EPA and State of Idaho Issue Final TMDL Plan for Reducing Metals in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Idaho Division of environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued a final plan to address cadmium, lead and zinc contamination in the surface waters of the Coeur d’Alene River Basin. The proposed plan is called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, and is required by the Federal Clean Water Act.
The TMDL establishes a “pollution budget” for the Coeur d’Alene River Basin including waters of the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River and tributaries, mainstem Coeur d’Alene River, Coeur d’Alene Lake, and Spokane River above the Idaho-Washington border. The “pollution budget” sets the amount of a pollutant that can be introduced into basin waters without exceeding applicable water quality standards. It also allocates a portion of this budget to sources of pollution.
Last year, EPA and DEQ released a draft TMDL for public review and comment. The agencies held a 120-day public comment period on the TMDL and conducted hearings in Wallace, Osburn, and Coeur d’Alene. The revised final TMDL reflects numerous changes and improvements that are a direct result of public input.
Copies of the final TMDL documents are available at the DEQ office in Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho College Library, and Wallace Public Library. They are also available at the end of this article.
The Administrative Record for the TMDL includes all of the information (correspondence, comment letter, draft documents, technical reports, etc.) that forms the basis for the final TMDL. An index of the documents contained in the Administrative Record is currently available. In the near future, copies of all the Administrative Record documents will be available for public review (by appointment) at the DEQ Coeur d’Alene office and the EPA regional office in Seattle.
Interested parties may obtain copies of the final TMDL and supporting documents (which include a technical support document, response-to-comments document, and information fact sheet) by contacting EPA or DEQ at the phone numbers below.
EPA’s Seattle Office Toll-free at 1-800-424-4372 (extension 1256)
DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Office (208) 769-1422.
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