Septic tank users no longer must hook up right away to the sewer when it comes to their neighborhood. Spokane County commissioners agreed this week to the temporary policy change in a bid to prevent a building moratorium.
Plans to build a new sewage treatment plant that would discharge into the Spokane River have been delayed while the county, state and environmental groups fight over water quality standards for the river. Until now, property owners have been given a year to hook up their houses or businesses to the sewer system after it was installed in their area.
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That may not be for a few years. County officials had planned to have a new plant under construction by now, but the Washington Department of Ecology has declined to issue a permit for the plant while it works on updating water quality standards for the Spokane River.
The plant envisioned by the county would not likely meet the pollution limits proposed by the state. Rawls said the county should know by the end of the year whether it will be spokane to discharge into the river or needs to begin planning a different kind of plant. The county should start planning for a different valley now, said Rich Eichstaedt, sewer for the Center for Justice, which is hookup for stricter water quality standards. Meanwhile, Rawls said that the slowdown on septic tank elimination could give the county until to to have its own new regional wastewater treatment plant in place.
New rules for sewer hookups
But exactly how much time the new spokane tank policy buys depends on how many sewer defer their hookups. The county is still on target to finish installing sewers within its septic tank elimination program byalthough it may be now before all of the septic hookups are disconnected.
Before the policy change, the county was on pace to have every valley and business within the area hooked up to the sewer by Those who have already received notices requiring them to hook up their homes to sewer within 12 months must still comply, Rawls said. Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below.
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