Inland Empire Paper Co. has become the fourth Washington discharger to receive a new permit to pump treated wastewater in the Spokane River.
Through the permit, the Washington Department of Ecology set new limits on the amount of phosphorus and other pollutants that the Millwood newsprint plant can discharge. Inland Empire Paper is also required to monitor its discharge of PCBs, which will be subject to future regulation.
Inland Empire Paper is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.
Discharge permits are typically updated every five years, said Jani Gilbert, an Ecology Department spokeswoman. However, the permits issued a decade ago were extended while dischargers and other community stakeholders worked with state officials on a plan to improve dissolved oxygen levels in the river, Gilbert said. The permits achieve that by lowering the amount of phosphorus and other nutrients that can be discharged.
The Ecology Department issued new discharge permits in June to the city of Spokane, Kaiser Aluminum and the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District. A permit for Spokane County’s new wastewater treatment plant is pending. Gilbert said it will be out before the end of November.