The city of Boise has commissioned the Dixie Drain phosphorus removal facility, which has been operating since July to remove tons of phosphorus from the Boise River before it drains into the Snake River.
The Dixie Drain was built in Canyon County to comply with upcoming federal regulations to remove 98 percent of the phosphorus from the water leaving treatment plants.
The Boise water treatment plants remove 93 percent, but the city determined it was cheaper to build the $21 million Dixie Drain than modify existing plants to bridge the 5 percentage point gap, the city said in a release.
The Dixie Drain will remove up to 140 pounds of phosphorus per day, about 10 tons per year. The 49-acre Dixie Drain facility is located between Notus and Parma.
Phosphorous occurs in many household and agricultural fertilizers. At high concentrations in the river, it can produce algae blooms and affect water quality, the release said.
The Dixie Drain was a collaboration among local, state and federal groups and agencies with Boise Mayor David Bieter, U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran and Idaho Department of Environment Quality Director John Tippets appearing at the commissioning ceremony.
“Boise is doing groundbreaking work here that will achieve greater pollution reduction in the Boise River than if the conventional path had been followed,” McLerran said in a prepared statement.