The Cowlitz Indian Tribe has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to handle sewage at its future casino resort outside of La Center by injecting up to 400,000 gallons a day of treated wastewater deep into the ground.
The membrane bioreactor system that will treat the wastewater before it’s injected underground is “state-of-the art green technology” designed to meet federal drinking water standards, tribe Chairman William Iyall said.
“It’s a very advanced plant,” he said Thursday. “We’re confident we’re going to meet all the requirements the EPA has.”
The EPA hasn’t finished reviewing the proposal yet. However, such injection wells aren’t unheard of — the EPA has allowed the Tulalip, Nisqually, Skagit, Squaxin and Grand Ronde Tribes to build wastewater injection systems on Tribal Trust lands similar to the one the Cowlitz Tribe has proposed, according to Parametrix, the tribe’s engineering consultant.
The tribe is proposing the vadose injection well system because it cannot hook up to the city of La Center’s sewer system, as the massive casino would be built outside the city’s urban growth boundary. The tribe submitted its initial documents to the EPA in May requesting approval under the Authorization by Rule, which would allow the tribe to proceed with construction without further permits. The Columbian obtained copies of the documents under the Public Records Act.