Marlene Feist

Massive New Facility Captures Tiniest Pollutant Particles

Marlene Feist, Public Works Director, 509.625.6505

Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 9:50 a.m.

Massive New Facility Captures Tiniest Pollutant Particles

In a ceremony on a warm Wednesday morning, Mayor Nadine Woodward, Council President Breean Beggs, and other leaders dedicated a huge public works project at the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility designed to improve the health of the Spokane River.

This advanced treatment system, known as the Next Level of Treatment, uses membrane technology typically found in drinking water treatment facilities to deliver greatly improved wastewater treatment that protects our river! With its completion, Spokane has some of the most advanced wastewater treatment in the nation.

The facility is massive. There are several levels with tanks and equipment, but most important are 4,600 6-foot tall canisters, each containing hundreds of membrane filter “straws.” These straws filter out minute particles of pollutants, vastly improving the quality of water released from the plant.

The upgrade increases the removal of phosphorus from the plant’s effluent to more than 99 percent, up from 90 percent.  Phosphorus has been associated with low oxygen levels and algae blooms in Lake Spokane that can harm aquatic life.  The system also will remove greater amounts of PCBs, heavy metals, bacteria, and other pollutants.  

Our citizens’ support was critical to the completion of this work. The project is part of a generational investment that our community has made to improve the health of the river. This work, combined with work to reduce overflows from combined wastewater and stormwater sewers and other stormwater project, required a $350 million investment by our citizens.

The City has named this facility after Mike Taylor, who was the project’s manager and who passed away suddenly in September 2019. Mike, who started Taylor Engineering in Spokane and was known throughout the community, was an amazing servant leader. He believed in right-sizing and value-added work, and he believed in our community and our citizens. A new “Taylor Tertiary Treatment Facility” sign was unveiled during the ceremony.

But Mike was one part of an amazing team that brought this project to reality. The City’s wastewater team maintained regular treatment operations while the Next Level of Treatment facility was under construction for five years, and they’ve spent the last several months getting the facility up and running.

All around the City we are connecting to the Spokane River in new ways. We have added access points and view points as part of our overall work to improve the health of the river. This project, too, enhances our ability to connect our citizens with Spokane’s most important natural asset.

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