Water Reclamation Facility Upgrades


The construction for Phase 2 of the District’s Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) upgrade is now complete. Century West Engineering was the District’s Engineer and Project Manager for the project. The District’s Inspector, Larry White, was the Owner’s Representative. Design for the upgrade was performed by Esvelt Environmental Engineering, B2 Architecture, Budinger & Associates, Coffman Engineers, LSB Consulting Engineers, and Trindera Engineering. Construction was completed by Williams Brothers Construction/Clearwater Construction and Management as a joint venture. The District would like to commend the outstanding work performed by District staff, design team, consulting engineers, numerous construction contractors, and product suppliers.

The upgrade to the WRF includes the addition of effluent filtration with submerged membranes, chemical equipment for coagulation, modifications to the existing UV disinfection system for future reuse, addition of a second headworks fine screen, and other improvements to existing buildings and sites. In addition to the facility upgrades, the District purchased the Fire Station on Harvard Road from the Spokane County Fire Department for a new lab and operations building for the WRF. The District plans to incorporate an education center in this building to host public tours and education groups. If you are interested in a tour of the District’s treatment facility please contact us.

The improvements will upgrade effluent quality standards and objectives in the Spokane River/Lake Spokane Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Dissolved Oxygen. This additional treatment will further reduce phosphorous discharge to less than ½ pound per day. This will equate to better than 99% removal of phosphorous entering the facility. The end product will be “Class A” reclaimed water. Total cost of this upgrade is $17 million. In early 2015, the District received loan funding through Washington State Department of Ecology’s State Revolving Fund. The $15.1 million dollar loan must be paid back over 20 years. The District’s NPDES permit mandates the District to have upgrades to the WRF completed to meet the new nutrient criteria by March 1, 2018. The District’s treatment facility upgrades and increase in sampling have ultimately resulted in increased sewer rates in the recent years, as well as planned increases for the future.


The NPDES permit also requires all dischargers to the Spokane River in Washington to participate in the Spokane River Regional Toxic Task Force, a group that includes environmental organizations, tribes, regulators and others to study Polychlorinated Biphenyl’s (PCB’s). The District also is a member and participates in the Spokane River Stewardship Partners. Manufacture and use of PCB’s ended in the mid 70’s in the U.S., but the residual is ubiquitous in the environment. The Toxic Task Force is involved in reviewing existing data on PCB’s, developing a public education program on PCB’s and creating a comprehensive plan to reduce PCB’s and other toxics in the river. In addition, dischargers will conduct testing within their systems to determine sources of PCB’s. Testing for PCB’s at the levels required in the permit cannot be done locally. In fact, there are only a couple of labs in North America that can test to the levels required, i.e. parts per quadrillion. The District is sending samples to a lab in Vancouver B.C. at a cost of nearly $1000 per sample. Additional testing is also required for dioxins, metals and other elements. The increase cost in sampling alone in 2012 is over $40,000. How small is parts per quadrillion? The Vancouver lab gave the analogy that a parts per quadrillion is like taking the entire area of Canada and place a dollar bill on the ground. The dollar bill would represent the one part per quadrillion. The toxics task force has 5 years to produce a plan for the reduction of PCB’s in the river system. The District’s treatment facility upgrades and increase in sampling will ultimately result in increased sewer rates in the future.


Spokane River Regional Toxic Task Force



Don’t flush drugs or toxics down the toilet or dispose of these chemicals into street drains, sewers, drywells or at self-service car washes which could contaminate surface or groundwater. The District’s Water Reclamation Plant is a biological plant and not designed to remove these chemicals. The Spokane County Transfer Station at 3941 North Sullivan will take toxics such as oil, antifreeze, paint, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, etc. free of charge. For additional information contact the Spokane County recycle hotline (509) 625-6800. For pharmaceuticals, utilize the local law enforcement special disposal days when advertised.