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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U.S. mining sites dump 50M gallons of fouled wastewater daily

Every day many millions of gallons of water loaded with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals flow from some of the most contaminated mining sites in the U.S. and into surrounding streams and ponds without being treated, The Associated Press has found.

Chum salmon surprisingly resistant to pollution, WSU research finds

BREMERTON, Wash. – Chum salmon appear to have a cockroach-like resistance to pollution. Scientists at Washington State University’s stormwater research center in Puyallup recently made the surprising discovery that chum are unaffected by the same levels of toxic road runoff that quickly kills their coho cousins.

Editorial: Inslee missteps in ditching clean-water standard

Last summer, Gov. Jay Inslee released a pragmatic plan to update the state’s clean-water standards. Friday, he walked away from the solution that was three years in the making and involved extensive collaboration among municipal, industrial and environmental stakeholders. He not only scrapped the state’s best shot at cleaning up waterways, he gave many people reason to utter “never again” to invitations from government to help solve a problem.

EPA seeks Superfund listing for Freeman grain elevator

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants a grain elevator in Freeman listed as a Superfund site to remove high levels of a toxic pesticide that’s leaching into groundwater. The EPA said it has discovered carbon tetrachloride and chloroform in the soil at the Cenex Harvest States grain handling facility off state Highway 27 south of Spokane. Built in 1955, the site was originally owned by Rockford Grain Growers, an agricultural cooperative. It houses an elevator and 13 grain silos, and sits just a few feet from the railroad tracks that pass through town. Behind the silos, the ground is wet and swampy, covered with deer tracks.

Conference focuses on Lake Coeur d’Alene pollution, solutions

Five years ago, officials from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the state of Idaho shook hands on a deal to address historic mining pollution at the bottom of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Local leaders were sensitive about the potential stigma of a Superfund cleanup on Coeur d’Alene’s resort town image. Tribal officials agreed that other measures to protect the lake’s water quality were an acceptable alternative.

Historic deal requires Corps disclose dam pollution

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have to disclose the amount of pollutants its dams are sending into waterways in a groundbreaking legal settlement that could have broad implications for the Corps' hundreds of dams nationwide.

Grassy swale helps CdA church handle stormwater, save money

Fifty-five-thousand square feet of asphalt made it easy to find a parking spot at Coeur d’Alene Assembly Church, but all that blacktop was costing the church a small fortune in stormwater fees. When the city of Coeur d’Alene reinstated the fees last year, church officials were caught off guard by the $264 monthly bill. The assessment was based on the square footage of impervious surfaces on church property, which collected runoff that flowed into the city’s storm drains.

Spokane Tribe adopts strict water quality standards

The Spokane Tribe of Indians has adopted new water quality standards aimed at protecting the health of members who eat a subsistence diet of nearly two pounds of fish daily. The tribe’s new standards will apply to the Spokane River as it runs through the 159,000-acre Spokane Indian Reservation. Eventually, the stricter standards could force those upstream to reduce the amount of cancer-causing PCBs they discharge to meet tribal standards on downstream stretches of the Spokane River.

Court: State can regulate waterways

In a case involving a Dayton rancher, the Washington state Supreme Court has upheld state officials’ authority to regulate cow pies in streams. The case involved Joseph Lemire, who grazes cattle in a pasture bisected by Pataha Creek. In 2003, the Department of Ecology and the Columbia Conservation District identified Lemire’s ranching practices as contributors to poor water quality in the creek, according to court documents.

Spokane County wastewater plant permit invalidated

Spokane County’s permit to operate its 2-year-old, $173 million wastewater plant was partially invalidated by state regulators last week. The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board said the methodology used by the state Department of Ecology in granting the permit was faulty.