Keeping our drinking water safe for you

We honor the Washington winners of the Drinking Water Week Awards

Imagine your life without clean, safe water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning in your homes and businesses. Behind the scenes, professionals all over the state are working hard to make sure you have access to that water. We honor them during National Drinking Water Week, May 1–7, with our Drinking Water Awards.

We thank them for their innovative solutions; for overcoming difficult, recurring problems; for demonstrating a commitment to excellence; and for going above and beyond the normal range of duties.

One example is Mark Combs of Rumbolz Sunset Water Association, winner of the 2022 “Perseverance Under Adversity award.

Did you know that some water systems are run by small groups of homeowners? Mark took over responsibility for one of those systems, which was not meeting our standards. It had old, broken equipment, a filthy well house, a leaking distribution system, and other challenges.

  • Mark worked tirelessly to bring the system up to date; replaced outdated and broken equipment; and cleaned up the well house.
  • He also taught the homeowners and board members how to properly manage their water system, according to Heidi Lundgren-Boyce, president of the homeowners’ association.

And the winners are…

This year we are giving 8 awards in 6 categories.

  • In the “Above and Beyond” category are Kathy and Oz Noboru Ausley, co-managers of Bethel Green Acres Association in Spanaway.
  • The “Commitment to Excellence award goes to Tom Krebs, water treatment plant supervisor, City of Walla Walla; Chris Orkney, lead operator, South Bend Water Department; and James Jensen, operations manager, Washington Water Service.
  • “Most Innovative goes to Jude Grounds, senior project manager, Carollo.
  • Tom Martin with Clallam PUD won the “Grace Under Pressure” award.
  • Arnica Briody, environmental health specialist, Chelan-Douglas Health District, won the “Friend of Drinking Water award.
  • As mentioned above, Mark Combs is recognized for his “Perseverance Under Adversity.”

The people we depend on

There are people like these all over the state, at systems of different sizes.

  • A rural community may be supported by a small water system serving only 15 homes, businesses or other customers.
  • A large community may be supported by a water utility company serving hundreds of thousands of people.

We depend on our drinking water professionals — water system certified operators, local health jurisdiction staff, water system owners and managers, and water system design consultants. They all work so that you can trust the water coming out of your tap.

Visit our Drinking Water Week webpage for more information on each winner and a list of past winners.

Congratulations to our winners and thank you for your dedication to providing safe, clean drinking water to Washingtonians!

More Information

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles. For more information from the Washington State Department of Health, visit

Questions about COVID-19? Visit our COVID-19 website to learn more about vaccines and booster doses, testing, WA Notify, and more. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.



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Washington State Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health

Protecting and improving the health of people in Washington State.