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Water Quality Trading and Advanced Treatment Technology to Meet the Lowest Phosphorus Requirements in the Nation

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Dissolved oxygen total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements for the Spokane River call for effluent phosphorus levels of 10 μg/L and a revised draft TMDL published in May 2008 calls for still lower effluent phosphorus of 8 μg/L. Since this requirement is below the limits of current treatment technology, the Spokane County, Washington Division of Utilities has developed a creative approach to off-setting its point source discharge by reducing a nonpoint source phosphorus loading. Spokane County will provide sewer service to a large unsewered area to reduce nonpoint source loadings from on-site septic systems to trade with the point source discharge to the Spokane River to meet the TMDL loading requirements. Phosphorus soil breakthrough analysis was used to develop a water quality offset from elimination of on-site septic systems contributing phosphorus to groundwater and the Spokane River. The nonpoint source load reduction must meet the requirements of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-201A-450 to provide a water quality offset that makes up the difference between advanced treatment to the limits of current technology at 50 μg/L and the TMDL requirements of 10 μg/L.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2008

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