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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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OxyContin robber sentenced

A man who robbed two Spokane pharmacies of OxyContin last year was sentenced Tuesday to just over a year in prison.

Plant to increase efficiency

Each day, digesters at the city of Coeur d’Alene’s sewage treatment plant belch out 96,000 cubic feet of methane gas. Some of the flammable gas is captured and used as a heating source. But most is burned off as waste.

Filters show promise in river cleanup

Each day, cities along the Spokane River dump millions of gallons of phosphorus-rich wastewater into its waters. As the state of Washington embarks on an ambitious plan to reduce the river’s phosphorus levels by 90 percent, Spokane officials say they’re getting encouraging results from a phosphorus-reduction study at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Voters looked to future, pass water bond

For a city that sits on one of the largest lakes in North America, no one would ever suspect there is a problem with adequate water supply. But looks are deceiving. The reality is that there is a problem in the city of Sandpoint – and it has the potential to be a 5-million-gallon-a-day problem. Last Tuesday, Sandpoint residents approved the issuance of a bond to expand the Lake Pend Oreille Water Treatment Facility, which currently has a capacity of 3.5 million gallons per day.

City, county tense over contracts

A harsh exchange Tuesday revealed that Spokane Valley’s contracts for county service are in more peril than previously acknowledged. County Commissioner Mark Richard said after Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the county budget staff is “frustrated beyond belief.”

Winds set plant construction back

Wind gusts at Spokane International Airport reached 55 mph Sunday and knocked out power in some places around the county. Those gusts also knocked down some form panels at Airway Heights’ new wastewater treatment plant, currently under construction.

City picks four finalists

The Spokane Valley City Council named four finalists Tuesday for the council position Steve Taylor vacated last month. They are Planning Commission Chairman Ian Robertson, former Planning Commissioner Fred Beaulac, retired minister Diana M. Sanderson and information technology engineer Ben T. Wick.

Grant will fund Airway Heights plant

The city of Airway Heights will receive $22 million in federal economic stimulus funding for a new wastewater treatment plant that will help recharge the West Plains aquifer. The city will treat about 1 million gallons of sewage per day at the new plant. About half of the treated water will be reused for irrigation and industrial purposes in the city of 5,300 people. The rest of the treated water will be pumped back into the ground, replenishing the aquifer.

Stimulus funds benefit wastewater plant

The city of Airway Heights will receive $22 million in federal economic stimulus funding for a new wastewater treatment plant that will help recharge the West Plains aquifer.

Accord on sewer proposal

Spokane Valley City Attorney Mike Connelly got a pat on the back Tuesday for diplomacy on a contentious issue that could have plugged every toilet in the city. City Council members wanted some adjustments in the fine print, but generally were pleased with a proposed agreement to keep construction of a new Spokane County sewage treatment plant on schedule.

County’s sewer project gets officially under way

One of the largest public works projects in Spokane County history, which has been nearly 30 years in the making, got its official start Thursday as local officials “turned dirt” for the $140 million wastewater treatment facility. Standing on land once occupied by stockyards off Freya Street, elected and appointed government leaders from the county, the city of Spokane Valley and the city of Spokane stuck shovels into the pre-softened soil and complimented one another for their cooperation.

County sewage rates could increase

Residential sewer rates in Spokane County could go up between $2.50 and $10 a month next year, and by as much as $18 a month by 2013, depending on how government officials decide to pay for changes to the wastewater treatment system. A range of options was described Tuesday to Spokane County commissioners, who must decide how to pay for a $148 million treatment plant along with another $105 million in improvements to the sewage system.

Most states have fewer drugs than feds suggest

With a swine flu outbreak spreading across the nation, more than half the states have yet to stockpile the number of flu-treatment doses recommended by the federal government, an Associated Press survey found.

Water projects to receive federal funds

Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Washington state Department of Ecology announced Monday the list of clean water projects to receive $65.4 million in federal stimulus funding administered through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The money will be paid out as grants or as low-interest loans. The money goes to publicly- owned wastewater treatment plants and associated activities that are ready to proceed, according to a state news release.

City, county: no sewer clash

Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson says he wasn’t opening a new front in the city’s contract disputes with Spokane County when he talked about seeking an alternative to a county sewage treatment plant. A Feb. 23 city-county meeting to sort out an increasingly contentious relationship produced what diplomats might call a full and frank exchange of views, but not a potentially dangerous escalation of rhetoric, according to spokesmen on both sides.

City-county clashes continue

Spokane Valley Mayor Rich Munson says he wasn’t opening a new front in the city’s contract disputes with Spokane County when he talked about seeking an alternative to a county sewage treatment plant. A Feb. 23 city-county meeting to sort out an increasingly contentious relationship produced what diplomats might call a full and frank exchange of views, but not a potentially dangerous escalation of rhetoric, according to spokesmen on both sides.

Valley, County squabbles continue

Spokane Valley and Spokane County officials have a relationship that sometimes make the public dustups between Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton look tame. But Monday, council members and commissioners met in an effort to air some issues and vowed to communicate better so residents don’t end up paying more or losing levels of service because officials can’t get along.

County OKs $200,000 for bid loser

Without discussion or fanfare, the Spokane County Commission on Tuesday approved a $200,000 payment to the company that came in second on the bid to design, build and operate a new $170 million wastewater treatment plant. State auditors last year questioned the legality of the “honorarium” paid to Veolia Water North America. Yet Commissioners Mark Richard and Bonnie Mager approved the payment Tuesday. Commissioner Todd Mielke was absent for the vote.