Clackamas WES awarded for ‘around the clock’ work in 2021 ice storm

Clackamas County

A large tree felled by an ice storm is seen on the roof of a house in Lake Oswego, Ore., on Feb. 14, 2021. More than 150,000 customers remain without power Wednesday in the greater Portland, Ore., region nearly a week after a massive ice storm downed power lines and sent trees crashing onto houses and blocked roads. More than 300,000 customers lost power at the peak of the outage and there is no estimate for when full power will be restored. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Clackamas Water Environment Services received an award Tuesday for its response to the historic February 2021 ice storm. 

From Feb. 12 through Feb. 23 residents in Clackamas Water Environment Services navigated power outages, dangerous conditions, and other obstacles to ensure its nearly 200,000 customers in Northern Clackamas County had wastewater treatment services throughout the storm and its aftermath. 

To recognize Clackamas Water Environment Services’ work during those days, the Water Environment Federation honored the service with a 2021 Water Heroes Award. The award recognizes organizations that perform duties “above and beyond the usual call of duty during an emergency situation to protect the public and the environment.” 

Clackamas Water Environment Service Director Greg Geist said some staff members slept on site during the storm to make sure equipment kept working through the night. 

“Our crew members worked around the clock to keep the facilities and pump stations running. It was a truly inspiring team effort,” he said. 

Clackamas Water Environment Services responded to more than 1,000 alarms while its five wastewater treatment facilities experienced power loss and 10 major pump stations operated on standby power. 

Even with these challenges, there were no sanitary sewer overflows within the service area, which includes the cities of Gladstone, Johnson City, Happy Valley, Milwaukie, Oregon City, West Linn and other unincorporated communities. 

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