National organization supports City's approach
Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 2:25 p.m.
Spokane Mayor David Condon presented the City’s comprehensive plan to improve the health of the Spokane River, called the Integrated Clean Water Plan, to 100 clean water utility leaders today at the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) summer conference in Portland, Ore. The Mayor was joined by Utilities Division Director Rick Romero.
NACWA is a national organization that represents close to 300 public clean water utilities around the country and has long advocated for integrated planning opportunities.
NACWA’s Executive Director Ken Kirk supports the City’s strategy: “Spokane has developed a thorough, cross-disciplinary integrated plan that addresses infrastructure needs and improves water quality, all while saving ratepayers money. Their process and lessons learned will now inform utilities from coast to coast who are interested in exploring integrated planning in their own communities.”
“As we talk about our plan with city and utility leaders from across the nation, I am pleased to find it really delivers the results that were envisioned by integrated planning,” says Mayor Condon. “Our plan is environmentally and financially responsible—delivering greater water quality benefits for our river at a price that is affordable for our citizens.”
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 Mayor has committed to completing the plan’s work while holding utility rate increases to inflation to make the work affordable for citizens. 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 Integrated Clean Water Plan details $310 million in work to:
Construction of a number of projects included in the plan already is under way, including large combined sewer tanks in Underhill Park and at a site at 21st Avenue and Ray Street. The City also is moving ahead with design work for an $80 million to $100 million upgrade at the water reclamation facility.