78 Washington Plants Report Perfect Performance

A record 78 of the state's 283 wastewater treatment plants reported perfect performances in 2007 to keep Washington's waters clean, according to the Department of Ecology.

The plants are located in 27 of the state's 39 counties.

The number of award-winning plants is up dramatically this year. When the regulatory agency began keeping track of perfect records starting in 1995, only 14 plants were in compliance with the requirements of their wastewater permits. In recent history, the number of perfect performers has consistently climbed from 33 in 2004 up to 48 in 2005 and to 56 in 2006.

Representatives from the stage agency will present "Outstanding Performance Awards" to the wastewater treatment plant operators at public events in the coming weeks.

The award winners passed every environmental test and analyzed all samples according to state requirements and had no spills into Washington's waters during 2007.

"Effective wastewater treatment is the cornerstone to maintaining water quality across the state," said Kelly Susewind, interim manager of the agency's water quality program. "This behind-the-scenes work grows more crucial every day as our state's population grows, putting more pressure on our waters."

The agency reviewed every treatment plant's tests, reports and on-site inspections to determine which facilities met all conditions of their permits.
Highlights this year include super-achievers Manchester with 13 consecutive years of perfection, Newport with 11 years, and Port Townsend with 10 years. In addition, 13 sewer plants are getting the honor for the first time.
On the flip side, the agency's recordkeeping indicates that 139 of the state's plants have never achieved 100-percent compliance.

For a complete list of winners by county, visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/wastewater/op_cert/kudos.html.

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