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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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EPA says it will start asbestos, PCB cleanup of former Kaiser smelter in Mead this week

The contaminants are collecting in pipes that feed into retention ponds, where levels of contaminants are thousands of times beyond what is permitted for human health. The site of the former plant is owned by a recycling company, but an undeveloped area north of the old smelter remains in Kaiser's hands and is where much of the groundwater contamination has been located by regulators. 

Local governments, industries submit plans to limit pollution in Spokane River as conservation groups cry foul

The Department of Ecology has accepted applications from Spokane, Liberty Lake, Spokane County, Kaiser and Inland Empire Paper to avoid having to meet a standard for cancer-causing pollution that they say is unattainable. Those applications will be analyzed over the coming year, but conservationists say the Ecology Department shouldn’t be allowing wastewater dischargers any leeway on the limits, even as the Trump administration works to roll them back.

Tribes, conservation groups cry foul after Trump administration signals rollback of Spokane River quality standards

The request for public comment on a plan to revisit allowable pollution levels in Washington’s waterways did not include notification to the state’s Department of Ecology or native tribes. The Environmental Protection Agency says the notice was published in error on their website, but conservation groups are interpreting the posting as a sign that a fight over the standard is imminent.

Pollution limits in Spokane River prompt city officials to seek reprieve from EPA

Mayor David Condon told the City Council this week he has been discussing the possibility of a workaround for environmental guidelines on carcinogenic chemicals being discharged into the Spokane River at levels undetectable by current lab tests. Those guidelines, established in the final days of the Obama administration, go beyond safe levels established by state regulators concerned about contaminated fish.

De-icer used by city of Spokane contains PCBs

The deicer used by the city of Spokane on its streets contains trace amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Those toxins made news most recently when the company responsible for producing the pollutants, Monsanto, was sued – by the city of Spokane.

Spokane County wastewater plant needs new PCB permit

OLYMPIA – Spokane County’s new wastewater treatment plant will need a new permit that measures the amount of a cancer-causing chemical it’s putting into the Spokane River, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled. Judge Eric Price agreed with a state Pollution Control Hearings Board that the wastewater facility is adding polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, to the river in the water it discharges after treatment. He also agreed that PCB reduction provisions of the current discharge permit are so inadequate they must be replaced with numeric limits.

Pollution levels lower than reported

OLYMPIA – The Spokane River has some of the highest levels of a cancer-causing pollutant in the state, and the county’s new wastewater treatment plant will put more of that chemical into the water, an expert hired by an environmental group said Tuesday. But under sharp questioning from an attorney representing the county, environmental biologist Peter deFuhr admitted his math was wrong on some computations and his earlier assumptions about the level of polychlorinated biphenyls from the plant were high. The new plant, he added, does a much better job of removing PCB than the city’s treatment plant, which before 2011 was processing some 8 million gallons of county sewage each day.

City pays $300,000 to settle PCB claim

Spokane’s wastewater department will spend more than $300,000 to settle a claim alleging that dangerous chemicals were released into the Spokane River through city storm drains. Most of the money will be used to improve the river’s water quality.