Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Superfund Site (Coeur d'Alene Basin) | Region 10 | US EPA

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Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Superfund Site (Coeur d'Alene Basin)

The Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site - also known as the Coeur d'Alene Basin cleanup - is located primarily in northern Idaho. It was first added to EPA's National Priorities List of contaminated sites in 1983.

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Community Resources - Find information about meetings, fact sheets, document locations, community groups, mailing list

Technical & Legal Documents

Five-Year Review (4th) (PDF)


For questions about hiring and contracts for work being done by the CDA Work Trust, contact Dan Meyer, Senior Program Manager, 208-783-0222


Read our Basin Bulletin newsletter for updates about cleanup activities »

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The Latest

EPA Finishes Five-Year Review of Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup

We’ve completed our fourth Five-Year Review (PDF) (310 pp, 16.5MB) of the site. We are required to review sites at least every five years where contaminants remain in place. The review ensures that cleanup actions continue to protect human health and the environment, and identifies any issues and recommendations. The Five-Year Review is a comprehensive summary of the work completed to date and evaluation of the data associated with this work. When the review began a year ago, we asked the public and key stakeholders to share information and ideas about the site that could assist us with the review and ensure we had the most up-to-date and complete information about the site. For many areas cleanup actions are complete, and the current review confirmed that the cleanup measures continue to be protective. In other areas, cleanup actions are either planned or ongoing and are expected to be protective when completed. The Five-Year Review Report explains the results of the review for all areas. Find the report and supporting documents at select local libraries.

November issue of Basin Bulletin is available

EPA refines remedy protection project locations to keep cleaned-up areas clean

The EPA has issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) (PDF) (12 pp, 1.8MB) for cleanup of contamination at the site. The 2012 cleanup amendment selected a remedy to keep cleaned-up areas clean within Upper Basin communities and side gulches, over the long-term. These selected remedy protection actions called for building infrastructure such as storm water systems and larger culverts.

This ESD selects five specific locations within side gulches for future action: Silver Creek in the Page community, Slaughterhouse Gulch Road above Wardner, Blackcloud and McCarthy Creeks in Ninemile, and Boulder Creek in Mullan. These improvements will help protect people and the environment by reducing erosion and recontamination from storm water runoff, tributary flooding, and heavy rain and snowfall. The ESD will become part of the Bunker Hill administrative record, and is available at select local libraries.

Howard Orlean Excellence in Site Reuse Award

Congratulations to Mike and Brenda Schlepp for their incredible stewardship! Due to their efforts, waterfowl diversity and abundance on this property is among the highest in the Lower Basin during spring migration.

July Basin Bulletin is available

The Bulletin gives you news and updates about the cleanup in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin. EPA publishes the Bulletin three times a year.

Construction begins in May in Revenue Gulch, in Silverton

Limited Use Repositories

A Limited Use Repository is coming to East Osburn in April 2015. So much cleanup waste is being produced by the local paved roads program that a new disposal option is needed. Here are answers to some questions about the LUR.

Fencing SVNRT Repository in Woodland Park

This fact sheet gives you information about the new fence. It also shows a map of the repository’s location and the fence boundary.

Final Remedial Action Reports: Spokane River Beach Cleanup Sites

The Final Remedial Action Reports: Spokane River Beach Cleanup Sites (PDF) (118 pp, 20MB) documents cleanup of eleven locations along the Spokane River. The environmental work was done between 2006 and 2012. It was designed to isolate and stabilize metals-impacted beach sediments at recreational areas along the Spokane River. The sites range from the Washington-Idaho border to Donkey Island in Spokane Valley, Washington. The Washington State Department of Ecology and EPA completed the cleanup actions as part of the overall EPA Record of Decision (ROD) for the Coeur d’Alene Basin. The goal was to reduce human health and ecological exposures. Cleanup work included a combination of capping, removals, and performance monitoring. The report is 118 pages.

Community Involvement in 2014

EPA Region 10 continued working with the local community throughout 2014. Our outreach activities are designed to give people meaningful opportunities to be involved in agency decision making.

EPA reviewing Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup

EPA has started its fourth Five-Year Review of the Bunker Hill Superfund Site, also known as the "Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup." EPA reviews sites where contaminants remain in place at least every five years. The review ensures that cleanup actions continue to protect human health and the environment.

Keeping Cleaned Up Areas Clean: Remedy Protection Work Ongoing in Local Communities

Crews have been busy doing work designed to protect earlier cleanups around the Silver Valley. The upgrades to local infrastructure help protect private and public property from flooding and stormwater runoff damage. Local jurisdictions will maintain the installed structures so they continue to provide flood protection in the future. Local jurisdictions are also especially involved with planning and public outreach.

Ninemile Creek Watershed Waste Consolidation Area

Environmental work is underway high up in the Ninemile Creek Watershed. The CDA Work Trust has built a Waste Consolidation Area there. The WCA is taking in waste from mine cleanups in the area. This work marks the start of major source control efforts in the Coeur d’Alene Basin and is not expected to be disruptive since it’s taking place in a remote area.

Waste Repositories

Contaminated soil from cleanups of residential and commercial properties is contained in waste repositories to reduce impacts to people and the environment. Waste respository locations for Bunker Hill include the East Mission Flats Repository and Page Waste Repository.

Coeur d'Alene Basin Cleanup Activities

Spokane River

Yard cleanups

Upper Basin and "Box"

In 2012, EPA changed the Record of Decision - or ROD - for cleaning up the Upper Basin. The ROD is a "road map" that defines the scope and scale of cleanup needed to meet our goals. You will have many opportunities to give input, ask questions, and influence the work throughout the cleanup process.

Lower Basin

EPA's data collection and analysis efforts in the Lower Basin continue to improve our understanding of contaminated sediment transport and disposition throughout the Lower Basin. This understanding is supporting the development and evaluation of cleanup alternatives to address mining waste contamination issues in the Lower Basin. The Upper Basin cleanup is expected to complement cleanup activities in the Lower Basin by reducing the flow of contaminated sediments and reducing the potential for recontamination from the Upper Basin to the Lower Basin.

EPA picked two projects for doing cleanup tests in the Lower Basin. One is a riverbank and beach remediation project. The other is a project to manage water levels in a contaminated area to help prevent waterfowl from feeding there. Thank you to all the submitters! We received 46 thoughtful ideas! Your input is helping to shape cleanup actions in the Lower Basin.

Mine and mill cleanups

Other Cleanup Activities

Completed cleanup work

Institutional controls

The Panhandle Health District manages the Institutional Controls Program - a locally-enforced set of regulations that ensure clean soil and other protective barriers placed over contamination remain protective of public health.

Bunker Hill Mine Contingency Plan

This Mine Contingency Plan (MCP) describes operations and maintenance (O&M) activities needed to operate the Bunker Hill Mine for control of the mine water. The mine water has low pH and contains high concentrations of dissolved metals that, if not managed, will detrimentally affect the environment.

Site Summary

The Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site - also known as the Coeur d'Alene Basin cleanup - is located primarily in northern Idaho. It was first added to EPA's National Priorities List of contaminated sites in 1983.

The Site includes mining-contaminated areas in the Coeur d’Alene River corridor, adjacent floodplains, downstream water bodies, tributaries, and fill areas, as well as the 21-square-mile Bunker Hill “Box” where historical ore-processing and smelting operations occurred. The EPA has divided the Bunker Hill Superfund Site into three Operable Units(OUs):

  • OU1 - Bunker Hill Box ("the Box") populated areas - a 21 square mile area that includes the cities of Kellogg, Wardner, Smelterville, and Pinehurst
  • OU2 - Bunker Hill Box non-populated areas- comprises the non-populated areas of the Bunker Hill Box
  • OU3 - Coeur d’Alene Basin ("the Basin") - includes all areas of the Coeur d’Alene Basin outside the Bunker Hill Box where mining-related contamination is located. This includes 45 miles of the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, and its tributaries, and including the main stem of the Coeur d’Alene River down to the depositional areas of the Spokane River, which flows from Coeur d’Alene Lake into Washington State.

Lead contamination from historical mining practices poses a risk to people in the area, especially children. We're working with many partner organizations to help reduce this risk. Read more about the site's history »

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