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Public comment sought for Page wastewater plant

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | December 11, 2020 1:27 PM

SMELTERVILLE — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking comment on a Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) permit for the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River Sewer District at the Page Wastewater Treatment Plant.

According to Karen Jackson with IDEQ, the permit is essentially a renewal of the current permit that allows the Smelterville-based treatment plant to treat water from all across the Silver Valley and then pump it back into the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River.

The proposed permit would authorize the discharge of treated municipal wastewater year-around to the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River for the next five years.

The permit also identifies the pollutants of concern and lists the required limits for each pollutant or parameter. Monitoring and reporting requirements are necessary to ensure compliance with the permit and protect human health and the environment.

The SFCDRSD owns and operates the facility, which treats the wastewater through a series of aerated lagoons prior to an activated sludge process, similar to the process used at the Bunker Hill Central Treatment Plant.

The facility has an average daily flow of 2.45 million gallons per day (MGD) and receives wastewater from residential and light commercial connections along the I-90 corridor from Cataldo to the city of Wallace, excluding the city of Smelterville.

The system contains 46 miles of collection lines and seven lift stations.

According to the plant’s fact sheet, the facility has been in operation since 1974 and occupies 30 acres within Humboldt Gulch in the central portion of a 70-acre tailings repository that was used by the Page Mill between 1926 and 1968.

The lagoons were upgraded in 2001-2002 and the activated sludge process was built in 2018 and came online in October 2018. The upgrade to the activated sludge process increased the design flow from 4.3 MGD to 4.8 MGD.

IDEQ is accepting written comments on the permit through 5 p.m. (MST) Jan. 4. The draft permit and fact sheet are available for public review at DEQ’s state office (1410 N. Hilton St.), DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Regional Office (2110 Ironwood Parkway, Coeur d’Alene) and on DEQ’s website.

A public meeting may be held, if requested in writing, by Dec. 16.

The Page Wastewater Treatment Plant is located at 46643 Silver Valley Road in Smelterville.

Comments and questions regarding this process should be directed to Karen Jackson at Karen.Jackson@deq.idaho.gov or at DEQ's News and Public Comments page. Submitted comments should address water quality considerations and include supporting materials where available, they should also specify the Page WWTP name and permit number (ID0021300) when submitting them.