The state Department of Ecology awarded the Sumner-Bonney Lake wastewater treatment facility an award for outstanding performance for the second consecutive year.
“Sumner and Bonney Lake made a huge investment by building one of the finest facilities in Washington and have a lot to be proud of,” Superintendent Greg Kongslie said.
The facility is among about 33 percent of wastewater treatment plants to meet national standards statewide.
Kongslie said it’s not easy to meet all parameters set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“A lot of things can happen that’s not the plant’s fault,” Kongslie said.
A treatment plant can suffer from mechanical failures, earthquakes, floods or other external problems, he said.
“Most treatment-plant workers are doing a good job, but even with their diligence, it’s hard to hit compliance,” Kongslie said. “No matter the external problem, you have to deal with that.”
Since the treatment is a biological process, it needs to be constantly monitored, Kongslie said. Workers must maintain an ideal environment for the microbiology to break down the wastewater of about 25,000 people.
“If the biology shifts, we have to address it,” Kongslie said. “If we are reactive to changes, we can take something that would be a fail and make it a pass.”
The end products of the treatment plant meet all the requirements set by the EPA — clean water and a ton of class A biosolids per day.
The Sumner-Bonney Lake plant is one of about 7 percent in the state that produces “class A exceptional quality biosolids,” Kongslie said.
The bio-solid is given to the public as a soil amendment, primarily used as fertilizer. On average, it contains 4.3 percent nitrogen, 2.7 percent phosphorus and 0.15 percent potassium.
The heavy metal content of the soil amendment often is close to 10 percent of the EPA standard for exceptional quality.
The award is “a big deal,” Kongslie said.
“It’s one of those things that’s not a gift,” he said. “You have to work hard.”
On average, 2.2 million gallons of water are treated every day.
The Department of Ecology wrote Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow to inform him of the award.
“Your excellent record proves that dedicated operators run the City of Sumner Wastewater Treatment Plant and their combined efforts lead to outstanding compliance,” the letter stated.
The soil additive is available for free at the treatment plant, 13114 63rd St. E.Jesse Major is a freelance reporter for the Herald.