Spokane spending $100M to help clean up river

SPOKANE, Wash. – The City of Spokane is hoping to turn your waste into cleaner water that’s put back into the river by spending $100 Million to filter out phosphates to meet a government mandate.

Each day thousands of gallons of water flow through Spokane. Below the surface it’s home to fish and other life, but increasing levels of phosphates, which causes algae to bloom, is putting that life in jeopardy.

“Particularly in the summer months, when the temperatures are warmer, the water flows are lower, that can lead to these algae blooms,” Karin Divens, a habitat biologist with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said.

Divens said too much algae in the waterways is bad for native trout.

“The algae will grow, and then it will decompose and that decomposition process is using oxygen,” she explained.

To curb the amount of phosphates getting into the river the city is looking to spend $100 Million to upgrade the Riverside State Park water treatment plant. Mike Coster is in charge of figuring out just how to do that.

“We are running a lengthy test to determine which technology will do the best job for our rate payers,” Coster said.

The city is testing two membrane filtration systems and has created a small scale model of the facility to see which works best.

“We split the waste water, a small portion of our discharge into identical streams, and allow each of the units, the two units in here to treat the same thing,” Coster explained.

The test the city is doing will take about seven months to a year to complete. Funding for the upgrade will come from revenue bonds the city sold back in November. They would have to be paid back in 20 years at the current rates people are paying now.

So, for now, the river will keep flowing as the city looks at where to go next to improve a waterway we all depend on.

 

View original article at: City studying methods to improve wastewater treatment

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