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Wednesday, October 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Drought is conspicuous for those outside the aquifer

More rural residents are hauling water because of the drought. Because of the growth in demand, Whitworth Water District No. 2 has received a state grant to relocate a water station that serve landowners who need to buy and haul water to their homes.

New website shows options for disposing hazardous waste

Got a few worn-out tires in your garage? An old television set you aren’t using? A box of spent compact fluorescent light bulbs? A new website provides links to Spokane-area vendors that accept hazardous waste. With a few clicks of a mouse, local residents can find multiple locations that will take their old tires and electronics. Compact fluorescent bulbs, meanwhile, can be recycled for free at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other locations.

Proposed Liberty Lake heating wells prompt contamination concerns

A proposal to sink hundreds of heat exchange wells for a mixed-use development in Liberty Lake poses a significant risk for groundwater contamination, the community’s water provider says. Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District is pushing for a more stringent environmental review of the project, which calls for 700 wells to be drilled 450 feet deep to heat and cool homes, apartments and commercial buildings in the Lakemore development planned along East Appleway Avenue.

Liquid asset: Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer

On a corner lot in the center of Spokane Valley, Rupert Butler tends to his large lawn below one of Modern Electric Water Co.’s conspicuous water towers. His grass is green and healthy, and Butler takes care to find the right mix of water and fertilizer to keep it that way all summer long. He sees plenty of wasteful watering, though, around his neighborhood: sprinklers left on for hours or running in the heat of the day, water splashing onto sidewalks and streets. For someone who has lived and worked in parched areas of Texas and California, he shakes his head at it all.

Proposed development on Bonner County timberland may get conservation easement instead

A few years ago, Bonner County’s largest contiguous tract of private forestland appeared headed for development. Clagstone Meadows – 13,000 acres of timber, lakes and wetlands – had an approved development plan that included 1,100 homes, condos and RV lots, two 18-hole golf courses and an equestrian area. The plan would have created the equivalent of a new city between Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint, with easy access from U.S. Highway 95.

State examining BNSF property

BNSF Railway Co. and Marathon Oil Co. may have to do some cleanup in Hillyard if an investigation prompted by the Washington state Department of Ecology shows petroleum-related contamination. The site being investigated is on BNSF’s property near 3202 E. Wellesley Ave. and, according to the Department of Ecology, located directly above the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.

Rail yard cleanup option proposed

One of Spokane’s oldest continuously operating industrial sites is slated for a $1.7 million cleanup aimed at keeping decades of fuel spills from reaching the aquifer. BNSF Railway Co.’s rail yard on East Trent Avenue has been in use since the early 1900s.

Aquifer recharge possible, but costly

Water from Lake Pend Oreille could be used to recharge the region’s drinking water supply, but it’s a costly option, a new study concludes. The study looked at capturing spring flows from Lake Pend Oreille by drilling wells at the lake’s southern tip. The water would be pumped back into ground at other locations to recharge the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water for nearly 600,000 of the region’s residents.

BNSF resists more aquifer funding

Each year, BNSF Railway Co. pays about $100,000 for programs that protect the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. The money is funneled through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, where it helps teach school kids about the aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 500,000 of the region’s residents; pays for inspections of industrial sites, including BNSF’s diesel refueling depot in Hauser; and funds collaborative work with other agencies aimed at keeping the aquifer free of contaminants.

BNSF suing Kootenai County over new regulations

BNSF Railway Co. is suing Kootenai County over new regulations proposed for the railroad’s Hauser diesel refueling depot. The railroad – which refuels an average of 30 trains at the depot daily – says that operations at the site are governed by federal transportation law, and that counties lack the ability to impose their own rules.

Study of aquifer looks at the future

When scientists undertake a $3 million study of the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, they’ll examine how climate change could affect the drinking water supply for more than 500,000 residents. “It’s an inexact science to be sure, from the standpoint of looking at the future availability of water,” said Hal Anderson, an administrator for the Idaho Department of Water Resources. “The main change we anticipate with warmer weather is the runoff coming sooner.”