Tacoma's wastewater treatment wins national honors

Tacoma earned top honors this month in each of the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies’ (AMSA) national awards efforts — the National Environmental Achievement Awards (NEAA) program and the Peak Performance Awards program. AMSA will present the awards in a ceremony next month in Washington, D.C.

National Environmental Achievement
The City earned the 2004 Research and Technology award for TAGRO Mulch and TAGRO Potting Soil, the first new TAGRO products developed in more than 10 years. AMSA grants the award for technological innovation related to wastewater treatment or biosolids use and disposal. The new TAGRO mulch and potting soil, made with a blend of quality Tacoma biosolids and different mixes of sawdust and bark, have been an instant hit with customers. March was the most profitable month in the program’s history. For more information, contact the TAGRO office, (253) 502-2150, or visit tagro.com.

Tacoma has earned NEAA honors in the past, including former Wastewater Operations Division Manager David Hufford’s 2003 Environment Award for outstanding environmental contributions to the wastewater industry on both the local and national levels; the 2003 Public Information and Education Award for E-Media for the City’s wastewater Web site, cityoftacoma.org/waterservices; and the 2001 Operations Award for the City’s innovative Sewer Conservation Loan Program.

Peak Performance
Tacoma’s two wastewater treatment plants earned high marks for operational excellence for 2003. The City’s North End Treatment Plant on Ruston Way received a Gold Award, which honors treatment works achieving 100 percent compliance with their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for an entire calendar year. Opened in 1968, the north end plant serves nearly 45,000 people.

The Central Treatment Plant on Portland Avenue, the larger of the City’s two wastewater facilities, received a Platinum Award, a special tribute to treatment works that have earned Gold Awards for five consecutive years. Opened in 1952, the central plant serves more than 257,000 people.

Since AMSA’s Peak Performance program began in 1986, the Tacoma plants have garnered more than 20 awards between them.