Mayor Condon Advocates for City's Plan to Improve Spokane River Health

Seeks support for resolution at US Conference of Mayors

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 2:40 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon met with mayors from across the nation today to advocate for funding to help implement the City’s comprehensive plan to improve the health of the Spokane River, called the Integrated Clean Water Plan.

The Mayor presented the City’s Clean Water Plan and a resolution supporting federal funding for communities implementing such integrated plans at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual conference in Dallas. 

“Hundreds of cities are dealing with Clean Water Act compliance issues. Spokane’s water plan is innovative and provides a roadmap that other cities can follow,” says Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who is the co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Water Council.

“Our Integrated Clean Water Plan is environmentally and financially responsible,” says Mayor David Condon. “It delivers significant water quality results that benefit our community and our state. We are working to develop a path forward to deliver these results.”

Spokane is one of the first cities in the nation to submit an integrated plan, following a framework laid out by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2012. The City developed its plan voluntarily, while most cities pursuing this strategy, which takes a holistic approach to water quality planning, are doing so under the force of a consent decree. The plan would deliver significant water quality results beyond what the City is statutorily required to do. 

The Integrated Clean Water Plan details $310 million in work to:

  • Manage overflows from combined sanitary and stormwater sewers.
  • Reduce the amount of untreated stormwater reaching the river from separated storm sewers.
  • Upgrade the City’s Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility to remove more pollutants from the plant’s effluent year round.

The City is seeking a financial partnership, with the state or other partner, totaling about 20 percent of the overall cost of the plan. At this point, Ecology has been unable to commit this funding. 

The median household income in the City is about 70 percent of the state’s median household income and 78 percent of the nation’s. The Mayor has committed to completing the plan’s work, while holding utility rate increases to inflation, to make the work affordable for citizens.