Spokane-area public and private water treatment plants are engaged in an innovative effort to improve Spokane River quality.
These plants, including Inland Empire Paper Co. (IEP), do not generate PCBs. PCBs are in the inks on newspapers recycled to make new paper. Public treatment plants receive PCBs from human waste and household products. Our plants currently remove over 90 percent of contaminants from these outside sources. Currently underway are significant investments in new technologies that when completed will result in all treatment facilities combined contributing approximately 1 percent of total PCBs entering the watershed.
Concurrently, IEP and other community stakeholders are working collaboratively to identify and reduce the remaining 99 percent of PCB sources that do not pass through treatment plants, but still enter the watershed. Stakeholders are also asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to change regulations that currently allow PCB content in manufactured products that enter our facilities and environment.
This unique and innovative approach of directing resources toward immediate and sustained environmental improvement is the most effective and efficient use of ratepayer and business dollars. Our community is ready to move beyond red tape and lawsuits to pursue the quickest and least expensive way to a cleaner river.
Environmental manager, IEP