Year in Review

For more than 50 years, Clean Water Services has worked to protect public health, while enhancing the natural environment of the Tualatin River Watershed. We were formed out of crisis and over the past year we maintained responsive and empathetic service to our community. This expanded annual reflection includes highlights from our Fiscal Year 2019-20 and calendar year 2020.

"As we marked our 50th anniversary in 2020, our work took on a new urgency. The CWS team pivoted to operate during a pandemic of historic significance and we continued to deliver reliable and efficient services to the region 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am grateful we were able to delay the regularly planned rate increase so we could help the families, businesses and the economy that are struggling to hold steady and recover from the pandemic. This action to extend economic relief to our customers was affordable because of our sound, practical and pragmatic financial and infrastructure planning.

CWS makes investments in a timely manner to support our aging infrastructure and growing regional needs, offering services that are a good value for our region’s residents, workforce and visitors. I want to thank our committed partner organizations, our visionary Board and our resilient employees for your unprecedented efforts in an unprecedented era. We are truly stronger together.”

— Diane Taniguchi-Dennis, CEO

Supporting Employees and the Community in a Time of Crisis

As essential service workers, CWS maintained quality service to our community while ensuring the safety of our employees in many ways:

  • Staff sewed masks and created our own hand sanitizer and wipes when both resources were scarce
  • Distributed over 800,000 masks, bottles of hand sanitizer and gloves to the community through the People Protecting People program
  • Secured $3 million from the CARES Act to fund a utility assistance program to serve all drinking water, sewer and stormwater ratepayers in Washington County
  • Helped prevent sewer clogs, overflows and equipment damage through proper wipes disposal public education messages

Throughout it all, our Board demonstrated its commitment to the crucial role of water resources management to a healthy community:

Leading Research on COVID-19 in Wastewater

Clean Water Services is collaborating on multiple research projects to track evidence of COVID-19 in sewage to help public health officials detect the presence and scope of the virus in a community.

Leading Research on COVID-19 in Wastewater

Using new analytical techniques, researchers are able to find evidence of the virus at the neighborhood scale, which could provide an early warning sign of the virus in a community.

Leading Research on COVID-19 in Wastewater

Research is taking place at 20 sites within our service district, as well as communities and utilities across the state.

Leading Research on COVID-19 in Wastewater

Research partners include Oregon State University, National Science Foundation, Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon Health Authority.

Half a Century of Immense Environmental Progress

On February 4, 2020, CWS celebrated its 50th anniversary and its history of protecting the Tualatin River Watershed. Follow our journey to see how each wave of change, from Clean Water Act regulations to economic and residential growth in Washington County, has paid dividends for the region.

Everything we do at Clean Water Services aims to protect public health while enhancing the natural environment of Oregon's Tualatin River Watershed

Award-Winning Project Supports Growth and Protects Wetlands

The Tualatin Interceptor, a major trunk line that receives used water from the Sherwood and Bull Mountain areas of Washington County, was expanded in diameter to accommodate residential growth in a $30 million, ratepayer-funded project.

Award-Winning Project Supports Growth and Protects Wetlands

This challenging project was completed on time and under budget through an innovative progressive design-build approach and the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association named it the Project of the Year for 2020.

Award-Winning Project Supports Growth and Protects Wetlands

Now, CWS will be able to meet capacity demands for the next 100 years and the interceptor will be more resilient to corrosion and seismic events.

Combining science and nature, we clean water and return it to the Tualatin River, so it can be used again. We work in partnership with others to safeguard the river’s health and vitality, ensure the economic success of our region, and protect public health for more than 600,000 residents in urban Washington County.

Restoring Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Through a strategic partnership, Clean Water Services, the Tualatin Valley Irrigation District, the Joint Water Commission and other Tree for All partners have worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for nearly a decade to restore the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Gaston, Oregon.

Restoring Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The multi-jurisdiction, multi-stakeholder restoration project, funded privately and publicly (including more than $1 million from the UFWS), leverages the CWS permit-supported riparian restoration program.

Restoring Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge

This project protects water quality; creates diverse wetland and riparian wildlife habitat; and protects the interests of downstream industrial, agricultural and recreational users.

Some of Our Proud Honors

Leading Utility of the World

Clean Water Services entered the year as one of the newest members of the Leading Utilities of the World network, considered the gold standard of utility innovation and performance.

PNCWA Woman of the Year

Recognized for her exceptional contributions as a leader, mentor, communicator and advocate, Nora Curtis' dedication to our industry is an inspiration.

TRK Green Heron Award

Tualatin Riverkeepers recognized Bob Baumgartner for his passion for water quality and his critical role in how CWS anticipates and meets the future needs of the watershed.

NACWA Peak Performance Awards

All four water resource recovery facilities were honored with Gold or Platinum level awards. In the award period, the facilities navigated nearly 10,000 compliance instances.

NEAA Award from NACWA

Clean Water Services was one of 23 organizations to receive a 2020 National Environmental Achievement Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. The NEAA program recognizes individuals and NACWA member agencies that have outstanding contributions to environmental protection and the clean water community. CWS was recognized in the Watershed Collaboration category for our work with Tree for All.

Utility of the Future Today

CWS was recognized through the Utility of the Future Today program for a fifth year - this time in the Watershed Stewardship category. The program celebrates the achievements of forward-thinking, innovative water utilities.

APWA Project of the Year 2020

The Tualatin Interceptor Project was awarded the APWA Oregon Project of the Year. Project partners included Mortensen Construction, Kennedy Jenks and K&E excavation.

Tualatin River Water Trail Added to the National Trail System

The Tualatin River is our community lifeblood and many residents enjoy it for outdoor recreation. We’re pleased a 38.5-mile stretch from Hillsboro to West Linn received recognition as a National Recreational Water Trail from the U.S. Department of the Interior. This designation is something we should all be proud of and the result of a nearly decade-long advocacy effort by the Tualatin Riverkeepers and other local organizations and stakeholders.

Numbers above are unaudited and cover the period from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

Financial Statement Fiscal Year 2019-20

In these unprecedented times, Clean Water Services is carefully sequencing its investments, determined to be responsible stewards of ratepayer dollars. Through careful planning, we were able to delay our regularly planned rate increase and provide some economic relief for households and businesses. At the same time, we continued to play a positive role in the economy through thoughtful job creation, purchasing and capital investment decisions.

Snapshot of 2020 Accomplishments

  • Nearly $500,000 in utility assistance provided to almost 1,000 families impacted by COVID-19
  • CWS leads/mobilizes network of partners to track COVID-19 in wastewater
  • Delayed rate increase to support families in need
  • More than 30 Emergency Operations Center meetings to guide organization-wide efforts to protect continuity of operations
  • 200,000 masks for agricultural workers
  • 210,000 masks for COVID-19 Business Recovery Centers
  • 270,000 masks for community-based organizations
  • 100,000 masks for TriMet riders
  • 27,000 masks for employees of assisted living facilities
  • PPE distribution to employees of food processing companies
  • 400 Wellness Kits distributed to employees

Clean Water Services is deeply grateful for the visionary leadership and generous support of our Board of Directors, composed of the five people elected as Washington County Commissioners. Although we maintain a close working relationship with Washington County government, Clean Water Services is a county service district organized under Oregon Revised Statute 451 that is separately managed and financed.

CWS Board of Directors - Fiscal Year and Calendar Year 2020

At the close of 2020, Commissioner Dick Schouten left the Board after more than 20 years of valuable service. As the new year approached, we looked forward to the arrival of our newest Board member, Nafisa Fai, elected in November 2020.

As we look to the future, we’ll continue in partnership to review lessons learned, adapt and innovate to find solutions to future water challenges. Most importantly, we’ll strive to maintain human connections – both virtually and in person – to support our community’s needs through equitable services and inclusive approaches as we work together to protect the Tualatin River Watershed.

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Clean Water Services