CARA Wastewater Evaluation

Spokane County performed a review of a portion of the Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA) requirements relating to nonresidential wastewater regulations outside the Urban Growth Area (UGA) Boundary. Through a transparent process involving stakeholders, the review of the above-referenced portion of the CARA was conducted with technical assistance from HDR Engineering. The technical aspects of the project include:
  • An independent evaluation of potential wastewater loadings to soil from non-residential uses and activities
  • Determination of non-residential wastewater constituent loadings that would be protective of groundwater and surface water
  • An evaluation of the need for standard revisions; and if applicable, development of recommendations for standard revisions that are protective of groundwater and surface water

Stakeholder Engagement

The stakeholder engagement elements of the project included a survey of interested parties, development of a CARA Review Committee, periodic updates to interested parties, and opportunities for interested parties to provide comments. The CARA Review Committee included twelve to fifteen stakeholders that represented a variety of viewpoints and interests. The Committee participated in four to five meetings at key points during the project, and was asked to:
  • Share perspectives
  • Provide feedback on the technical aspects of the CARA review
  • Provide comments and suggestions relating to draft recommendations for CARA standard revisions (if applicable)


Preliminary recommendations for CARA standard revisions were developed but final adoption was not pursued at the time. Ultimately, any revisions to CARA would need to be presented to the Spokane County Planning Commission and go through a formal public hearing process before being adopted by the Board of County Commissioners.