Marlene Feist

Telling Spokane’s River Story

Marlene Feist, Public Works Strategic Development Director, 509.625.6505

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 11:47 a.m.

Telling Spokane’s River Story

On Thursday, March 7, Spokane Mayor David Condon will testify before a Congressional subcommittee on the importance of federal investment in clean water projects to deliver environmental results at an affordable price.

“Cities across the nation are faced with requirements that demand major investments in their water and wastewater infrastructure,” says Mayor Condon. “Cities are working to be environmentally responsible while maintaining affordability for their citizens. As a result, they need flexibility and support to meet these kinds of generational investments from our federal and state partners.”

The Mayor will provide testimony to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He is delivering remarks as a representative of the US Conference of Mayors, which supports cities across the nation.

The City of Spokane is in the midst of a $350 million program to improve the health of the Spokane River, while limiting annual increases in water and sewer utility charges to inflation.

The City is using an integrated approach to address river water quality problems in a more affordable way. The Mayor will thank the subcommittee for its work to codify integrated planning to provide more flexibility for cities to meet environmental requirements.

The City’s work to improve the river includes:

  • Completing work on a total of about 16 million gallons in underground storage to manage overflows from combined wastewater and stormwater sewers. Construction is winding down on the last four of two dozen underground tanks, some of which can hold more than 2 million gallons of combined wastewater.
  • Adding a third level of treatment at the City’s water reclamation facility, which processes about 34 million gallons of wastewater a day. The plant will receive membrane technology traditionally used in drinking water treatment to dramatically improve the quality of our effluent. We will see a huge impact on phosphorus and other nutrients, hydrocarbons, metals, and persistent chemicals like PCBs.
  • Working to reduce stormwater going to the river. As part of the 2014 Street Levy, the City is voluntarily removing stormwater flows from our systems as we rebuild roads and complete other infrastructure projects to reduce the amount reaching our river.

Citizens can watch the testimony live on Thursday, March 7, at 7 a.m. as part of the live stream of the subcommittee hearing. The Mayor is the first witness on the agenda.

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