Our network

Environment

16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

16 E. Washington cities earn Tree City USA title

In honor of Arbor Day, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is recognizing several Eastern Washington cities that have been chosen as a Tree City USA.


To be acknowledged as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a city needs to have either a tree board or a city department that is responsible for tree care and management, establish a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on tree care, and celebrate Arbor Day.

City recognizes businesses for wastewater management

City recognizes businesses for wastewater management

From the City of Spokane:


The City of Spokane today is recognizing businesses that have excelled in the management of wastewater generated as part of their processes.

 

Yard and food waste carts return next week

Yard and food waste carts return next week

Never mind the snow, it's time to think spring cleaning!

City of Spokane news release:

Ready for spring yard cleanup or at least spring?  The City of Spokane is trying to urge Mother Nature along as it resumes curbside yard and food waste pickup on Monday, March 3.

 

The optional City service runs from March through November.  The 96-gallon green yard waste cart can be filled with all manner of yard waste—grass, leaves, pine needles, pine cones, weeds, vines, thatch, plant trimmings, and branches. Customers can even cut up and throw in the old Christmas tree that’s been parked along the side of the house for weeks.

 

Longview coal port will impact number of trains traveling through Spokane

Longview coal port will impact number of trains traveling through Spokane

The Washington State Department of Ecology announced it would be doing extensive research on the proposed coal port in Longview, which will impact Spokane, where many of the coal trains will pass through on the way to the coast.

If approved, the Longview coal port would be one of the largest in the nation, which is why the Department of Ecology study will address many of the questions that have made the Longview port so controversial.

"The Department of Ecology will be doing a great, thorough review of all the threats that will potentially be caused to our community of this project were to be developed," Jace Bylengea with the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club opposes the coal train project, which he says will have a negative impact on Spokane's environment and the health of the people who live here.

"Another threat to our communities is coal dust that falls off trains. BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) has said in the past that up to 500 pounds per car on this trip falls off a train. You need to think about not car but these trains are 110 cars long," Bylengea said.

Snowmelt causes sewage to seep into Spokane River

Snowmelt causes sewage to seep into Spokane River

Melting snow has inadvertently led to raw sewage flowing into the Spokane River at eight different locations.

There's no word yet on how much untreated sewage has flowed into the river.

Water from storm drains and sewage is normally treated at Spokane's wastewater treatment plant, but during rain on snow events or big thunderstorms, sewer pipes can't handle the volume and some of it ends up in the river.

"Yeah, it's a little alarming when your first see and you're thinking whoa, somebody made a mistake, this isn't supposed to be here and then I found out it was supposed to be here it because that's just the way it's been done," Peaceful Valley resident Aaron Steiner said.

In all there are 20 spots along the river where sewage overflows can happen and signs warn people of the possible contamination.

For several years now the City of Spokane has been building underground vaults, like one on the South Hill currently under construction on Ray Street between 17th and 29th avenues. These vaults are designed to store surges or runoff until the weather conditions improve.

Spokane recycling rates on the rise

Spokane recycling rates on the rise

From the City of Spokane:


Spokane County recycling grew to its highest level yet in 2012, reaching 54.7 percent.  According to final figures from the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System and the Washington State Department of Ecology, Spokane County residents and businesses recycled 352,912 tons of the 645,250 tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2012.  The Spokane County rate exceeds the Washington statewide 2012 recycling rate of 50.1 percent.

USGS: New fault line runs through heart of Spokane

USGS: New fault line runs through heart of Spokane

Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey think they've found a new earthquake fault running right through the middle of Spokane,

Magnetic readings taken last summer show the fault extends from Spokane International Airport, north and east through Hillyard and ending near the North-South Freeway.

These are just preliminary findings but scientist do think this fault is responsible for a swarm of earthquakes in Spokane back in 2001. Now the USGS is trying to learn more about the fault's history to better predict if it's capable of bringing down bridges or just rattling our nerves.

Geologists have been trying to take Spokane's seismic pulse ever since that swarm of earthquakes back in 2001.

"The largest earthquake was a magnitude 4 on November 11th and a few days later in late November the whole thing stopped," Dr. Rick Blakely with the USGS said.

The quakes happened in the Corbin Park area where there are no known faults, but now, after using echo location on the ground and searching magnetic anomalies from the air, scientists think they've figured out where the fault lies.