ICL event details water concerns

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Fresh off renewed concerns about water quality after a recent coal train derailment, Idaho Conservation League is taking a deep dive into the question of clean water.

Set for Tuesday, Aug. 29, from 6-7 p.m. at the Sandpoint Events Center, 102 S. Euclid Ave., the Idaho Conservation League After Hours event “How Clean Is Our Water?” breaks down continued issues with water quality in Idaho. Hosted by ICL Program Director Justin Hayes, the program will detail a recent ICL report that covers the three-year performance of all 114 municipal sewage treatment plants in Idaho. They event is free, and beer will be provided.

According to the Idaho Conservation League, 81 percent of plants reviewed across Idaho have violated the Clean Water Act within the last three years. The program will take a closer look into what went wrong, and what can be done to fix the problem.

The program arrives on the heels of a prior dialogue about water quality following the derailment of a coal train near the Idaho-Montana border. While rail companies maintained that coal is not considered a hazardous substance under current regulations, conservation groups are leading court battles that insist to the contrary. They recently won a legal victory against BNSF Railway, basing its case on the harmful impact of coal and coal dust. BNSF, while denying any Clean Water Act violations, has agreed to conduct a two-year study on the feasibility of coal train car covers.

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