EPA ID# IDD980725832
EPA Region 10
Lemhi County
Town of Lemhi

2nd Congressional District

Other Names:
Last Update: May, 2010

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The Blackbird Mine site encompasses approximately 830 acres of private patented mining claims and 10,000 acres of unpatented claims within the Salmon National Forest. The site is located 20 miles west of Salmon, Idaho and is in the Panther Creek drainage basin, which drains into the Salmon River. Big Deer Creek and Blackbird Creek drain into Panther Creek. Since the late 1800s, several companies have mined cobalt and copper on the site with both mine tunnels and open-pit methods. The current owner, the Noranda Mining Company, ceased operations in 1982. Mine tunnels, waste rock piles, and the open pit are located at the headwaters of Meadow and Bucktail Creeks which drain into Big Deer and Blackbird Creeks. There is a tailings impoundment located on the West Fork of Blackbird Creek and tailing deposits located along Blackbird Creek from transport of tailings to the West Fork tailings impoundment or direct discharges of tailings into the creek. The waste rock piles alone are approximately 4 million cubic yards. Investigations have shown that acid rock drainage and leachate from the tunnels, waste piles and tailings have contributed to the poor water quality in local creeks. High levels of heavy metals such as copper, cobalt, and arsenic are present in surface water and/or sediments downstream from the site. The copper levels exceeded EPA's Fresh Water Ambient Water Quality Criteria. Arsenic in soils located along the banks of Blackbird Creek and Panther Creek downstream of the mine may pose a potential risk to humans. The Snake River sockeye spring/summer Chinook salmon, Snake River steelhead and bull trout, listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, are threatened by the poor water quality.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:05/10/1993
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:
Deleted Date:

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Surface Water
Surface water and sediments are contaminated with high levels of heavy metals such as copper, cobalt and arsenic. Groundwater and surface water are primarily contaminated with copper and cobalt. Sediments and soils are primarily contaminated with copper, cobalt and arsenic. Site studies have shown that acid rock drainage from tunnels and waste piles have contributed to the poor water quality of local creeks. This water quality affects local aquatic life, including the Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon and other endangered or threatened species. People who come into direct contact with or ingest contaminated sediments or soils could be at risk.

Show details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

PHONE NUMBER:208-378-5775
PHONE NUMBER:206-553-6689
Information pertaining to this site is housed at the following location(s):
Salmon Public Library (Administrative Record)
204 Main Street
Salmon, ID 83467
(208) 756-2311

EPA - Idaho Operations Office (Administrative Record)
1435 North Orchard
Boise, ID 83206
(208) 378-5746

EPA Region 10 Superfund Records Center (Administrative Record)
1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98101
M-F 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
(206) 553-4494