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Hayden council to hear about ecology plan

by David Cole
| June 8, 2010 9:00 PM

HAYDEN - The Hayden City Council today at its regular meeting is scheduled to hear from a representative of the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board.

Ken Windram, wastewater facility system manager, said he plans to update the council on the details and effects of the Washington state Department of Ecology water quality improvement plan for the Spokane River. The plan calls for a reduction in phosphorus pollution from industrial and municipal sources.

What's being required of Idaho dischargers, such as the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board's wastewater treatment plant, is more stringent than that being required of Washington dischargers, said Windram.

Sewer rates will be increased because of Ecology's plan, affecting Hayden residents whose waste is treated at the plant here, Windram said.

Last month, the director of Ecology determined the conditions of the plan should be upheld. That decision followed a review of the plan by a dispute resolution panel to hear concerns raised by several stakeholders, including the Hayden sewer board.

Hayden City Administrator Stefan Chatwin said the city, which is part of the sewer board, is as committed as anyone to protecting the river.

"We simply want fairness" in the water quality rules, Chatwin said.

Windram said he plans to explain the sewer board's options now with Ecology's plan in place.

One option is a legal fight, and the sewer board has already hired an attorney for the purpose.

Windram said, "We'd like to settle this out of court. Hiring lawyers doesn't make the water any cleaner."

He has hopes that a possible "phosphorus credits" trading program can be arranged. He said the sewer board plans to spend $35 million to update the wastewater treatment plant here, but is not certain the updates will allow the plant to meet Ecology's new rules.

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