2012 SRRTTF Year in Review

Number of Meetings in 2012:

Task Force Meetings: 10
Administrative Work Group Meetings: 7
Technical Track Work Group Meetings: 17

January 23, 2012: The Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force (SRRTTF) is established. The SRRTTF fosters the collaboration of a diverse set of organizational groups (dischargers, regulators, sovereigns, citizens) to discuss issues in a congenial way, reinforcing the importance of getting everyone to the table.

February 21, 2012: The Spokane Tribe of Indians sends a letter to the Department of Ecology supporting actions in the region that have the potential to improve water quality in the Spokane River and the mission of the SRRTTF. An initial funding commitment is provided for the first year of SRRTTF administration.

February 28, 2012: The SRRTTF Technical Track Work Group develops a Conceptual Model to help identify possible source and sinks of PCBs to the Spokane River watershed. The Conceptual Model is intended to be used as a planning tool to select areas of future investigation and data gap analysis.

April 5, 2012: The SRRTTF selects the Ruckleshaus Center to act as a facilitator for a period of 12 months as the SRRTTF organizes and prepares its Toxics Reduction Work Plan.

June 5-6, 2012: The SRRTTF convenes the Spokane River Toxics Workshop. Local and national experts present on the “state of the knowledge” with respect to PCB in the environment. An outcome of the workshop is the development of Work Plan objectives based on the suggestions of the experts.

June 19, 2012: Ecology drafts the “Recommendations for the Design of a Long‐term Toxics Monitoring Program in the Mainstem of the Spokane River” which is intended to be a living document that aligns with the SRRTTF’s work plan.

August 11, 2012: Ecology updates the Spokane River Toxics Reduction Strategy.

August 22, 2012: SRRTTF approves the Articles of Incorporation and draft By-Laws for an administrative Business Entity.

August 27, 2012: Ecology initiates clean-up activities for metals on the Spokane River beaches.

August 28, 2012: The Environmental Council of States approves and submits a resolution to EPA with the intent of improving regulation of PCB under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant, Tala Henry from the EPA, Doug Krapas from Inland Empire Paper, Rick Eichstaedt from Spokane Riverkeeper and Lisa Rodenburg from Rutgers University provide informational material.

September 2012: In cooperation with the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Ecology initiates monitoring activities for toxics in fish and water in the Spokane River. The Spokane Tribe of Indians commits funding and personnel in support of fish sampling and analysis.

September 2012: Ecology publishes the Urban Waters progress report with a focus on identifying and removing sources of toxics in stormwater.

October 24, 2012: The SRRTTF adopts the First Draft Work Plan.

October 31, 2012: The SRRTTF issues a Request for Proposal for a Technical Consultant.

November 28, 2012: The SRRTTF prepares draft Funding Concepts intended to help the Task Force coordinate and support consistent and predictable funding needed to accomplish the actions that will result in toxics reductions for the Spokane River. A representative from Senator Cantwell’s office attends the SRRTTF meeting and offers support to the Funding Work Group.

On-Going Related Activities:

Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) for Spokane County and the City of Spokane wastewater treatment plants are completed and approved by Ecology. The QAPPs use the most currently available scientific information regarding monitoring, sampling, and analysis for PCB.

Ecology and Spokane Riverkeeper participate in the Columbia River Toxics Reduction Working Group which encourages collaboration and knowledge transfer regarding the toxics reduction in the Columbia River Watershed.

Ecology’s Spokane River Urban Waters team, the City of Spokane Wastewater Management Department, and Spokane Riverkeer continue work on PCB source investigations in the City’s stormwater and Combined Sewer Overflow system.

Task Force members participate in media events, supporting its public education goal.