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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Environmental Protection Agency is sorry. Sorry it didn’t approach the cleanup of the Spokane River in a regional way from the very start of the TMDL process. TMDL (for total maximum daily load) is jargon that translates, loosely, to “river cleanup plan.” In this case, it means the cleanup of phosphorus that feeds algae that sucks the river dry of dissolved oxygen when it dies.
Crafting a new plan to limit phosphorus discharges into the Spokane River will take at least another year, state and federal officials announced Friday. Phosphorus is harmful to the river’s aquatic health. Found in fertilizers and treated sewage, phosphorus contributes to algae blooms and water quality problems in the reservoir behind Long Lake Dam, including low levels of dissolved oxygen crucial for rainbow trout.
A multiyear effort to lower phosphorus levels in the Spokane River – and reduce algae blooms and improve water quality in the reservoir behind Long Lake Dam – has hit a major snag. The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it erred when calculating phosphorus limits in permits for Idaho cities that discharge treated sewage into the river.
Don't worry, the soap police will not appear at your door July 1. That's the date Spokane County will become the first and only Washington county to require ultra-low phosphate dishwasher detergent. By 2010, every Washington county will follow Spokane County's lead under a new state law prohibiting the sale of dishwasher detergents with phosphorus contents higher than one-half of 1 percent.
State legislators want Spokane to go it alone this year in enforcing groundbreaking limits on phosphates in dish detergent. The state Senate this week approved a House bill that eliminates or weakens the strict phosphate restrictions that were supposed to become effective in two other counties July 1.
The death of a sewage plant maintenance worker in 2004 set the stage for a multimillion dollar project to build two egg-shaped sewage "digesters" at Spokane's wastewater treatment plant on Aubrey L. White Parkway. Crews are midway into the $45 million project to erect twin steel tanks, each capable of holding 2.85 million gallons of sewage sludge.
(From For the Record, March 23, 1998): Story incorrect: Terry Lawhead is operations director for the Downtown Spokane Partnership. Lawhead's title was unclear and the group's name was incorrect in a Sunday story. 1. Shortly after leaving detox, friends share a beer downtown. Photo by Shawn Jacobson/The Spokesman-Review 2. Van driver Glen Dowd shakes hands with a man in the "sobering unit" at the detox center. Dowd had just transported another man from the Deaconess Medical Center emergency room to detox. Photo by Shawn Jacobson/The Spokesman-Review