This article is featured courtesy of Monica Van der Vieren, Communications Specialist, Department of Natural Resources and Parks
The first question King County employees asked when they heard about the unprecedented West Point Treatment Plant flooding was, “What can I do to help?”
King County Wastewater Treatment Division has been all hands on deck working around the clock to restore high quality service to the treatment plant since unprecedented flooding damaged the plant Feb. 9. Operations and maintenance crews from other treatment plants, offsite facilities and downtown pitch in at West Point. Employees throughout the system manage a larger work load with some flows transferred to other plants.
But there isn’t much that untrained employees can do to help out at West Point.
King County’s emphasis on service and teamwork shows at times like these, and people found a universally-appreciated way to show support: food.
It started with a suggestion by Paige Myers , assistant to the DNRP Director, to cook up a big pot of chili for the hard-working crews. Another employee volunteered to make homemade cornbread. And the idea grew from there.
Since late February, employees throughout the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Human Resources Division, Office of Labor Relations, and the Executive Cabinet have signed up to serve West Point crews buffet style lunches once a week. They cook, bake, buy food and donate cash to set a welcome table in the Rainier conference room every Friday. Paige Myers coordinates the entire operation each week.
On April 14, as the expected date to restore secondary treatment approaches, crews and operators will be treated to a pizza lunch from cash donations.
On March 10, the kindergarten and first grade girls of Daisy Troop 40196 sent a special treat: boxes of Girl Scout cookies. The cookies were accompanied by hand-made cards from the troop saying “Thank you for the hard work and long hours you are putting in to get the West Point Treatment Plant fully restored. We appreciate the work you do to protect our water!”
WTD employees sent signed cards with praise: “You inspire me! Thank you for all the hard work you are doing to get our system back up and carry out our mission!”
West Point workers appreciate the support as much as the food. Operators who are used to working behind the scenes providing high quality wastewater service day after day are now on the front lines restoring the treatment plant. Everyone’s routines have changed. While most King County employees can’t step in to help, we can let our hard working, dedicated colleagues know that we’re standing by them throughout the restoration effort.