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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sewage plant moves ahead

Spokane County commissioners voted 2-1 on Friday to allow an engineering firm to begin construction on a wastewater treatment plant that will raise sewer bills for residents served by it, most of whom live in Spokane Valley. Commissioner Bonnie Mager was the single no vote in a meeting that got testy at times as commissioners debated timelines for construction, financing during an unstable credit market and threats to future development.

Beauty treatments take an ugly turn during recession

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Allergan’s (NYSE: AGN) Latisse, a treatment for hypotrichosis (sparseness) of eyelashes. Small eyelashes are far from a small market – the global market is around $3.7 billion. But Allergan is going to have a hard time capturing much of that market in this economy, considering the drug will run $120 a month. Beauty treatments are often among the first things to be cut when paychecks are in jeopardy.

Drug abuse treatment paying off

BOISE – Idaho’s prison population is down, defying a steep multiyear growth trend and signaling, state officials say, that the state’s new coordinated approach to substance abuse treatment is paying off. “We were able to change history this year,” Debbie Field, head of Gov. Butch Otter’s Office on Drug Policy, told lawmakers Monday. “We actually entered the year with fewer inmates than we started the (previous) year with.”

Our View: Need for sewage treatment plant growing urgent

There are those who think Spokane County was too hasty in signing a contract with CH2M Hill Constructors Inc. to design, build and operate the county’s long-debated sewage treatment facility. That’s a hard conclusion to understand.

No decision on financing for plant

Spokane County commissioners had a novel idea Wednesday about helping to pay for the new sewage treatment plant the county’s trying to build: Perhaps the city of Spokane Valley, whose residents would represent about three-fourths of the facility’s customers, could be on the hook for some portion of it, if money gets tight. The suggestion caught Valley officials “like a deer in the headlights,” City Manager Dave Mercier said.

County offers cash to attract bidders

State auditors believe Spokane County may have made an illegal promise to the losing bidder of a proposed sewage treatment plant. In 2006, the county agreed to pay up to $200,000 to companies that bid on but lose a county contract for building and operating the plant, which would serve Spokane Valley and surrounding areas.

Plant bid choice disputed

New questions are emerging over Spokane County’s desire to build a $142 million sewage treatment plant that would remove less pollution but cost about the same to operate as another proposed facility rejected by a selection committee. County officials defend the move, saying the bid submitted by CH2M Hill Constructors Inc. to build and operate the plant remains the best choice even though a competitor, Veolia Water North America, proposed a facility that would leave about 50 percent less phosphorus in treated water and, some argue, cost slightly less in the long run.

Discharge rules still unclear for new facility

Spokane County is on the verge of signing what’s believed to be its biggest contract ever to build a wastewater treatment plant, even though no one knows yet whether environmental regulators will allow any of the treated sewage to be discharged into the Spokane River. The last step on the proposal comes Tuesday when the county holds a public hearing to allow residents to comment on the $170 million contract with engineering, construction and operations firm CH2M HILL. The plan calls for the facility to be built on 20 acres on the old stockyards at Freya Street and Boone Avenue.

Sewage digester contract awarded

The engineering firm that was ordered last month to pay more than $5 million to the family and estate of a city employee killed in sewage accident, was awarded a $30 million city contract on Monday. The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to award CH2M HILL the eight-year contract to engineer, plan and manage the construction of two new sewage digesters and other work at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Our View: Public should speak up on facility contract

The draft service contract for a proposed Regional Water Reclamation Facility is 219 pages long. The contract, if approved, will be between Spokane County and CH2M HILL, the company the county chose to design, build and run the sewage treatment facility. The contract isn’t an easy read. A typical sentence: “No certification of Provisional Acceptance by the Company pursuant to Section 6.6 shall limit or otherwise affect any of the County’s rights under this Service Contract.”

Spokane Valley faces rough treatment

Spokane Valley residents may pay dearly for a federal mistake and stringent Washington water quality standards, city officials were told Tuesday. An economy-wrenching moratorium on new construction is a possibility, but larger-than-expected sewer rate increases are a certainty.

$5 million awarded to Cmos family

A city contractor must pay the family of a man killed in a 2004 sewage tank accident more than $5 million, a judge ruled Friday. Mike Cmos Jr. died in May 2004 when the roof of one of three large sewage digesters at Spokane’s wastewater treatment plant collapsed into the tank.