Birch Bay water sewer district lauded by DOE

Published on Thu, Jul 17, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Birch Bay water sewer district lauded by DOE

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

Birch Bay Water and Sewer District was recognized last week by the Department of Ecology for operating an outstanding water treatment plant.

The district was awarded with the �Outstanding Wastewater Treatment Plant� award, for the fourth year in a row. There are only about 31 plants out of approximately 300 wastewater treatment plants in the state that were in 100 percent compliance with the conditions stipulated in their NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) wastewater discharge permits during 2002.

In the award notification letter, the Department of Ecology (DOE) states, �Birch Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant is run by dedicated workers with operation, maintenance, engineering and administrative support that combined to ensure outstanding compliance. Qualified operators are critical for successful plant operations and the protection of our state�s water quality.�

Richard Grout of the DOE said the Birch Bay treatment plant has shown a tremendous amount of work. �Four years of perfection - that�s really a big thing,� he said.

Grout, as well as DOE permit manager Mark Henderson presented a plaque to wastewater manager Steve Hovde and staff last Thursday at the plant.

�They had to get everything right. That�s pretty much an incredible thing to do,� Henderson said, noting the plant had to hit all of the water quality parameters and limits.

�It�s pretty easy to mess up when you�re dealing with millions of gallons,� Henderson said. �To receive this award four years in a row is big.�

On an annual average, Henderson said, about 622,000 gallons go through the plant each day.

�We�re honored to be included among this year�s 31 award recipients. Even better, Birch Bay is one of only four facilities state-wide to receive this award the past four consecutive years. That puts this operation in the top one percent,� said general manager Roger Brown.

Hovde said that receiving the compliance award four years in a row represents a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication on the part of plant operators Mike Roof, Fred Reid and Jeff Brant and the rest of the district staff that supports and assists wastewater operations. He also noted that the Birch Bay community and the district board of commissioners have provided the tools needed to do a top-notch job, including equipment, training and operation and maintenance funding.

�These 100 percent compliance awards translate to a job well done in protecting our receiving waters and keeping our beaches clean,� Hovde said.

The only other plants in the county to receive this award were Newhalem and Post Point in Bellingham.

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