Cleanup work to begin on three Spokane River beaches

Washington Department of Ecology news
Cleanup work to begin on three Spokane River beaches    
SPOKANE- For the remainder of the summer, residents walking along the Centennial Trail in the Spokane Valley, may encounter equipment such as loaders and dump wagons that may close the trail for a few minutes at a time. 

Construction begins this week to make sure people and wildlife aren’t exposed to heavy metals that settled on some of the Spokane River’s shorelines as a result of old mining practices in the Silver Valley, Idaho.  

According to the Department of Ecology, the closures won’t be for long durations, and the result will be that beach areas will be cleaner and safer for you and your family to use. Flaggers will be available and signs will be posted to let people know these access areas are closed.

Contractors will remove contaminated soil while water levels are low at three Spokane River beaches: the Barker Road North beach on the north side of the Spokane River, east of the Barker Road Bridge — plus the Islands Lagoon and Myrtle Point beaches on the south side of the Spokane River. Workers will install a protective cap over the remaining soil to reduce the possibility of exposure.  

Similar work was done at the Flora Road beach in 2009. However, heavy spring runoff in 2011 damaged portions of the protective cover or cap. This year a new cap will be installed, designed to minimize future erosion. 

Ecology and local river groups will plant native vegetation on the shoreline to help stabilize the banks at Barker Road North and Myrtle Point. Work will continue through September.

The beach work is part of the Eastern Washington Clean Sites Initiative, an effort that involves communities and other partners in shaping cleanup projects that improve local residents’ quality of life. Cleanup funds come from the state’s voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.

Historic mining practices in the Coeur d’Alene Basin resulted in contaminants known as heavy metals washing downstream from Idaho. The metals include lead, arsenic, zinc and cadmium. They settled in soil and sediments at certain shoreline areas along the Spokane River.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began studying mining contaminants in the Coeur d’Alene Basin in 1983. Additional studies began in 1998 that included evaluation of mining-related impacts to the Spokane River in Washington. As part of that study, the EPA identified nine beaches affected by metals.

EPA and Ecology cleaned up the Starr Road beach in 2006. Ecology cleaned up Island Complex and Murray Road beaches in 2007, Harvard Road North in 2008 and Flora Road in 2009.


Media Contact: Jani Gilbert, Communications, 509-329-3495; e-mail

For more information: Spokane River Metals website 
Ecology’s website:
Ecology’s social media:

Ecology to Host Fish Consumption Workshops August 28, 2012

Subject: Department of Ecology hosts workshop Aug. 28 on revised approach for Reducing Toxics In Fish, Shellfish, Sediment, and Water

On July 16, 2012, Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant announced a revised approach for updating the state’s fish consumption rates for water quality and cleaning up contaminated sediments.  View Director Sturdevant’s letter and a timeline for Ecology’s work here:

Ecology invites interested parties to attend a video conference workshop from 1 – 5 p.m., on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at Ecology’s regional offices in Lacey,  Bellevue, Yakima and Spokane.  The workshop will provide an in-depth explanation of Ecology’s current approach.

 Workshop topics include updates on:

  • Ecology’s toxic reduction strategy.
  • Toxic Cleanup Program’s sediment management standards rule making.
  • Ecology’s fish consumption rate technical document.
  • Water Quality Program’s water quality standards rule makings.

As part of this revised approach, Ecology’s Water Quality Program intends to move forward with adopting new human health criteria for surface water quality.   An informational session on human health criteria will be included in the workshop.

Seating is limited.  Please RSVP at

Learn about future public involvement opportunities and read more about the process ahead at:

Reducing Toxics in Fish, Sediments and Water:

Workshop Information:
Date: August 28, 2012
Time: 1 -5 p.m.

Eastern Regional Office
Room: 1-NW-18
N. 4601 Monroe
Spokane, WA 99205-1295


Headquarters Office
Room: R0A-32/34/36
300 Desmond Drive SE
Lacey, WA 98503


Central Regional Office
Room: 204 A
15 W. Yakima Ave., Ste 200
Yakima, WA  98902

Northwest Regional Office
Room: 2A&B
3190 – 160th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452


Sandy Howard
Communications – Washington Department of Ecology
Water Quality Program – Environmental Assessment Program
360-407-6408 (desk) ~ 360-791-3177 (cell)

ECOS Draft Resolution on PCB in Products

August 22, 2012

As requested by the SRTTF during our meeting this afternoon, attached is the 03-02-2012 Draft ECOS PCBs in Products Resolution.  This is an earlier draft and may not be completely representative of the version that will be presented to the committee on Tuesday, but it will provide everyone with a sense of what is being requested.  Also attached is the agenda for the meeting and a link with more information about the meeting:

I suggest sending letters of support to the following and please have anyone sending letters also copy me:

Matthew C. Jones
Senior Project Manager
Environmental Council of the States
50 F Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20001

Thanks for posting this information to the SRTTF and I greatly appreciate everyone’s attention, efforts and supporton this issue.

Doug Krapas
Environmental Manager
Inland Empire Paper Company
Phone:  509/924-1911

Click Here: for related information.

Open Letter from Ecology Regarding Fish Consumption

Ted Sturdevant, director of the Washington Department of Ecology, has announced a revised approach for updating the state’s fish consumption rates for water quality and cleaning up contaminated sediments. To view his letter and a timeline for Ecology’s work, see

Link to the letter on the SRRTTF website: Ted Sturdevant Letter About Fish Consumption Rulemaking, July 16, 2012

Please bookmark the following website for the most current information about this topic:

Spokane River Toxics Workshop June 5-6, 2012

The Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force Invites you to attend the SPOKANE RIVER TOXICS WORKSHOP #1,  June 5th & 6th , 2012, Gonzaga University School of Law, Moot Court Auditorium

Workshop Purpose:
This workshop is intended to bring together a group of stakeholders, regulators, and technical experts to begin the effort to identify and quantify the sources of PCBs and Dioxins in the Spokane River, to build a common body of knowledge about previous study work on the Spokane River, and to begin the development of a work plan for the reduction of toxics in the Spokane River.

Who Should Attend?: All members of the SRRTTF, all interested stakeholders, regulatory staff from the Department of Ecology and the US EPA, and consultants/technical experts who may wish to compete on future work for the SRRTTF.

Registration: Advance registration is required by Tuesday, May 29, 2012. The registration cost is $55.00 and covers two days of lunches, refreshments at breaks, and administration costs. Registration after May 29th or at the door is $65.00.

Please register using your credit card at

For registrations that must be made by check, please follow the instructions on the Brown Paper Ticket website. Registration fees are tax deductible. 

Workshop Contact:

Click Here to download a brochure.

Click here to go to the workshop website, hosted by the Center for Justice.

October 6, 2011 Task Force Meeting and Minutes

The Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force met on:

Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Time: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Spokane Regional Health District (map)
Room: Auditorium (Also called Room 140)
Parking: There is metered street parking and paid lots off of College Ave. No parking is permitted in the regional health district lot.
Call In Number: (360) 407-3780 PIN Code: 387115 #


Toxics Task Force Minutes Oct. 6, 2011

Toxics Task Force Agenda Oct. 6, 2011

Workgroup 1 Concept Paper, 9.30
Workgroup 2 Concept Paper, 9.30
Workgroup 3 Concept Paper, 10.4