The bright lights of sewage
September 21, 2015
Art and sewage aren’t usually mentioned in the same breath, but in Calgary a lift station has been outfitted with a light installation that celebrates the sewage flows.
Located at the intersection of 19th Ave. and 26th St. SE, the Forest Lawn Lift Station is a 1960s-era facility that has been refurbished and expanded to make it capable of servicing the community for another 75 years.
But in this unusual collaboration between engineers, architects and artists, the station is also a work of art.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 26 the LED light display fixed to two sides of the steel clad building will be switched on. Local artist Sans façon has created a map of LED bar lights that form an exact scale map of the underground sewage pipes in the vicinity of the plant, taking sewage from the community on to the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The lights are connected to sensors and change colour based on the flow levels.
Associated Engineering was the consulting engineer, and Marshall Tittemore Architects were the architect.
Chris Huston with the City of Calgary’s Water Services, said: “More than 40 sanitary lift stations are providing an essential service in our communities everyday, lifting wastewater in low lying areas to higher areas where gravity can help it make its way to our plants. Despite their vital role in our day to day, few people notice these usually nondescript buildings or understand their importance. The Forest Lawn Lift Station helps us reveal what’s happening underground in an exciting way that makes us think about how we are connected to the bigger picture.”
The project is part of the City of Calgary’s Watershed+ project, with Sans facon as lead artist.