You play an important role in helping us protect the environment and keep our rivers clean. Every day, eight to 12 million – yes, million! – gallons of wastewater are generated from around our area. The wastewater is safely collected, treated and discharged into the Columbia River within 24 hours. Therefore, be mindful of what you flush or dispose of down the drain, because it may be reaching the river before the day’s over. Treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals, wipes and other personal care products and many of the pollutants found in common household products.
Have you ever wondered how the wastewater gets to the treatment plant and what path it takes from your neighborhood? The sewer system consists of more than 600 miles of sewer pipes and more than 70 pumping stations. Much of it is beneath the roads, streets and pathways you travel on every day. Depending upon where you live or work, the wastewater you produce will travel up to 20 miles in under eight hours before it reaches the treatment plant. Click here for wastewater pathways map. It takes about 12 hours for liquids to be treated to meet or exceed standards set by the State before they are safely discharged into the Columbia River. Solids take slightly longer to treat before they are trucked off-site to be used as nutrient-rich fertilizer at local farms. So, to keep these pollutants out of the river, we need your help to dispose of them properly and keep them out of our wastewater system.
Please see the helpful tips and tools below for more information about how you can help.