"Barge" cleanup in Spokane River coming next week

Event is surrounded by other ways to celebrate the river

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

Friday, September 11, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.

As a complement to the significant work that’s under way to improve water quality in the Spokane River, the City of Spokane and several partners have put together what’s been dubbed a “barge cleanup” to remove larger pieces of garbage in the river between the Division and Hamilton streets.

A boat with a winch, joined by divers and a couple of floating docks to serve as a barge, will be used to remove larger items that have been discarded in the river over the years. The boat will be launched on Monday morning, and crews will work throughout the work week.

“You can’t see phosphorus or PCBs, but you can see old tires and shopping carts in the river and the garbage along its shores,” says Gavin Cooley, the City’s Chief Financial Officer who helped lead the charge on the garbage cleanup plans. “We want to address those cleanup needs, while encouraging our citizens to continue to care for our river into the future.”

The City and its partners – Avista, the Spokane River Forum, The Lands Council, the Spokane Riverkeeper, and Friends of the Falls – also will host:

  • An H2O Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 a.m., at the Spokane Convention Center with keynote speaker Chad Pregracke, who is known for his garbage cleanup work on the Mississippi River and was CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2013. Register at http://spokaneriver.net/h2o-breakfast/.
  • A media availability to see the barge in action with Pregracke and Spokane Mayor David Condon on Friday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. at the McKinstry location on the river, 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.
  • The return of the annual Spokane River Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m. Sign up to volunteer at http://spokaneriver.net/spokanerivercleanup.

This is just the beginning. September is a month full of ways to “fall in love with the Spokane River.” A poster with all the events highlighted is attached.


The City of Spokane will invest more than $300 million in projects to improve water quality in the Spokane River, including major improvements at the City’s wastewater treatment plant, projects to reduce overflows from combined sewers, and stormwater management projects.