Wastewater treatment workers are essential frontline workers you may not have immediately thought about during the pandemic. Like other critical government workers, they can’t do their jobs from home, so during 2020 they had to adjust many of the ways they worked in order to protect their own health and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, operators had to deal with an increase in stuff that shouldn’t be flushed, such as gloves, masks, and antibacterial wipes. Despite it all, wastewater workers worked hard to protect our region’s water. And it paid off!
Our Carnation, Brightwater, Vashon treatment plants and the South Plant Reclaimed Water Plant received 2020 Outstanding Performance awards from the Washington State Department of Ecology for meeting all state pollution limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment, and operation demands outlined in their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
Additionally, Brightwater, Carnation, West Point, South Treatment Plant and the Vashon Treatment Plant each received National Association of Clean Water Agency’s (NACWA) Peak Performance Awards, honoring multiple consecutive years of compliance with state and federal effluent permit limits.
Each day, King County treats and disinfects an average of 175 million gallons of wastewater for 2 million people in the greater Puget Sound region. Our operations staff are as vital to the pandemic response as police and fire responders. They are on the front line of public safety and health and perform their jobs 24/7.