Regional Priorities - Coeur d'Alene Basin | Region 10 | US EPA

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Regional Priorities - Coeur d'Alene Basin

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

View the Updated Region 10 Environmental Strategy

Our Goal: To protect public health and the environment in the Coeur d’Alene Basin by preventing exposure to mine waste and improving water quality.

Background: Historically, the Coeur d’Alene mining district in Idaho was one of the largest producers in the world of silver, lead and zinc, and remnants of those mines are scattered over 600 square miles. More than a century of mining has degraded the ecosystem and contributed to elevated blood lead levels in children. An estimated 70-100 million tons of mining waste are spread throughout 150 river miles - many streams in the Basin cannot sustain fish populations and waterfowl are feeding in contaminated wetlands.

The Focus of Our Efforts

Our top priority is preventing human exposure to unsafe levels of lead and other metals. For the past several years, we have been conducting an intense soil and water clean-up in a 21-square mile area of the Basin with the greatest human health risk, and clean-up is nearly complete. Our focus is to:
  • Complete mine waste clean-up work in the 21-square mile "box"
  • Issue and begin implementation of a targeted Basin clean-up plan that will provide environmental improvement and aid economic development in the
  • Basin;
  • Improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River and the Spokane River; and
  • Issue permits with updated metals requirements for point sources along the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River.

From the Regional Administrator

Adobe Acrobat Version
From the Regional Administrator (52k)
Introduction (111k)

Environmental Outcomes by 2007 Environmental Indicators for Measuring Success
Yard Remediation (Lead Soil Clean-Up Work)

Key Actions: Next 1-2 Years

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