Clallam PUD’s Tom Martin honored for quick action after landslide

Tom Martin.

Tom Martin.

CARLSBORG — Grace under pressure.

That is what Tom Martin, water and wastewater manager for the Clallam County Public Utility District, displayed in November, when a landslide 325 feet high and 275 feet wide broke a water pipeline and damaged the Hoko pumping station, cutting off drinking water to Sekiu and Clallam Bay customers, said the state Office of Drinking Water with the Department of Health.

Martin led the successful effort to work with retailers, the state National Guard and local volunteer pilots with the Clallam County Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) to deliver water to the customers.

PUD then built a bypass line to help restore service until the highway could be cleared and repairs made.

So the state presented the Grace Under Pressure award to Martin at a commissioner meeting on April 25.

“We are proud of Tom and his department for their significant effort in the restoration of service,” said General Manager Sean Worthington.

“While this is an award specifically designated for water system operators, we recognize that many across the district were involved in the restoration effort.

“It was truly an example of how an event can reach across multiple departments.”

The office presents several categories of awards annually in recognition of National Drinking Water Week, set for Sunday through Saturday, to recognize individual water systems and operators.

Eight people from around the state who ensure their communities have access to safe, clean drinking water have been honored as the “best of the best” during the week, which was started more than 40 years ago by the American Water Works Association.

The Department of Health said it recognizes these professionals for maintaining high-quality water systems, a critical part of public health, especially over the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other winners were:

• Commitment to Excellence: Tom Krebs, water treatment plant supervisor, City of Walla Walla; Chris Orkney, lead operator, South Bend Water Department, Raymond/South Bend; and James Jensen, operations manager, Washington Water Service;

• Above and Beyond: Kathy and Oz Noboru Ausley, co-managers of Bethel Green Acres Association, Spanaway;

• Most Innovative: Jude Grounds, senior project manager, Carollo;

• Friend of Drinking Water: Arnica Briody, environmental health specialist, Chelan-Douglas Health District, East Wenatchee;

• Perseverance Under Adversity: Mark Combs, water operator, Rumbolz Sunset Water Association, Maple Valley.

For more information, see doh.wa.gov/DWWeek.

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