Thurston County News


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Meghan Porter

Bryan Dominique

Friday, April 15, 2022
Albany Pond Stormwater Project Earns State Award
American Public Works Association honors innovative county environmental project
April Leigh, Thurston County Public Works, Education and Outreach Supervisor, 360-867-2375 or


Thurston County is once again joining an elite list of government agencies awarded by the American Public Works Association (APWA) Washington State Chapter. The county received the APWA Project of the Year award for the Albany Pond Stormwater Project. 

This innovative stormwater pond can annually soak up as much water as a football field flooded 12 stories high, and doubles as a community space for all to enjoy. Input from area residents resulted in the addition of a walking trail, a crosswalk connecting a nearby community park, and an outdoor amphitheater with seating.

The amphitheater is accessible during dry months when the pond is empty and disappears underneath the water in winter months when the pond is full.


“This project was designed to provide multiple environmental benefits to the region,” said Thurston County Commission Chair, Carolina Mejia. “The stormwater facility addresses localized street flooding in the commercial district of Rochester. And, the treated water from the pond provides recharge to the aquifer, offsetting the impact of wells and other stressors on the nearby Black River.”

Mejia joined Public Works staff in acceptance of the award at the APWA Washington Chapter Spring Conference on Thursday, April 14, 2022 in Vancouver, WA. The Albany Stormwater Pond was chosen as the winner in the environment category, for projects with a budget of $5 million or less.

“We are honored to receive this recognition and are rewarded by the results of the project,” said Thurston County Public Works Director Jennifer Walker.


The APWA Washington State Chapter awards projects which epitomize the public works profession and best practices from throughout the state. This is the second time Thurston County has won the award. Public Works was honored in 2019 by both the state and national APWA organizations for the Fish Passage Enhancement Program. 

About the Project
The town of Rochester in Thurston County, Washington experienced frequent issues with standing water and poor drainage after storm events. Thurston County collaborated with community members to develop a stormwater solution that would improve water quality treatment and provide the rural community with an amenity.
This project was funded in part by the Washington State Department of Ecology, who provided $1.2 million to support in-stream flows.

About APWA
The American Public Works Association is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA supports those who operate, improve and maintain public works and infrastructure through advocacy, education, and member engagement. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, MO, has an office in Washington, DC, and 63 chapters in North America. Learn more at

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3