Alki Pump Station 38 Improvement Project

Photo of Pump Station 38 at Alki beach
Pump Station 38 is in West Seattle’s Alki Beach Park, along the Alki Trail.

Project description

Improving service reliability in your neighborhood

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has completed construction on Alki Pump Station 38. The pump station, which is in the north end of Alki Beach Park, is essential for moving sewage and stormwater from the surrounding area to the treatment plant. Prior to the recent improvements, the pump station required considerable maintenance and experienced an increase in flows, causing the air compressors to run more frequently and for longer periods of time. SPU converted the old pump station from an airlift-type station to a more standard pump station. This conversion will reduce the risk of failure, improve system reliability and performance, and reduce maintenance costs.

SPU, in coordination with the Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), worked with an artist to install artwork in the area around the pump station. The artwork, titled Tracing Alki, was inspired by a topographical map of Alki and seeks to engage visitors in the rich history of this well-loved site. For more information about the art installation, please view the Public Art section.


Pump Station 38 is in West Seattle's Alki Beach Park near 1411 Alki Ave SW.

Community benefits

This pump station was converted from an airlift-style pump station to an electric pump station. This conversion increases the flow capacity of the pump station, reduces the need for significant and ongoing maintenance, and reduces the risk of pump station failure. The new pump station is also safer for crews conducting maintenance. The art installation creates awareness of how the City of Seattle cares for its water and provides an opportunity for the community to look into the hidden work taking place below their feet.

Community engagement

During construction on the pump station, SPU kept residents in the project area informed and worked with them to minimize construction impacts to the surrounding community. Thank you to everyone who engaged with us during the project and for sharing your feedback on the project’s design and art installation!

SPU, in coordination with ARTS, worked with an artist, Sarah Thompson Moore, to create an art installation as part of the project (view the video overview of the art concept).

The artwork seeks to create an engaging and thoughtful space in which visitors can participate in the richly layered story of this well-loved site.

Photo of Alki beach with closer view of proposed art rendered over it
Pump Station 38 with proposed artwork rendering.

Inspired by a topographical map of Seattle printed in 1894, the design calls to mind patterns in nature such as the rippling of water, growth rings in a tree, shellfish, and fingerprints. The artwork intends to become an inviting destination for trail-goers to explore themes of connection to place, history, nature, and human influence specific to Alki Beach.

Rendered map of Alki beach shoreline
Alki Beach topographical rendered map

The design interacts with the natural environment by using iridescent and light refractive materials. The interplay between the colors and patterns of the artwork and the elements of nature will make each visit a unique experience. Drawing visitors to the site, the artwork creates awareness of how the City of Seattle cares for its water and provides an opportunity for the community to look into the hidden work taking place below their feet.

The artwork includes the safety guardrail that is required by Seattle Municipal Code. This guardrail has  stainless steel mesh panels with etched artwork and is designed to be see-through, while also providing a continuation of the artwork and integrating this safety feature into the project site.

Based on community feedback, the artist updated the design to include:

  • Adjusting the orientation of the topographical map
  • Changing the artwork on the sidewalk to improve visibility and accessibility
  • Identifying opportunities to integrate cultural components (such as cultural markers on the map, engraved patterns, and interpretive text on the utility cabinet wraps) by connecting with the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes

Community feedback also affirmed the artist's and project team's work to select materials that hold up over time, have anti-slip textures, are sourced locally (to the extent possible), and are a mixture of natural and vibrant colors.

The final installation reflects guidance from permitting bodies and Tribes. 

This project is part of the City’s 1% for Art program , which specifies that 1% of eligible city capital improvement project funds be set aside for the commission, purchase, and installation of artworks in a variety of settings. For questions about the public art program, please contact Rebecca Johnson Rende at

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.