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King County's Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) has been a leader in the production and use of green energy. Since the 1960s, the utility has harnessed waste gas to run pumping equipment at the West Point Treatment Plant.

In recent years, we have increased emphasis on energy conservation and established production goals to reduce operating costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Wastewater treatment is essential in our region to protect public health and enhance the environment. As such, it requires energy intensive processes that enable the nonstop delivery of millions of gallons of wastewater from our homes and businesses to the treatment plants where it is cleaned and treated for safe discharge or reuse.

Energy conservation is especially challenging in an era where stricter requirements to protect water or air quality mean an increase of energy use and cost. We work to retain sharp focus on energy use - as well as our carbon impact - as we respond to our regulatory requirements and ratepayers’ needs.

Because of the necessity of the Wastewater Treatment Division’s industrial processes, the Division uses roughly 58 percent of the County’s total energy use for facilities. Energy use represents almost 15 percent of WTD’s operating budget. Nonetheless, we are in a position to make great strides in increasing green energy production while decreasing energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gasses, all while at the same time meeting or exceeding the State of Washington’s stringent environmental standards and our ratepayers’ expectations for high quality service delivery.

We're proud of our progress and invite you to read through the linked report, WTD Energy Status Report 2010 – 2012, that details the division’s efforts to date as well as their plans to meet the goals of the King County Energy Plan (2010), Energy Efficiency Ordinance 16927 (2010), and Strategic Climate Action Plan (2012), all of which recognize the value of a strategic approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy endeavors.

In this report, you will be introduced to WTD’s history of energy production and conservation and learn about recent improvements that prioritize:

  • Savings to Ratepayers: Investments in energy can support stable wastewater rates by protecting ratepayers from increases due to surges in energy costs.
  • Independence and Reliability: By becoming more energy independent, we can insulate the agency against gas and electricity rate volatility or the loss of power during storms.
  • Environmental Commitment: We are committed to continuing to integrate and maximize sustainability into the region’s existing wastewater infrastructure investments.

The public has expressed enthusiasm and support for King County staff’s efforts in implementing our vision toward greater energy efficiency and renewable energy production. With similar enthusiasm and commitment to continual improvement, we offer this staff report on progress.

2010-2012 WTD Energy Status Report (9 MB)

For more information about the Energy Program, please contact us at: