Department of Ecology recognizes sewer plant for 19th straight years

OLYMPIA  — Kitsap County’s Manchester Wastewater Treatment Plant received its 19th consecutive award for its performance by the state Department of Ecology.

The plant, along with the South Kitsap Water Reclamation Facility in Port Orchard, were among 126 wastewater treatment plants across the state with a perfect performance in 2013, a jump from 107 the year before. There are approximately 330 wastewater treatment plants in Washington.

To be a recipient of the award, a facility must accomplish full compliance with all state and federal regulations pertaining to discharge limits, monitoring and reporting requirements, spill prevention planning, pretreatment and overall facility operations.

The award-winning plants passed all environmental tests, analyzed all samples, turned in all state-required reports, and avoided permit violations during 2013.

When the award program began in 1995, the Manchester plant was one of only 14 treatment plants that had perfect compliance.

“The special thing about the Manchester plant is that they are the only plant in the state that has received his award since it was started in 1995,” said Stella Vakarcs, senior program manager of sewer utilities for Kitsap County.

Vakarcs said the plant has an “exceptional plant operators.”

“We have a extremely knowledgable and dedicated group of operators,” she said. “Manchester is one plant that the operators have been able to maintain the process to meet all the requirements.”

The primary source of sewage to the Manchester plant is domestic sewage from residential and light commercial activities in Manchester. In addition, the facility receives domestic wastewater from the Manchester State Park and laboratory wastewater from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laboratory in Manchester.

The sewage from the Manchester Naval Fuel Depot consists of domestic sewage from on-shore facilities as well as gray water from the ships that dock at the Naval Fuel Depot. The treatment facility can remove 97 percent of the suspended solids and 97 percent of the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) before discharging the effluent into Puget Sound. More than 34 tons of sludge was transported by truck to the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant for further processing

The South Kitsap Water Reclamation Facility (SKWRF) is owned by the City of Port Orchard and the West Sound Utility District, and serves more than 25,000 residents.

Randy Screws, SKWRF plant manager, said this was the second award in three years for the plant. The plant was recognized in 1996, 2007 and 2011.

“It requires an effective dedicated team of professionals who are talented, proficient and critical to current and future successes of this facility,” said Screws. “The facility is honored to have received the recognition from the Department of Ecology.”

Because wastewater treatment (sewer) plant operations are the first line of defense to protect public health and lakes, rivers and Puget Sound, the state Department of Ecology recognizes this achievement annually with its Outstanding Wastewater Treatment Plant Awards.

“Treatment plant operators are professionals who understandably take a lot of pride in their work and its importance in protecting the environment,” said Heather Bartlett, manager of Ecology’s Water Quality Program. It is an honor to recognize their contributions with these awards.”

State funding helps communities keep their plants operating successfully. In the current funding cycle, Ecology is offering $191 million in grants and loans to 39 wastewater treatment facility construction and pre-construction projects.

The state provides technical assistance to many of the small plants helping them to operate successfully.

Other Kitsap County sewer plant recognized were the City of Bremerton Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant, Central Kitsap Wastewater Treatment Plant and Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant.


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