There is no getting around the fact that Kootenai County’s population is growing. Moreover, developers are concentrating their new construction on the Rathdrum Prairie. What may not be so apparent is that our primary source of drinking water is in the aquifer running beneath it. The Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer covers an area of about 250 square miles. Its footprint extends from Lake Pend Oreille southward to Coeur d’Alene and west to Post Falls. This water source continues across the Idaho-Washington border where it also serves the residents of Spokane County. If you live on the prairie, it is likely to be your sole source of drinking water.
Unfortunately, as our population grows, the risk of contamination and depletion of this key resource will increase as well. One potential risk is the use of septic systems in unincorporated areas of the county. Septic systems release sewage with concentrations of minerals, such as chloride and nitrates. To restrict septic density over the Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, in 1997 Kootenai County adopted an Idaho statute limiting one dwelling per five-acre parcel. This statute expires at the end of the current legislative session. Consequently, the board of County Commissioners enacted an emergency ordinance on March 22,2022 maintaining the current five-acre septic density requirement. This emergency order allows the county time to review the land use and development code regarding this matter. This example of the pressures brought on by population growth highlights the critical importance of proactively managing and protecting our vital water supply and other public resources.
Join the Democratic Club this Friday at noon, online for a discussion with David Callahan about the details surrounding the enactment of the emergency order and the importance of maintaining the 5-acre septic density rule.
About David Callahan
Mr. Callahan is the Kootenai County Community Development Director. The Coeur d’Alene Press recently published an article by Mr. Callahan titled, Our Gem: County acts to protect ground water | Coeur d’Alene Press (cdapress.com). According to the article, the Kootenai County Community Development staff is drafting an amendment to the Land Use and Development Code that will make the five-acre rule a permanent part of the County’s code.
ABOUT OUR MEETINGS
The Democrat Club meets each Friday at noon online. We distribute a Zoom link for our club meetings each Thursday prior to the meeting date. Contact Phil at email@example.com or Ruben at firstname.lastname@example.org, to request the link or assistance connecting. We will return to in person/online meetings as soon as it becomes safe to do so. You can find videos of past Club meetings at KootenaiCountyDemClub.com/Meeting Videos.