Woodinville, Wash. – The new Brightwater Wastewater Facility, located 10 miles north of Seattle in Woodinville, Washington, looks and smells more like a nature preserve and sculpture park than a sewage treatment facility. Thanks to new technology in water treatment—and a philosophy of being a good neighbor—Brightwater is an aesthetic and aromatic pleasure.
Two of the 12 art pieces at the facility are Bio Boulevard and Water Molecule by artist Buster Simpson. Completed in 2011, Bio Boulevard is a long purple pipe made of cast concrete that runs along the entrance to the facility. Water Molecule, also made of cast concrete, is located nearby, creating a tableau that suggests a connection between the water molecule and the transportation of water. But the works don’t just serve an aesthetic purpose. Reclaimed water runs through the large purple pipe and empties near the entrance, creating a visually interesting water feature as well as a source of water for a reconstructed wetland at the facility.
These two works of art, like all the art at the facility, visually allude to the mechanical workings of the facility. Since the process of water reclamation is a mostly hidden one, this visual allusion becomes part of Brightwater’s educational mission, notes Annie Kolb-Nelson, the media spokesperson for King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division, which owns the facility. The large-scale nature of the work is also reminiscent of the Herculean public works projects of the past.