Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308
Friday, March 15, 2019 at 10:12 a.m.
A City of Spokane program designed to improve the health of the Spokane River is paying off and landing praise from business owners.
“We are finishing up the last of the projects to reduce overflows from combined wastewater and stormwater sewers this year. In all, we’ll have 24 underground storage tanks with a total capacity of more than 16 million gallons of storage space,” Spokane mayor David Condon said during his State of the City Address.
“During large storms or periods of rapid snowmelt, our combined sewer system can become overwhelmed leading to overflows of wastewater to the river. The new tanks hold that excess water until the storm surge subsides and the wastewater is sent to the treatment plant. Already, we’ve kept millions of gallons of combined wastewater from entering the river,” Condon explained.
The City’s efforts to improve water quality is getting high marks from the people who use the river.
“It’s extremely rare to have a trout fishery running through an urban city like Spokane. Without clean cold water we have no fish, we have no fishery and that really hurts everything from the fish to the local economy,” explained Sean Visintainer, owner and outfitted for the Silver Bow Fly Shop.
“We’ve got a lot of whitewater opportunity during the beginning parts of the year and the Spokane River is one of the best places to raft here in the area,” said Josh Flanagan, owner of Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting.
Flanagan launches rafting tours on the Spokane River from just downstream of the Monroe Street Bridge.
“We rely on having a swimmable river that we can recreate and provide these tours on. That’s something not a lot of other cities have and something we need to kind of appreciate more,” emphasized Flanagan.
Both men agreed on the new to protect the health of the Spokane River for future generations.
“This is something I want to be doing the next 30-40 years, pass it on to my kids and hope they can run with it from there,” Flanagan said of his rafting company.
“I love seeing that the City and everyone is getting behind preserving the water quality and the fish and I’d love to see future generations fish this river and enjoy it like we do,” hoped Visintainer as he used his rod to flick a dry fly into the current.
More information on the State of the City is available on the web site.