POST FALLS, Idaho — A one-year extension of a compliance agreement between the city of Post Falls and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality was unanimously approved Tuesday morning during a special meeting of the Post Falls City Council.
Councilman Joe Malloy participated via video conference. Councilman Josh Walker was absent.
The Post Falls Water Reclamation Facility at 2002 W. Seltice Way is in the midst of a $46.7 million capacity expansion and upgrade project, which will improve the treatment process to remove phosphorus and oxygen-demanding materials from reclaimed water that will be returned to the Spokane River. The project will provide advanced filtration and disinfection facilities to generate a “Class A” effluent for future irrigation use on urban forest property.
The city initially had a 10-year schedule to complete the upgrades first with the Environmental Protection Agency and now with IDEQ, but deadlines set for this month won’t be met, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.
“It really starts with the pandemic and workforce issues that were part of that, really specifically supply chain issues have been the driver in schedule delays,” said Post Falls Public Works Director John Beacham. “The contractors simply can’t get the parts for the original agreement.”
The compliance schedule was negotiated in 2013, long before any recent construction challenges could have been foreseen.
“There are contractual implications to extending the construction schedule which we’ve been bringing to the council, and which will we continue to share in that way,” Beacham said.
The original schedule bid for the project was awarded in summer 2020. Beacham said supply chain snags have made it difficult, locally and nationally, to build anything in the past two years.
Adjusting the agreement will also provide legal protection if the project’s delay is challenged by a third party.
“Most importantly, it avoids us violating our permit because we’re making those adjustments ahead of the deadline," Beacham said.
The compliance agreement extension is still in draft form and requires the IDEQ director’s signature. It will not be in effect until that signature is made.
Beacham said this construction project is focused on meeting new, more stringent discharge limits, not growth.
“We are not alone in needing to complete facility improvements to remove phosphorus,” he said. “Treatment facilities up and down the Spokane River from Coeur d’Alene to the city of Spokane have or are also installing similar technology to meet similar discharge limits. We are also not alone in experiencing project delays as many public works projects are currently in a similar situation.”
He said city staff will continue to partner with the project design, equipment supplier and construction teams to complete a quality project as soon as practicable.
Visit postfalls.gov for project details.
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