Plant Upgrades Information

Written by Colleen Johnson

March 13, 2024

The District’s mission is to provide the best possible customer and wastewater services while preserving the public health, in accordance with all State and Federal regulations, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

To maintain compliance with State and Federal regulations, the District must adhere to an Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“IPDES”) Permit issued by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (the “DEQ”). The IPDES Permit authorized the District to discharge treated effluent into waters of the United States in Idaho.

Prior to discharging treated effluent, the District ensures that the effluent undergoes a process called disinfection to reduce microorganisms. Chlorine is used to achieve this process. Prior to discharge, the effluent is subsequently dechlorinated. Specifically, the IPDES Permit establishes the level of nutrients and other substances in the water that will be protective of public health and environment.

In June 2018, the DEQ issued a new IPDES Permit to the District (the “New Permit”). The current wastewater treatment system cannot satisfy the required effluent limits established in the New Permit prior to discharge of the effluent into the Boyer Slough.

As a result, the District was required to enter into a “compliance agreement schedule” with DEQ whereby it is required to satisfy the new effluent limits prior to August 31, 2028.

On August 24, 2020, the District held an open house to present various options to attain compliance with the New Permit. Such options included:

  • Study of the lake for a potential deep-water outfall (discharge)
  • The potential regionalization of the District in conjunction with the City of Sandpoint and
  • The construction of a mechanical plant, which maintains the current discharge area of the Boyer Slough.

The District has investigated each of the foregoing options as follows:

In the latter part of 2018, the District commenced the study of the lake for potential deep-water outfall (discharge). The lake study was completed in 2021, and the results were provided to DEQ. In response, DEQ indicated that the District has not been approved for deep-water outfall discharge in the lake.

The District has been in ongoing communication with the representatives from the City of Sandpoint; however, at this time, a regionalization agreement has not been possible.

At this juncture, the District has determined the most viable option available to the District to attain compliance with the New Permit is to construct a mechanical plant as well as improvements to the current reuse site (the “Wastewater System Improvements”). The Wastewater System Improvements are related solely to new treatment requirements set forth in the New Permit.

The District anticipates releasing a series of newsletters to provide information about the District’s current plans for the Wastewater System Improvements, including additional information surrounding the anticipated costs and funding sources for such improvements.

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