Permits for Sewage Treatment Plants Discharging to the Spokane River in Idaho | Region 10 | US EPA

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Permits for Sewage Treatment Plants Discharging to the Spokane River in Idaho


Brian Nickel, NPDES Permits,

Judy Smith, Public Affairs,

Comment on Proposed NPDES Permits through October 3, 2013

EPA is seeking public input on three draft wastewater discharge permits for sewage treatment plants that discharge pollutants to the Spokane River in northern Idaho. The treatment plants are operated by the City of Coeur d’Alene, the City of Post Falls, and the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board. The comment period closes on October 3, 2013.

Comments may be sent by mail to:

      US EPA Region 10
      Spokane River NPDES Public Comments
      1200 6th Avenue
      Suite 900 M/S OWW-130
      Seattle, WA 98101
Or by e-mail to:

A public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 in the Community Room, on the lower level of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library at 702 East Front Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Prior to the public hearing, there will be a workshop where EPA staff will give a brief presentation about the permits and answer questions. The workshop will be from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and the hearing will be from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM.

The EPA will respond to all comments submitted in writing on or before the end of the public comment period as well as comments provided at the public hearing.

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State Certification

The EPA is requesting that the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality certify the NPDES permit for this facility, under section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The draft certifications are provided below. Comments regarding the draft certifications should be directed to:

      Regional Administrator
      Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
      2110 Ironwood Pkwy
      Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Or by e-mail to:

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Background Information

The EPA issued final permits to these three treatment plants in 1999. The permits expired in 2004; however, because the utilities applied for reissued permits in a timely manner, the permits have been extended and remain in effect.

The EPA issued draft reissued permits for these treatment plants in February 2007.

The 1999 final and 2007 draft permits can be found on the EPA’s website, at these locations:

The EPA is making significant changes to the draft permits as they were proposed in 2007, which result from comments made during the initial public comment period, the availability of the Washington Department of Ecology’s dissolved oxygen total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Spokane River Exit EPA Disclaimer , more recent effluent and receiving water quality and quantity data, updated computer modeling of the impact of the discharges Exit EPA Disclaimer , revised draft Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 certifications prepared by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ), and EPA guidance documents. To allow the public an opportunity to comment on all of these changes, the EPA has reopened the public comment period.

A complete list of the changes made to each draft permit is provided in the fact sheets.

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New Requirements

The draft permits propose to require strict new discharge limits for total phosphorus, ammonia, and carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand. These limits are necessary to ensure compliance with Idaho’s water quality criteria for nutrients Exit EPA Disclaimer and Washington’s water quality criteria for dissolved oxygen Exit EPA Disclaimer . The existing treatment plants are unable to meet some of these new limits, in which case, the permits propose to allow the utilities 10 years to make upgrades and achieve compliance.

The draft permits also propose to require the utilities to participate in the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force Exit EPA Disclaimer and to develop plans to reduce discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to the Spokane River.

The draft permits also propose new limits for cadmium, and, for Coeur d’ Alene, lead. These limits were specified in the State of Idaho’s draft Clean Water Act Section 401 certifications.

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Legal Notice, Draft Permits, Fact Sheets, and 401 Certifications

City of Coeur d’Alene: City of Post Falls: Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board:
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