirement of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) for the District to establish a comprehensive drinking water system plan satisfactory to the DOH and consistent with the regulations provided in Chapter 246-290-100 WAC.

The Comprehensive Drinking Water System Plan Update 2022 provides guidance for planning and managing the District’s drinking water system and capital facilities as noted above, and it is the responsibility of the District to provide water that meets Washington State drinking water quality standards, to the customer at the meter. Per the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the District has prepared a SEPA checklist and Determination of Non Significance (DNS) for the Drinking Water System Plan 2021 Update, which was submitted to the State Department of Ecology and other agencies as required. No comments were received by the District on the DNS or SEPA checklist.

Through a series of submittals to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services, and State Office of Drinking Water/ Department of Health, reviewed by State Department of Ecology, and the District’s Public Hearing held, the State Department of Health has now submitted a letter of approval of the District’s Drinking Water System Plan Update.

To view or download the Comprehensive Drinking Water System Plan Update, please click here.
(Note:  Large file, may take a few minutes to open).

Second Water System

The PUD operates a second water system providing potable and fire protection water for a large industrial park north of Ferndale.  Source water for this system is supplied by groundwater pumped from one well.

Water Use Efficiency Program
To help support the collective goal of ensuring a safe and reliable drinking water supply, the Washington State Department of Health oversees and enforces a Water Use Efficiency Program that water suppliers must fulfill. Fundamental elements include metering requirements, water use efficiency, distribution leakage standard, goal setting and performance reporting. Learn more about PUD #1’s Water Use Efficiency Program.

Water Service History

In the 1960’s when Intalco Aluminum Corporation (now ALCOA) was considering building a facility at Cherry Point; they asked the PUD to go into the water business. The PUD did so and built a facility to supply water to Intalco. An additional facility was built in 1971 when ARCO (now BP Cherry Point) requested water service to a refinery they were proposing to build at Cherry Point.

These facilities, along with some additional acquisitions have expanded the PUD to now serve water to the Cherry Point industrial customers and some 50 seasonal irrigation customers.

Whatcom PUD – Association Memberships

The PUD is an active member of several water related associations:

American Waterworks Association (AWWA) is the authoritative resource on safe water, providing knowledge, information and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond.  AWWA is an international nonprofit and educational society and the largest and oldest organization of water professionals in the world.

Northwest River Partners is an alliance of farmers, utilities, ports and businesses that promote the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers and salmon recovery policies based on sound science.

Washington Water Utility Council (WWUC) represents Washington in the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Waterworks Association.  The Council monitors legislation as it affects water utilities in Washington and keeps its members informed.

Washington Water Supply Advisory Council (WSAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the people in the state of Washington have safe and reliable drinking water supplies.

“It’s the importance of water, the lifeblood of the universe, that makes it a subject of not only technical but also ethical concern and makes our dilemmas worthy of discussion.

                                                                                                                                – Navigating Rough Waters – AWWA 2001

Whatcom County Coordinated Water System Plan

The 2016 updated of Whatcom County’s Coordinated Water System Plan Update is complete.  For more information on this update please contact Whatcom County Planning and Development Services at 360-778-5900.  To view the Coordinated Water System Map of the various water utility providers, click on the above link to the plan and scroll to page 60.  Note the file is large and may take a few minutes to download.

Exempt Well/Water Information

On January 19, 2018 Governor Inslee signed ESSB 6091 which became effective immediately. The new state law addresses the use of permit exempt water withdrawals for development purposes. On Tuesday January 30, 2018 the Whatcom County Council passed Emergency Interim Ordinance 2018-001 enacting the provisions of ESSB 6091 for the Nooksack River Basin (WRIA 1) portions of the county.  This Emergency Ordinance will allow citizens to obtain building permits with a new permit exempt well as their approved water source for domestic use (in most areas of the county) subject to certain conditions.  For more information click on this link or contact the Whatcom County Health Department at 360-778-6000 for approved water availability.

Other Water and Sewer Utility Service Providers in Whatcom County

City of Bellingham
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 778-7900

Birch Bay Water and
Sewer District
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 371-7100

City of Blaine
Electric, Water & Sewer Services
(360) 332-8820

City of Everson
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 966-3411

City of Ferndale
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 384-4006

City of Lynden
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 354-3446

City of Nooksack
Water & Sewer Services
(360) 966-2531

City of Sumas
Electric, Water & Sewer Services
(360) 988-5711