Each year the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association reviews nominees for the Municipal Water protection Award. The purpose of the award is:
- To provide a means for the Association to encourage improvement to practices of municipal waste disposal and reporting thereon.
- To recognize publicly a municipality or group of municipalities which have contributed to control or prevention of water pollution problems through:
- Construction of pollution abatement facilities or equivalent.
- Further reduction of waste discharges below levels which create pollution.
- Research and development on waste control or elimination, including monitoring the influence of wastes on receiving water.
- Creation of public understanding and cooperation.
Evaluation Criteria consists of the following:
Extent and Complexity of Problem: Is, or was, the damage or influence of wastes great in degree of area affected? How many people or resources were involved or affected? What is, or was, the position of the public on the problem.
Difficulty and Costs of Solution: Was the problem long standing? Was the solution or effort without precedent, time consuming or costly? Did it require extensive cooperative effort?
Results of Solution: What was the improvement in quality of the receiving water? Did it lead to construction or improvement of facilities? Did it provide encouragement or means to others to solve similar problems? Was the contribution or effort accepted?
Impact on Community: Economic and human impact of the contribution, solution or effort? Did it restore or improve resource values? Is it an aesthetic improvement? Did it stabilize or contribute to the economy and employment of the community of a segment thereof?
Attitude of the Community: What is the overall attitude of the municipality toward its pollution problems? How has this attitude been manifested? Has it forthrightly faced and acknowledged the problems. Has it shared its problems with employees, associates and the public, seeking their help and understanding where necessary?
Recently the City of Ashland upgraded its existing secondary (two step) wastewater treatment process to a tertiary (three step) treatment system to reduce the amount of phosphorus discharged into Ashland Creek at certain times of the year. At the time of construction, Ashland’s wastewater treatment plant was the only plant in North America using this process for phosphorus removal. After the reveiw of numerous applications, the award was issued to the City of Ashland for their "contribution in the area of water pollution control and prevention". Terry Ellis, Wastewater Systems Supervisor, says “There are many people and agencies that helped contribute to our receiving this award. It has been a very long process from start to finish. All the planning, design and construction have led to the completion of a wastewater treatment plant that we all can be proud of. A great effort has been made to ensure that we have the capability to produce a very good product in our treated wastewater. The end result is a plant that produces a very high quality effluent for direct discharge to Ashland Creek and may offer us many different opportunities in the future for water reuse. We are very proud to accept this award.” The plaque is currently displayed in the Operations Building located at the Waste Water Treatment Plant.