Alki Pump Station 38 Improvement Project

Photo of 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) operates a pump station in the north end of Alki Beach Park, which is essential for moving sewage and stormwater from the surrounding area to the treatment plant. This pump station, known as Pump Station (PS) 38, has required considerable maintenance and is in need of improvements. In recent years, PS 38 has experienced a significant increase in flows which causes the air compressors to run more frequently and for longer periods of time.

SPU will convert the current 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 City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), is also working with an artist to install artwork in the area around the pump station.

For more information about the art installation, please check out the Public Art section below. You can learn more about the City of Seattle’s Public Art Program as well as access the direct link to the video.


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

What's happening now?

SPU selected a contractor and construction on PS 38 began in July 2022. The work is anticipated to be completed by September 2023. Most of the work will be done in the belowground pump station with minimal aboveground impacts.

Additionally, the project’s art installation design has been updated based on feedback from community members and in coordination with SPU. During our last round of feedback on the design, we heard interest from the community in ensuring that our local tribes are engaged in the design of this site. Our goal has always been to design an art installation that highlights the history of Indigenous communities and their relationship to the land and waterways surrounding West Seattle. The artist, Sarah Thompson Moore, has reached out to the Muckleshoot and Suquamish Tribes to not only inform the design but also to identify important cultural sites and elements that will be highlighted on the map and cabinet wraps.

One important change to note is that the updated site design includes a safety guardrail along the seawall at the project site. This safety guardrail is required for the site to be compliant with local codes, and it will ensure a safe environment both for the community to enjoy the art installation and for SPU’s maintenance crews working at the pump station. Please review the Fact Sheet and Project FAQ to learn more about this pump station improvement project and updated art installation.

To receive project updates during construction, please sign up for the project email list.

August 2023 construction update

Work continues on the Alki Pump Station 38 Improvement Project. Since our last update, the work has been delayed due to a malfunctioning pump that needed to be returned to the manufacturer for repair. At this time, the project is tentatively scheduled to be completed in September. Thank you for your patience as crews work to complete the project!

Meanwhile, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) contractor crews have completed the following tasks:

  • Poured the lithomosaic concrete artwork that represents a topographical map of Alki. To learn more about the inspiration for this artwork, please view this video.
  • Installed a guardrail along the seawall to make the site safer for crews performing maintenance on the pump station as well as for the public to enjoy the space

Over the next few weeks, crews will:

  • Re-install and test the pump for the station to ensure it is functioning properly
  • Beautify the project area with new plantings (weather permitting)

Community benefits

  • Increase flow capacity of the pump station
  • Reduce need for significant, ongoing maintenance
  • Reduce the risk of pump station failure
  • Ensure compliance with existing codes
  • Make the pump station safer for maintenance crews
  • Install a new public art piece

Anticipated impacts

While much of the work on PS 38 will occur in the belowground pump station, there will be some aboveground impacts while crews upgrade the sewer pipe connection to the pump station as well as during the installation of the art and landscaping features. During construction, residents in the area can expect:

  • Construction noise, dirt, dust, and vibration
  • Increased construction traffic to move equipment and materials in and out of the project area
  • Equipment, signage, and materials staged in or near the work area
  • Temporary road impacts and parking restrictions near the work area
  • Restricted access to the walking and biking path in the work area

Community engagement

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback and questions throughout the design process!

If you’re interested in receiving project updates during construction, please sign up for the project email list.

Past work

  • Planning and design development for the pump station conversion project
  • Artist selection and concept development for the art installation
  • Design phase community outreach


  • Finalize project design and perform the construction contracting process
  • Continue providing updates to the community on project design and proposed art installation

2022 to 2023

  • Construction began in July 2022 and is expected to be completed by September 2023
  • Continue providing construction updates to the community via the project website, mailers, and email distribution list

SPU, in coordination with the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), is working with an artist to create an art installation as part of this project. View the video overview of the art concept.

The artist, Sarah Thompson Moore, developed this artwork for the project. 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. Note: exact colors and materials may differ from current rendering.

Inspired by a topographical map of Seattle printed in 1894, the proposed design calls to mind patterns in nature such as the rippling of water, growth rings in a tree, shellfish, and fingerprints. The artwork is intended 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 will interact 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 utility boxes have the potential to extend the design while sharing the natural history and present-day use of the site through the artwork.

The updated design includes the safety guardrail that is required by Seattle Municipal Code. This required safety guardrail will have stainless steel mesh panels with etched artwork, and they are 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 has updated the design, which includes:

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

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 design and installation will reflect guidance from permitting bodies and tribal communities. 

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.