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Planning & Public Works

Posted on: August 19, 2013

Wastewater treatment plant receives “Outstanding Performance” award from state

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Pierce County's Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in University Place has received the 2012 "Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance" award from the Washington State Department of Ecology for the fifth consecutive year.

“Good business practices and environmental stewardship are top priorities for our employees,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “This award shows our rate payers how seriously we pursue these values.”

Of approximately 300 wastewater treatment plants in Washington, Pierce County’s plant is one of 107 that achieved full compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit in 2012. Treatment plants were evaluated for compliance with the effluent limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment, and overall operational demands of the NPDES permit.

"It takes diligent operators and a strong management team, working effectively together, to achieve this high level of compliance,” according to a letter from the Department of Ecology to Executive McCarthy. “It's not easy to operate a wastewater treatment plant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without violations. Ecology appreciates the extraordinary level of effort your plant operators demonstrated throughout 2012. Talented and proficient operators are critical to successful plant operations and protecting the health of Washington's waters."

This is the 14th time in the 17-year history of the program that the plant has earned this award.

"Our employees have the expertise and skills required to meet the exacting standards and rigid guidelines for NPDES compliance,” said Brian Ziegler, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities director. "They take pride in their work and deserve this recognition, particularly since we are under construction for a large treatment plant expansion that will meet Pierce County's treatment needs for decades."

The $353 million expansion will increase sewer capacity, introduce new technologies that help protect the environment, support economic development in Pierce County, and build the foundation for meeting future environmental regulations. The project will also allow the county to repair and replace aging infrastructure at the plant.

The expansion project will increase the plant’s footprint from 49 acres to 89 acres and treatment capacity from 28.7 million gallons per day to 43 million gallons per day. Infrastructure improvements consist of a new laboratory, rehabilitation of existing buildings, and expansion of many of the treatment facilities such as digesters, aeration basins and secondary clarifiers.

Larry Ekstrom, Public Works and Utilities wastewater treatment plant superintendent(253) 798-3032[email protected]

Callene Abernathy, Public Works and Utilities public information specialist(253) 798-4661[email protected]

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