247 

 

 

 

NARRATIVE: King County's Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) is an innovative clean-water 
enterprise that protects public health and water quality. We provide wholesale wastewater treatment 
services to 34 local sewer districts and cities, including the City of Seattle, and treat nearly 200 million 
gallons of wastewater each day for more than 1.6 million residents across a 424-square-mile area and 
three counties. 
 
Our 630 employees manage a regional system that includes three major treatment plants, two local 
treatment plants, as well as pipelines and pump stations that operate 24/7. They plan and design new 
facilities, regulate the disposal of industrial waste, educate the public and businesses on pollution 
prevention, and pursue innovation through energy efficiency and by recycling resources to support 
sustainable communities. Our commitment to quality includes earning Platinum Peak Performance 
awards from NACWA for consistent permit compliance. 
 
For us, success means clean water and a healthy environment. But it also entails being good stewards of 
public money, and developing a workplace culture in which employees are encouraged to pursue 
efficiencies while striving toward larger environmental and organizational goals. 
 
In 2015, the division's management team embarked on an overhaul of the organization's Vision, 
Mission, Values and Goals. Employees were engaged in this process at every step, taking part.in several 
team brainstorm sessions to share ideas that ultimately shaped our organizational benchmarks. 
 
The vision and goals defined our customer-focused mission to protect public health and enhance the 
environment by collecting and treating wastewater- while recycling valuable  resources for the Puget 
Sound region and optimizing the energy we use throughout the process. Our employees' voices are 
reflected in our vision to become an innovative and resilient clean water enterprise revolutionizing the 
recovery of valuable resources for sustainable communities. 
 
We are now working to "sustain the gain" (ensure that the vision and goals remain visible, understood, 
and consistently followed) by encouraging supervisors to focus on our values and goals with their team 
members so employees understand the connection between our mission and their daily work. 
 
One of the ways we accomplish this is through our Bright Ideas program, which encourages innovation 
through employee-generated ideas (submitted and tracked with an online tool) to increase efficiency 
and improve work flow and morale. Implemented ideas have resulted in notable improvements in many 
areas including emergency response, maintenance cost-savings, streamlined processes, investments in 
more efficient equipment, and better communication. In just two years of the program, employees have 
submitted almost 1,000 ideas and saved ratepayers over $750,000. 
 
Continuous Improvement and Lean principles guide our work, empowering employees to identify 
efficiencies that save money, streamline processes and deliver greater ratepayer value. Through lean 
principles, employees and managers strive to work more effectively and maximize the value of existing 
resources.