City of Spokane Celebrates Earth Day

Erin Hut, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, April 22, 2024 at 12:03 p.m.

Updated 04/23/2024

On the 54th anniversary of Earth Day, the City of Spokane reaffirms its commitment to environmental stewardship. Operationally, the City works to reduce emissions, conserve water, invest in renewable energy, and protect the health of the Spokane River.

“Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship and the role each of us plays,” says Mayor Lisa Brown. “Every day, the City contributes to protecting our environment.”

Here are a few highlights:

A Cleaner River Faster

The City’s Combined Sewer Overflow tanks collected 59 million gallons of stormwater and wastewater in 2023. These tanks made it possible for 99.7 percent of all wastewater to be sent through the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility for treatment before it goes back into the Spokane River. The reclamation facility itself treated 10.4 billion gallons of wastewater last year.

Work on the Cochran Basin Stormwater Management Facilities projects will be completed. This series of six projects that began in 2019 protects the Spokane River from contaminated stormwater runoff from over 5,000 acres and enhances outdoor recreation with better river access at Downriver Park and a new 18-hole Disc Golf Course in northwest Spokane.

Each year, the City’s Code Enforcement department, supported by the Solid Waste department removes thousands of tons of litter and trash along the banks of the Spokane River. The City also partners with community organizations for community volunteer clean-up events.

SpoCanopy and Healthy Forest Management

Street trees provide several benefits to the community. In addition to the obvious of providing shade and lowering temperatures and energy use, trees help clean stormwater, provide homes for urban wildlife, and reduce pollution of airborne particles. The goal of the City’s Urban Forestry SpoCanopy program is for each neighborhood to have 30 percent canopy cover by 2030. In collaboration with The Lands Council, this year’s tree-planting efforts are focused in northeast Spokane where canopy coverage is only 13 percent. The program planted 266 trees.

City of Spokane Fire Department treated and managed over 300 acres of unimproved forest land to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and increase forest health.

Water Conservation

The City continues to educate the community about the need and benefits of reducing unnecessary water use through its Water Wise program. Updated irrigation equipment, recirculating ponds, and SpokaneScape installation contributed to saving 31 million gallons of water in 2023 at City operations facilities. One Spokane Fire station reduced its water consumption by 28 percent because of odd/even watering and installing SpokaneScape!

Renewable Energy

As the City works towards the goal of reaching 100 percent of solid waste vehicles using Compressed Natural Gas by 2027, 11 more are coming in 2024. It also has approved a switch to Renewable Natural Gas for this fuel.

Upriver Dam is owned and operated by the City of Spokane, it generates enough electricity to power 6,000 homes annually. The Waste to Energy facility reduces solid waste by 90 percent and generates enough electricity to maintain the facility’s operations and more.

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