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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Spokane River

State, county lose round in PCB dispute

OLYMPIASpokane County’s new wastewater treatment plant will need a new permit that measures the amount of a cancer-causing chemical it’s putting in the Spokane River, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled.

Judge Eric Price agreed with a state Pollution Control Hearings Board that the wastewater facility is adding polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, to the river in the water it discharges after treatment. He also agreed that PCB reduction provisions of the current discharge permit are so inadequate they must be replaced with numeric limits. . . 

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Council approves loan to help stop raw sewage from entering Spokane River

Spokane will borrow more than $1 million from the state to help prevent untreated sewage from spilling into the Spokane River.

The City Council on Monday agreed to accept a low-interest loan from the state Department of Ecology to pay for a combined sewage overflow tank already under construction near the T.J. Meenach Bridge.

The project is one of many that that will add up to an estimated $300 million through 2017, the deadline that’s been set for the city to stop nearly all discharges of raw sewage into the river.

Much of Spokane’s south side has storm drains that flow into the sanitary sewage system. When it rains, that system becomes overburdened and sewage flows to the river without being treated. To prevent that from occurring, the city is installing a series of overflow tanks to capture excess sewage that can flow to the treatment plant as capacity allows.

City officials say they likely will seek a bond to pay for most of those projects. The construction of the tanks has been cited as a significant reason for recent and proposed sewage fee increases that could make monthly sewage bills hit $55 in 2013, up from about $33 in 2010.

City loses $500,000 grant for whitewater park

OLYMPIA — A state board in charge of money for recreational projects rejected a plea from supporters of a whitewater park in the Spokane River and refused Thursday to extend a $500,000 grant. The project will probably take longer than supporters estimate, and the city should return when more prep work has been done, board members said.

In a 6-1 vote, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board agreed with a staff decision in April not to extend the expiring grant. Board members rejected arguments that doing so would kill the momentum for the project; instead they said the project should complete an environmental impact statement and obtain needed permits, then return to the board to ask for the grant to be awarded a second time.

Spokane City Parks Director Leroy Eadie said after the vote that the next step will be to “go back and regroup” and try to find the $75,000 to $80,000 needed for the EIS. It might be possible to pay for that study with another grant obtained by Friends of the Falls: “This is a little bump in the road. This project's had a lot of bumps in the road.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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