Washington County commissioners set in motion a process for hiring a successor to Bill Gaffi, who has led Clean Water Services for nearly half of the agency's 48-year history. Gaffi will leave in August after 24 years.

COURTESY CLEAN WATER SERVICES - Bill Gaffi, general manager of Clean Water Services for 24 years, is leaving in August. Washington County commissioners, who double as the governing board of the agency, have set in motion a process for hiring his successor.Washington County commissioners have set in motion the process of hiring a new general manager for Clean Water Services, the agency responsible for treating wastewater and handling stormwater in most of the county.

Bill Gaffi, its general manager for about half of the 48 years the agency has been in existence, is leaving in August. Gaffi, 70, has been general manager since 1994 — only the third for the agency since voters created it back in 1970.

"He's going to be tough to follow," Board Chairman Andy Duyck said before the commissioners approved the hiring process on Tuesday, May 1.

County commissioners double as the governing board for Clean Water Services. With an annual all-funds budget of about $466 million and a workforce of about 350, it is separate from county government and has its own public advisory committee.

The salary range set by the commissioners is $180,000 to $240,000.

Applications are being accepted through May 25. The board has chosen not to hire a search firm for the process.

Applicants will be screened in several rounds, finalists will be interviewed, and the board hopes to make a job offer to someone by Aug. 7. Assuming a successful negotiation, the appointee will start Sept. 4.

The agency serves virtually all residents (560,000 of 590,000) of Washington County.

Voters approved the formation of what was then called the United Sewerage Agency of Washington County in February 1970, after a building moratorium was imposed the previous fall because of inadequate sewage treatment. The moratorium was lifted after voters approved a $36 million bond issue in April 1970, when the first Earth Day was observed, to consolidate and upgrade 26 treatment plants throughout the county.

Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972 to regulate pollutant discharges into water and gave authority to the Environmental Protection Agency, which can delegate responsibility to states.

Over the years United Sewerage Agency also assumed responsibility for stormwater management. It was renamed Clean Water Services in 2001 to reflect broader responsibilities.

Its monthly rate for combined wastewater treatment and stormwater management, as of July 2017, is the lowest among comparable large communities including Portland, Salem and Vancouver. It provides advance tertiary treatment, which removes excess nutrients from wastewater before it is discharged into the Tualatin River.

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