Kennedy lauds sewage plant’s green setup

Jun 11, 2009

The Oregonian

By Jill Rehkopf Smith

TIGARD — After years spent fighting sewage treatment plants in courtrooms across the country, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had to come to Tigard to find one he could actually praise.

Kennedy was in town Wednesday to celebrate a public-private green business partnership that he believes could serve as a model for other treatment plants.

The environmental attorney — and son of a political icon — joined local government, agricultural and environmental representatives at the Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility, run by Washington County’s Clean Water Services.

The sewage treatment plant, which Kennedy calls the best in North America, is the first in the U.S. to run part of its waste stream through special reactors that transform potentially damaging nutrients into environmentally friendly fertilizer, which is then sold commercially.

“I’ve probably sued more sewage plants than any attorney in North America,” said Kennedy, who represents Riverkeepers groups nationwide. Half of the plants are struggling with phosphorus, a nutrient that feeds devastating algae blooms.

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