Once the tap is turned on, most of us don’t think twice about the water that goes down the drain or is flushed down the toilet. Yet the water that leaves our homes and businesses contains chemicals, pathogens, and other waste that can be harmful to human health and the environment. If you live in an urban area, your wastewater goes to a treatment plant. These facilities are essential to keeping Washington’s waters clean. The Department of Ecology honors the state’s top-performing facilities with the annual Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance Award. This year, we recognized 111 wastewater treatment plants — about a third of all systems operating across the state — that achieved full compliance with their water quality permits in 2017.
“Washington’s growing population creates a greater need for wastewater treatment every day. Talented and proficient plant operators are critical to meeting this challenge and ensuring successful plant operations that protect the health of Washington’s waters,” said Ecology Water Quality Program Manager Heather Bartlett. “We commend and appreciate their efforts.”
In picking the winners, Ecology evaluated all the plants operating in Washington to determine how they were meeting the state pollution limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment, and operational demands outlined in their permits.
The city of Manchester’s wastewater treatment plant has earned an Outstanding Performance Award every year since Ecology’s program began in 1995. The Port Townsend Wastewater Treatment Plant has had perfect performance for 20 years, and six plants now have perfect performance for 10 consecutive years:
- Clallam Bay Corrections Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Forks Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Cle Elum Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Moses Lake Larson Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Community of Klickitat Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Okanogan Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Omak Wastewater Treatment Plant
A complete list of award winners by county is posted on our website
Treatment plants not making this year’s list can apply for state funding to help upgrade and improve their systems. Ecology recently offered 26 wastewater treatment facility projects $96 million in grants and loans. The department also provides technical assistance to help many small plants operate successfully.