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

Contacts:

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

Newsletter:

Read our Basin Bulletin newsletter for updates about cleanup activities »

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News

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.

December 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.

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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