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Bull Run Filtration Online Open House Highlights

Blog Post
As part of our ongoing efforts to engage community members, we hosted an online open house from Sept. 3-17 to invite feedback on initial design ideas for the future filtration facility and pipelines.
In this article

From Sept. 3-17, we invited community members to stop by our online open house, check out initial filtration facility and site design ideas, and share their thoughts.

Color image of a postcard with text and a photo of smiling children drinking water.
Postcard sent to more than 1,100 neighbors of the future facilities to invite participation in the online open house.

Over the course of two weeks, more 460 people visited the open house and 32 visitors provided input. The open house included information stations and opportunities to share feedback on four topics:

  • Facility Visual Preferences
  • Light and Sound Preferences
  • Site Edges Preferences
  • Pipeline Planning Preferences

Themes from What We Heard

  • Design facilities to blend in and minimize community disruption
  • Be cost-efficient, spend the minimal amount needed
  • Consider wildlife and space for animal habitat
  • Design facilities with an aesthetic that ages well
  • Consider wildfire defense and resilience
  • Continue community outreach efforts

You can read additional takeaways from the community input we received below. We’ll use this input and other community feedback gathered over the past months to help inform the preliminary design of the filtration facility and pipelines.

Agrarian Look Favored for Facility Structures 

We shared examples of two possible architectural design styles (agrarian and Pacific Northwest) for the structures that will be part of the filtration facility and asked participants to rate and explain their preferences for different design elements.

By the Numbers

Color photos of farming style buildings.
Representative images of the agrarian architectural design style.
  • About half of respondents liked the agrarian style with Pacific Northwest ranked a close second.
  • Nearly half of respondents liked the integration with landscape design element. About a third of respondents liked the warm natural materials, simple forms with modern update, and shed and gable roof design elements.

Comment Highlights

  • Nothing fancy! Just a simple, industrial building as economical as possible.
  • Consider how materials will look and perform over time and maintenance needs to keep them looking good.
  • Facility should draw as little attention as possible. Neutral colors NO brick.
  • Put as much as possible underground. Keep to two stories, including roofs.
  • Like the Pacific Northwest style, but the agrarian fits better in the setting.
  • Think about seismic, geologic and weather events in the building and grounds design.

Top Ranked Strategies to Manage Lights and Sounds 

Along with meeting applicable codes, part of our design focus for the filtration facility will be to use best practice strategies to shield light and sound at the source. We asked participants to share which potential strategies were most important to them.

By the Numbers

  • Top ranked strategies for lighting were to only light areas that need it and be no brighter than necessary.
  • Top ranked strategies for sound were enclosed equipment and defined daytime work hours.

Comment Highlights

  • Less is more. Minimum lights to provide safety and security.
  • Shield and focus lighting to where it's needed.
  • Minimize light pollution. Lights should face down rather than up/out.
  • Suppress sources of sound so it's quiet everywhere.
  • Don't believe work hours should have a limit. Too many emergency events.

Support for Wildlife and Agriculture Areas 

Along the edges of the site where the filtration facility will be built, we’re looking at ways to help create a buffer between the facility and neighbors. We asked participants for their feedback on which landscaping concepts would best fit the surroundings and on potential uses for non-process areas.

By the Numbers

Color photos of outdoor spaces with forest and meadow.
Sample images of conceptual landscape design options for the facility site. 
  • Nearly half of respondents favored meadows with tree groupings. About a third of respondents liked the forest with understory concept.
  • More than half of respondents favored a wildlife buffer, and nearly half supported retaining space on site for continued agricultural use.

Comment Highlights

  • Keep it as natural looking as possible.
  • Agricultural look, native plants, buffer for wildlife, including pollinators.
  • Preserve the views. To the degree possible, make the site invisible.
  • Don't make this accessible to the public. Scheduled tours only.
  • Create large, usable blocks of farmland. Involve food (orchard/crop) to foster community involvement.
  • Minimize moving soil offsite to minimize truck trips.
  • Think about fire-resistant space.

Pipe Preferences Showed Concern for Resilience and Community

Planning for new pipes to connect the filtration facility to our existing water system is underway, and we've identified potential routes that prioritize use of our existing easements and public rights-of-way where possible. We asked participants for input on their preferred pipeline alternatives. 

By the Numbers

  • Top ranked alternative for the raw water pipeline was the Tunnel North Alternative.
  • Top ranked alternative for the finished water pipeline was Alternative 3C.  

Comment Highlights

  • Separation of raw water lines as much as possible given resiliency issues. Would like to stick to more major roads.
  • I looked at the options that would have the least impact, and hopefully be the most cost-effective.
  • A longer construction time with fewer traffic impacts sounds good for the long term, but a shorter construction time would make the locals happy.

Thank You for Participating

Thank you to everyone who participated—we’re using your feedback to help shape design of the future facilities.

Commissioner Fritz thanks participants of the online open house.

We’re no longer taking comments through the open house, but you can still check it out at and submit feedback or questions through our project comment form.

To hear about design progress and upcoming opportunities to provide input, sign up to receive our Bull Run Treatment Projects e-newsletter!