Environmental Excellence and Innovation

This awards program recognizes those who are implementing innovative, sustainable actions or working in creative partnerships to improve and protect Washington County's environment and contribute to a more viable economy. Successful candidates will be those who demonstrate measurable environmental, economic and social benefits as a result of constructive projects or programs that go beyond standard techniques or regulatory requirements. Awards will be presented at our annual spring awards ceremony. The ceremony will offer the award winners an opportunity to present information and display materials about their award winning projects.

Congratulations to Tokai Carbon USA

Elected officials joined CWS leadership and staff in presenting award to Frank Spangler, Tokai Carbon USA President.The 2015 Environmental Excellence Award was presented to Hillsboro’s Tokai Carbon USA, for its innovative, environmentally friendly approach to pH reduction. The firm, which has been operating for more than 20 years in Washington County, is one of the biggest and oldest graphite manufacturers in the world. Tokai Carbon USA supplies high purity graphite parts and CVD coated products for semiconductor and high temperature fields.

Tokai Carbon USA’s manufacturing processes produce large amounts of used water, which the company is responsible for pretreating before releasing it into the sewer system. The pretreatment process includes pH reduction. The firm used to use sulfuric acid to lower the pH; it now uses carbonic acid. Sulfuric acid is characterized as “hazardous” and “aggressive,” while carbonic acid is the same substance used in many soft drinks, artificially carbonated sparkling wines, and other bubbly drinks.

Another benefit of the new system is that Tokai Carbon USA produces its own carbonic acid from the carbon dioxide produced by its manufacturing process. Frank Spangler, Tokai Carbon USA President, said, “By converting our carbon dioxide into carbonic acid, we’re reducing our carbon footprint. It’s the equivalent of taking about 4.5 average cars off the road. That may not sound like a lot, but it all adds up!” Spangler added that, in addition to the safety and environmental benefits, the new system also allows for more precise and reliable pH monitoring.

Application Criteria


Does the project contribute new information on how to improve the environment? Is it a new concept or process? Has it ever been executed successfully before? Is this the first time a project like this is being used in Oregon? Is it a creative solution to a problem?


Does it make a significant contribution to improving the environment? Does it reduce health risk or conserve resources? Does it reduce a large volume or significant percentage of hazardous/toxic contaminants, solid waste, and water resources? Is it beneficial to the economy, the environment, or local community? Is it cost effective? Are people participating? Does it tackle a difficult task? Is it effective?


Describe your project's results. Can we measure its contribution to environmental quality? Is the measurement specific?


Does the project promote public awareness or education? Does it include employee training or technology transfer? Does it include "how to" guidelines/brochures/videos? Does it encourage other environmental efforts? Are employees involved in development and implementation? Does it serve as a model for other efforts?

Cooperative Effort

Does this project involve a cooperative effort between multiple entities or organizations (city/state government, industries, civic groups, schools, citizens, associations)?


Is the project self-sustaining or ongoing? Does it go significantly beyond legal requirements? Does it address other social needs, such as environmental equity? Does it solve a serious environmental problem or result in a significant positive impact on the environment?

Award Application Instructions

Please include a Letter of Nomination that describes the candidate(s) and the accomplishments as related to the criteria listed (maximum two pages). Include any documentation available such as photos, articles, brochures, and/or letters of endorsement that will assist in the review of the application. Please note-materials submitted may not be returned.

Submit to:

Source Control Manager c/o Clean Water Services
2550 SW Hillsboro Hwy 
Hillsboro, OR 97123


The deadline is March 1 each year.

Recipients and their projects may at the District's discretion, be described and presented in press releases, web pages, brochures, and/or other publications.

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