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Stimulus funds benefit wastewater plant

Wed., July 22, 2009, 8:30 p.m.

The city of Airway Heights will receive $22 million in federal economic stimulus funding for a new wastewater treatment plant that will help recharge the West Plains aquifer.

The city will treat about 1 million gallons of sewage per day at the new plant. About half of the treated water will be reused for irrigation and industrial purposes in the city of 5,300 people. The rest of the treated water will be pumped back into the ground, replenishing the aquifer.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office announced the grant this week, saying the project also will benefit water quality in the Spokane River by reducing the phosphorus flowing into the river. Airway Heights has been shipping its sewage to the city of Spokane, which treats it and discharges it into the river.

The new plant will cost about $42 million. Airway Heights and the state’s public works trust fund are contributing the rest of the money, said Albert Tripp, the city’s manager.

About 200 temporary construction jobs will be created during the plant’s construction.

The wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to begin operations in June 2011.

Tripp said that Airway Heights will save nearly $700,000 per year by treating its own wastewater. The project also allows the city to recycle its wastewater locally, benefiting the aquifer that serves the West Plains, he said.

The plant will be located south of Highway 2, near the intersection of Lawson Road.

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