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Keep river commitment

Dumping raw sewage into the Spokane River is wrong. Raw sewage is a public health menace, and an insult to downstream communities and tribes.

On a sunny day in June 2006, an angler reported raw sewage flowing into the Spokane River at Riverside State Park via city overflow pipes. To protect the river and the aquatic and human communities that depend on it, Sierra Club proposed suing the city under the Clean Water Act, the law intended to protect and restore fishable, swimmable rivers.

Working with experts and city officials, we settled on remedies to stop some of the city’s sewage discharges, including better notification systems, improved maintenance and accelerated construction of underground tanks needed to prevent overflows.

“Spokane: Near Nature, Near Perfect” is a civic motto that speaks with vision. Presumably the days are gone when Spokane turned its back on our troubled river. We must remain committed to cleaning up – from PCBs to raw sewage – and conserving water to restore instream flows.

A clean, flowing Spokane River requires more than lip service and political spin. A healthy river flowing through Spokane, downstream communities and Indian reservations requires moral commitment, political will and investment.

John Osborn



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