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

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 to review Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup - We need your input by Dec. 31, 2014

Why review the 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.

Work to date:

Bunker Hill was listed as a Superfund site in 1983. Over the past 30 years, EPA has made significant progress in cleaning up this site, making it a healthier place for people to live, work, play, and raise their families. However, heavy metals from historical mining and smelting still present risks.

We want to hear from you!

You may have information and ideas to share about the site that will assist us with this review so that healthy trends in the community can continue. We invite you to share your input by December 31, 2014. Please send to Anne McCauley, mccauley.anne@epa.gov, 206-553-4689 or 800-424-4372, or mail to U.S. EPA Region 10, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101.

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

Crews are busy this summer 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 will build a Waste Consolidation Area there to prepare for cleanup at the Interstate-Callahan mine site. The WCA will take in waste from lots of other mine cleanups in the area, too. 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.

The Superfund Cleanup Implementation Plan, prepared last year, spells out plans for Superfund cleanup in the Basin. The 2013 Annual Update highlights changes from last year’s plan—most of the changes are schedule-related.

EPA Announces Pilot Project Selection: Riverside Cleanup at Khanderosa

Sept. 30, 2013 - EPA is pleased to announce that the Khanderosa RV Park Campground along the CDA River will be the site of a pilot project. This small scale cleanup will address lead contamination on the river bank and beach. The cleanup will protect people’s health and help inform possible larger-scale cleanups in the future.

Back in July, EPA announced that it had decided to do a river bank and beach remediation project. The agency has now finished screening the Khanderosa site and confirmed it is suitable for the pilot. Sampling and surveying are ongoing. Soon the agency will prepare a “design” to guide the cleanup. Work could include removing contamination in areas where the public could be exposed, stabilizing the river bank, providing access to the beach and adding cautionary signs. Cleanup work is expected to be performed next year.

July 1, 2013 -- EPA has 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.

Interim ROD Amendment for Upper Basin and Box

2012-2022 Implementation plan is now available.

Coeur d'Alene Basin Cleanup Activities

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 has 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

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.

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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