Dec. 1, 2005
King County's wastewater utility management earns national recognition for excellence
2005 Archived News
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division has been selected to
receive one of only seven national awards in 2005 for excellence in
management from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, or
"King County truly embodies the spirit of the Excellence in
Management Recognition Program," said Ken Kirk, NACWA executive
director. "It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase the
achievements and commitment of our nation's public wastewater utilities
to America's waters."
The NACWA is a 300-member trade association representing publicly
owned wastewater treatment utilities in the United States. It annually
recognizes utilities that have successfully carried out progressive
management initiatives to tackle a range of management challenges
facing the clean-water community.
"I've been impressed by the leadership of our Wastewater Treatment
Division in serving the ratepayers in our 34 local sewer agencies,"
said King County Executive Ron Sims. "Division Director Don Theiler and
his team skillfully manage programs and employees dedicated to
protecting public health, water quality and the environment we enjoy in
Kirk explained that King County's regional wastewater utility was
chosen for its significant efforts during the past several years. NACWA
evaluated the utility in five areas:
- its long-term facilities plan
called the Regional Wastewater Services Plan. King County is carrying
out a plan to add treatment plant capacity, improve wastewater
pipelines and pump stations, reclaim wastewater for beneficial uses,
reduce inflow of stormwater and infiltration of groundwater to sewer
pipes, and control combined overflows of stormwater and sewage during
- its environmental management system for recycling biosolids, a nutrient-rich byproduct of wastewater treatment.
- its employee training program to improve safety and communication, resolve conflicts, and improve work-related skills and knowledge.
- its "win-win" partnership between management and labor
known as the Productivity Program." The program uses private-sector
business practices to cut costs and increase employee productivity
while providing a high level of service and environmental protection.
- resource conservation activities
at its wastewater treatment plants that clean and reuse gas, solids and
water from the treatment process. The gas generates heat and energy;
the water is reclaimed for irrigation; and the solids are used as a
soil conditioner and fertilizer. One example is the cutting-edge fuel
cell using gas produced at the South Treatment Plant in Renton.
Also contributing to the utility's selection were its Industrial
Waste Program, including outreach to dentists and specific industrial
dischargers, and the utility's public education activities, including
treatment plant tours, participation in local events, Web site and
other public information material, and active community outreach effort.
King County will receive its award during NACWA's 2006 winter conference Jan. 31-Feb. 3 in Palm Desert, Calif.
For more information about King County's clean-water programs and projects, visit the Wastewater Treatment Division Web site.
King County's Wastewater Treatment Division protects public health
and water quality by serving 17 cities, 17 local sewer utilities and
more than 1.4 million residents in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
Formerly called Metro, the regional clean-water agency now operated by
King County has been preventing water pollution for more than 40 years.