AUSTIN, TX – The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has recognized Austin Water’s Walnut Creek and South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plants with Gold Peak Performance Awards for 2020. Gold Awards are presented to facilities with no National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit violations for the entire calendar year. The NPDES permit program, created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, helps address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the U.S. This NACWA recognition honors Austin Water’s everyday commitment to ensuring that Austin’s wastewater is cleaned into high quality effluent before being safely returned to the Colorado River.
“We are deeply honored to be recognized for this achievement. Austin Water’s commitment to serving the community with uninterrupted essential services and protecting the health of the Colorado River did not waiver even during a year that brought the additional challenges of the pandemic,” said Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros. “Our organizational culture has embraced resilience in addressing the difficulties the pandemic has presented. I’m proud of the tremendous work of our wastewater treatment crews, which led to this honor.”
Austin’s wastewater is cleaned into high quality effluent and delivered to reclaimed water customers for non-potable use or safely returned to the Colorado River to augment environmental flows. The quality of the effluent produced by each of Austin’s wastewater treatment plants is regulated under a discharge permit and reclaimed water quality standards issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Austin Water has routinely produced effluent that surpasses discharge permit level requirements for water quality.
Two wastewater treatment plants process the majority of wastewater for Austin Water’s 548-square-mile service area. Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant began operation in 1977 and South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant has been operating since 1986. Together these facilities treat a combined average of 95 million gallons of wastewater per day with the capacity to treat up to 150 million gallons per day. Walnut and South Austin Regional Treatment Plants are required to monitor over 3,000 water quality sample results and flow data points over the course of the calendar year.