SRSP Now and Then

SRSP – Spokane River Stewardship Partners

Accommodating growth and needs since the early 1900s…

  • Washington Water Power’s Monroe Street Dam began generating power in 1890, advancing the town of Spokane Falls from candles and oil lamps to incandescent lighting. Between 1908 and 1925, WWP added four additional hydroelectric developments along the Spokane River to accommodate power needs.

    SRSP Accommodating growth and needs since the early 1900s,

  • In the late 1890’s, the City of Spokane built its first sewer system to address rapid growth. The Riverside wastewater treatment plant was constructed in the 1950’s By 1977, major plant expansions and upgrades were completed that provided seasonal removal of phosphorus. The use of phosphates in laundry detergent was banned in the 1980’s.
  • Spokane County began constructing sewer lines for septic tank elimination over the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer in 1975_ In the 1980’s, the County secured capacity at the City’s Riverside treatment plant, and voters approved 20 years of Aquifer Protection Area (APA) funding to eliminate septic tanks in the Spokane Valley. County voters renewed the APA funding in 2004 for an additional 20 years.
  • City of Coeur d’Alene constructed its first wastewater treatment plant In 1939. By the late 1970’s the treatment plant reached capacity, resulting in a building moratorium. Phosphorus removal upgrades were implemented in 1991. Its new plant with advanced secondary treatment was completed in 1995.
  • City of Post Falls wastewater treatment plant was completed in 1985 which eliminated use of septic tanks by 7000 people. In 1992, treatment plant upgrades reduced phosphorus discharge year round.
  • In 1973, the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District was formed to restore water quality in Liberty Lake. In the late 1970’s a sewer collection system was constructed to eliminate septic systems. In 1982, the new wastewater treatment facility was completed which significantly increased phosphorus removal.
  • Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board built their first wastewater treatment plant in 1986. In 1993, they purchased land for reclaimed water irrigation. Their treatment plant was upgraded to accommodate growth in 2008.
  • In 1911, Inland Empire Paper Company began producing paper in Millwood. Over time, significant wastewater treatment upgrades were completed. In the early 1990’s, paper recycling and energy recovery systems were installed.

Continuing to work every day for a healthy river…

  • Spokane County began construction of a state-of-the-art water reclamation facility in 2009 to treat wastewater to ultra clean levels, at a cost of over $140 million. The facility was completed in late 2011. Elimination of approximately 35,000 septic tanks in the Spokane Valley was substantially completed as well. The County also led a regional study to reduce nonpoint sources of phosphorus into the Spokane River.
    Photo By Bruce Andre

    Photo By Bruce Andre

  • The City of Spokane is embarking on a major upgrade to the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, selecting membrane filtration technology to reduce nutrients and other pollutants in its effluent. Several combined sewer overflow facilities are being constructed to reduce overflows to the Spokane River. The City also developed an Integrated Clean Water Plan, a new approach to prioritize stormwater, wastewater, and combined sewer projects based on positive environmental impact.
  • The City of Coeur d’Alene adopted a new wastewater facility plan in 2009 and is completing significant upgrades to their treatment plant that includes additional phosphorus and ammonia reduction. This expansion is estimated to cost $72 million.
  • In 2009 and 2010, the City of Post Falls constructed a treatment plant expansion which added biological nitrogen reduction for sustainable, year-round improvements to the Spokane River and in 2013 Post Falls completed a Water Reclamation Facility Master Plan in 2013 outlining a path toward decreasing phosphorus discharged to the Spokane River. Post Falls is currently in the construction phase for the first of several expansions outlined in that plan.
  • Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District was one of the first in the region to implement enhance phosphorus removal from its discharge to the river.  In 2006 the District completed Phase 1 of facility upgrades resulting in significant phosphorus and nitrogen reduction.  In 2016 the District began construction of Phase 2 upgrades, including advanced tertiary treatment which will further reduce phosphorus to less than 1/2 pound per day and equate to better than 99% removal of phosphorous.  Phase 2 upgrades cost $17.1 million and will result in “Class A” reclaimed water.
  • Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board does not discharge effluent to the Spokane River duringthe growing season; they use all the treated effluent on their water reuse farm to grow livestockfeed and poplar trees.
  • Inland Empire Paper Company (IEP) has invested millions of dollars in innovative process water treatment upgrades since 2004 to improve oxygen delivery capacity, remove more nutrients and reclaim process water for beneficial reuse. IEP continues to investigate and develop new and innovative technologies to meet some of this country’s most stringent water quality standards. IEP is currently developing a new technology using algae to remove multiple contaminants from process water with the added benefit of reducing carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas. The byproducts are oxygen and algae that has numerous beneficial uses including biofuels, bio-plastics, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and as a feedstock for animals.
  • Avista received a new 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate its five hydroelectric facilities on the Spokane River in 2009. As part of this license, Avistawill implement water quality improvements in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane.