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Avista plans stormwater swale

Avista Corp. is working on plans to install a new landscaped drainage basin on its campus along Upriver Drive and the Centennial Trail as part of a broader effort to expand and improve the layout of the campus.

Avista is seeking a land-use change from the city for 14 parcels north of Upriver Drive and authorization to change the layout of streets on the northeast side of the campus in the vicinity of Riverview Retirement Community.

Riverview residents were consulted about the changes while Avista and Riverview are undertaking a land trade as part of the realignment, said Eric Bowles, corporate facilities manager for Avista.

Avista officials said they hope to get projects under construction this year. The work is part of planning that dates back a number of years, they said.

The 14 parcels along North Crescent Avenue and Ross Court are currently designated for multifamily residential use. Avista wants them converted to light industrial use to meet its future growth.

The amendment to the land-use plan requires approval by the City Council.

The utility wants to use 6.8 acres to increase storage for materials that are now kept off site. There has also been discussion about building an improved fleet services facility with a vehicle wash station, officials said.

Spokane County records show that Avista has been acquiring property in the area for the past six years.

Last year, Avista completed installation of a new drainage basin, known as a swale, along Upriver Drive at North Center Street to handle stormwater from future expansion and construction of a rerouted North Crescent Avenue.

The other planned basin is a 5,960-square-foot swale planned for an existing lawn area 100 feet from the Spokane River on the northeast side of Mission Avenue and Upriver Drive.

The cost of the two basins is about $800,000 combined.

They are being planted with grass and native vegetation, which will improve the naturalistic landscape along the river, company officials said in their applications.

Currently, a portion of the stormwater coming from the main Avista campus is draining directly into the Spokane River without treatment to remove pollutants. That water is coming from a parking lot and roof drains, according to Avista’s application for a shoreline permit.

Both swales will hold the water during runoff and allow it to infiltrate the ground with roots and soil helping break down substances such as oil and antifreeze from vehicles.

Drywells are capturing any potential excess water.

The existing lawn at Mission and Upriver gets little public use now, the application said.

“This proposal will collect and treat untreated stormwater that currently discharges directly to the Spokane River. The overall purpose of this project will reduce pollutants into the shoreline and help water quality,” the application said.

The shoreline application for the swale was approved by city planners in November.

Laurine Jue, Avista spokeswoman, said the utility is committed to environmental stewardship.