Pumphouses Designed for Function as Well as Attractiveness
From the Summer 2000 edition of the Waterline, the quarterly newsletter of the Minnesota Department of Health Drinking Water Protection Section, © Waterline, Minnesota Department of Health
towers may be the most visible aspect of a water system, and many communities
make efforts to make the tanks on their towers attractive and eye-catching.
Another part of a utilitys infrastructure, pumphouses, are less
visibleat least to the masses. However, those who live or work
near a pumphouse see it all the time, and they care about whether the
structure blends in with the existing architecture or whether it stands
out as an eyesore. Therefore, water utilities are working harder to make
the buildings that house their wells and pumps both functional and visually
The city of Brooklyn Park felt this need going back to the early 1980s when it built a 1,000 square foot pumphouse in the midst of an emerging housing development. To reduce its stark and utilitarian look, the city designed an octagon and used cedar siding for the exterior. A plain old pumphouse within a housing development doesnt look real hot, says Brooklyn Park water superintendent Mike TerWisscha.
The pumphouse for Brooklyn Parks Well No. 11, constructed in 1981, is an octagon with cedar siding.
Eden Prairie was required to make the structure housing its Well No. 11 blend in with the surrounding buildings.
A split-level structure contains a well and combination pump on Valley View Road in Eden Prairie.
The wellhouse by the entrance to Eden Prairie City Hall has an added functionelectric message boards.
Eden Prairie water superintendent Ed Sorenson says theyve kept the same concerns in mind with the pumphouses theyve built in recent years. The pumphouse for their Well No. 7, built in 1988, is a split-level structure, built in that manner to house a combination electrical/mechanical engine with care taken to have it blend with adjacent houses. Things are changing, he says. In the past, these were built only with function in mind. Now we have to also adapt to the surroundings.
The pumphouse for Eden Prairies Well No. 11 was constructed with two-tone gray rusticated stone to match an office building behind it. The design was a stipulation the city had to accept to get the property.
Another pumphouse, by the entrance to the Eden Prairie city hall, actually has another function in addition to its primary purpose. This one has an electric signboard with messages about city business and community events.
Paying more attention to the look of pumphouses is something Sorenson takes in stride. Theres a lot of politics to water, he says, in many waysabove and below the ground.
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