Projects making a difference
Water quality permits
Ecology reviews and reissues water quality permits on a 5-year cycle to ensure facilities are continuing to meet clean water standards. Permits for five facilities that discharge wastewater into the Spokane River are scheduled to be updated in 2016.
Permits for all Spokane River facilities require limits on nutrients like phosphorus that deplete oxygen fish and other animals need to survive. Proposed permits include intermediate targets for meeting final limits of nutrients and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and require continued participation in the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force.
We are currently evaluating public comments for three of the five permits before finalizing them. Permits for Inland Empire Paper Company and Spokane County will be available for review later this year.
Instream Flows for the Spokane River - On May 27, 2016 Ecology received a petition for declaratory judgment and judicial review regarding the Spokane River instream flow rule adopted in January of 2015.
Ecology, tribes, other agencies, stakeholders, and the general public are working to find wise solutions and improve and preserve the Spokane River. Links to some of these projects are listed below and in the columns on the left and right.
Historic mining practices in the Coeur d’Alene basin resulted in contaminants known as heavy metals washing downstream from Idaho. These metals such as lead, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium settled in sediments at certain shorelines along the Spokane River. Eight beaches identified for cleanup are now completed. PCBs at Upriver Dam and Donkey Island were also addressed.
On October 8, 2015, Governor Inslee directed Ecology to draft a new clean water rule that will preserve the state's decision-making control over how to meet federal requirements.
Thirteen governmental agencies, private industries, and environmental organizations signed a Memorandum of Agreement to form the task force. The task force is leading efforts to find and reduce toxics in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane.
This is Ecology’s strategy, or “road map,” for reducing and removing toxic contamination in water, water sediments and soil in the Spokane River watershed in Washington State. It includes major actions already accomplished. The strategy spans across multiple Ecology programs and address toxic substances in the products we buy to cleanups of legacy pollutants in the Spokane community.
A team of Ecology scientists, technical staff, and specialists from the Spokane Regional Health District are sampling water and visiting businesses along the river to identify sources of toxic chemicals that affect the river. Reports that track sources may be found on the Urban Waters website.
Get Involved in River Issues
Spokane River Urban Waters Source Investigation and Data Analysis Report 2009-2011 - Tracing the Source for PCB, PBDE, Dioxin/Furan, Lead, Cadmium, and Zinc
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