Officials: Airway Heights water flushing is 'short-term fix'

Some viewers asked KREM 2 if that water, which could still be contaminated, would affect the aquifer below in the West Plains. Here is what we found.

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. – Airway Heights officials said they flushed about eight million gallons of water out of the system and into the ground over Memorial Day weekend.

Some viewers asked KREM 2 if that water, which could still be contaminated, would affect the aquifer below in the West Plains. Here is what we found.

The city manager for Airway Heights, Albert Tripp, said the section of the aquifer below where they have been discharging the contaminated water already contains the same chemicals. In plain terms, they are not putting anything into the ground that was not already there. Tripp said the city had this in mind when it came to flushing the system.

As for the aquifer, Spokane County’s Water Resources manager pointed out that Airway Heights gets its water from a separate aquifer than Spokane. The basalt aquifer is on the West Plains. The city of Spokane and the rest of the valley gets its water from what is called the “Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie” aquifer.

So how will discharging this water back in to the same aquifer fix anything in the long run?

Tripp said the city’s focus for now is lifting the advisory and making sure the water is good to drink in the short term. Tripp mentioned the long term fix will be the topic of discussion during the city’s next phase. 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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