An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Regional News

Forum Will Address Chemicals In Spokane River

Spokane River regional Toxics Task force

A forum at Gonzaga University Tuesday evening will focus on a class of chemicals that are polluting the Spokane River.

PCBs are man-made chemicals that have been found in the river. They come from various products, including old electrical transformers, and have been determined to be potentially carcinogenic.

The forum Tuesday night is sponsored by the Environmental Law and Land Use Clinic at Gonzaga.

Ezekiel Denison is one of students involved in the event. He says water quality standard variances will be discussed, when dischargers are allowed to release pollutants at a more lenient standard than required by law for a limited time period. He says current technology makes it difficult for those polluters to meet the current standards.

“Obviously that is a valid point and a goal to go for," Denison said. "The problem is these variances are the first for the state of Washington and are actually the first variances for a toxic pollutant in the whole entirety of the United States. We’re just trying to make sure this technological aspect is understandable but also making sure we’re going forward with caution and not just doing so because of pure technological lacking capabilities,” said Denison.

The forum will include representatives from environmental groups, the Washington Department of Ecology, and industrial dischargers.

It will take place Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 pm at the Barbieri Courtroom on the Gonzaga University campus.