THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SPOKANE, Wash. -- A year after Spokane County became the only place in the country to ban phosphate-laden dishwashing detergents, new data shows the effort appears to be working.
Water coming into Spokane's sewage plant during the first 12 months of the ban had nearly 11 percent less phosphorus than the annual average the previous three years, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Mike Coster, the plant's operations superintendent, says the new law won't have much of an effect on water flowing from the plant into the river since treatment removes much of the phosphorous.
But it will have a bigger impact on homes on septic or drain field systems, where water and phosphorous filter back into groundwater, he said.
"Any phosphorus reduction you can see there is going to have benefit to the river," Coster said. "It's not the total answer, but it's one step."
Spokane County, along with Whatcom County, prohibits the sale of dishwasher detergents with more than 0.5 percent phosphorous. That ban will extend to the rest of the state next July. …