August 1, 2013 in Washington Voices

Spokane Valley looks at adding sewer

Plan for new pump station makes connecting industrial land easier
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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The city of Spokane Valley is crunching numbers to see if it’s possible to add sewer to a large swath of vacant industrial land between Flora Road and Barker Road north of Euclid Avenue and south of Trent Avenue.

The city’s sewer system is owned and operated by Spokane County, a holdover from before the city’s incorporation. Development engineering manager Gabe Gallinger said he was “pleasantly surprised” to discover the county plans to build new pump stations and force mains on Flora and Barker in the next couple of years, for about $4 million. That leaves the city to pay for a new gravity collection system to serve the 437 acres of land, all of which is owned by Centennial Properties. Centennial is owned by Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

The city would need to install new trunk lines under Euclid, Tschirley Road, Eden Road and Barker. “We would have to remove and replace the streets,” Gallinger said. In order to allow the land to be developed the city would have to put in a new east-west street where Tschirley ends now. Eden would be extended to connect to the new street. Sewer pipes would be installed under the new sections of streets as well, Gallinger said.

The city does not own the right of way needed for the new street, though landowners are willing to participate, Gallinger said.

The goal is to put in the backbone of the sewer system, said Community Development Director John Hohman. “We just wanted to focus on the bare minimum to open up as much of that vacant land as possible,” he said.

The estimated cost for the project is $10.2 million, including the road work and improving water pressure. But there’s no need to do all the improvements at once, Gallinger said. “A phased approach is probably the best way to go,” he said.

“We wouldn’t want to move forward without relative certainty that development would happen soon after,” Hohman said.

Councilman Dean Grafos noted that the city can’t move forward until the county completes its improvements. “We’re basically at the mercy of the county and that Flora pump station,” he said.

Hohman also briefed the council on the county’s Saltese Flats wetlands restoration project. There was some consternation several weeks ago when Spokane County commissioners voted to submit a flood plain study of the flats to the Federal Emergency Management Agency without the agreement of Spokane Valley. Hohman said the plan hasn’t been submitted to FEMA yet. “We have been meeting recently with the county,” he said. “We are discussing ways to move forward.”

The main issue is the 100-year flood plain map. The current one doesn’t match the area’s topography and needs to be updated. Though the Saltese Flats are located in unincorporated Spokane County, the area drains into Shelley Lake, which is inside the city limits. Right now 32 parcels inside the city are designated as part of the flood plain, but only two are required to have flood insurance, Gallinger said. The other parcels are either vacant or are only partially located in the flood plain.

Hohman said the city would continue to work with the county on the map to be submitted to FEMA.


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