The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged the Durham Wastewater Treatment Facility in Tigard, Ore., with a first-place award for operations and maintenance.

The accolade is part of the EPA's Clean Water Act Recognition Awards, which cite governments for use of technology to further wastewater treatment. The plant — run by Clean Water Services, a public utility committed to protecting water resources in the Tualatin River Watershed—shares the award with a wastewater district in Denver.

On the east end of Cook Park, the $17.7 million project—which began in the summer of 2005 and is expected to take two years—will result in a new pump station, comprising six pumps. The added pumps will boost the plant's processing capacity in case of storms to meet state Department of Environmental Quality standards. The plant currently treats an average of 20 mgd during dry summer months, and about 25 to 30 mgd in winter, occasionally hitting 100 mgd. Goldfish live in tanks below the plant, a testimony to the water's cleanliness.