Lead Control (Superfund Site Remediation)

Licensing & Permitting

Your Health. Our Focus.

The Institutional Controls Program (ICP) is a locally enforced set of rules and regulations designed to ensure the integrity of clean soil and other protective barriers placed over contaminants left throughout the Bunker Hill Superfund site. To find out if a property has been remediated, contact Panhandle Health District at 208-783-0707.

The ICP offers several services to help residents of the Bunker Hill Superfund Site maintain their barriers and protect their health. PHD provides one (1) cubic yard of gravel or topsoil annually to repair and maintain remediated barriers and to assist with small projects within the site. The ICP also provides containers and pick-up services for contaminated soil disposal when a homeowner is undertaking a small excavation project. High efficiency HEPA vacuums are loaned out for the cleaning of residences free of charge.

 

Licensing, Contact & Payments

Licensing and Applications

Contact form ICP Request for Property Info

Superfund Environmental Data Request

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Physical Address of Property*
e.g., D0912341010Z

Information to be released (if available) will be: Remediation Plot Plan, ICP Work Permits and Sample Data.

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History

The Silver Valley was founded as a mining community over 100 years ago with the discovery of mineral rich deposits of silver, lead, and zinc in the area. Early mining and milling practices were inefficient at removing all the metals from the ore deposits, which resulted in high concentrations of metals (lead, zinc, arsenic, and cadmium) remaining in the waste products, known as tailings. It was typical at the time for tailings to be discharged into nearby streams and rivers, or to be used as construction materials for other uses. These practices resulted in the widespread distribution of contamination throughout the Silver Valley and the greater Coeur d’Alene River Basin. From 1917 until 1981 the Bunker Hill Mine also operated a lead smelter and a zinc smelter to process local ores. Smelter emissions contributed to widespread airborne pollution problems in addition to the tailing’s pollution. Metals in the tailings, the chemicals used in the milling process, and historic smelter emission deposits are hazardous to humans, fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife.

 

Silver Valley mines stopped discharging mine tailings into area waterbodies in 1968 with the passing of more stringent water quality standards in Idaho. Environmental cleanups began in 1986; however, many of these contaminants still remain in the communities, in the river system and adjacent floodplains. Spring storms and floods continue to wash the tailings downstream, redepositing them throughout the Coeur d’Alene River Basin.

Today, mines extract metals with a higher efficiency and operate under both state and federal environmental laws that greatly reduce potential impacts to human health and the environment. Modern mining, along with tourism and recreational endeavors provide the main foundation for the current economy in the Silver Valley.

Remediation

The Bunker Hill Superfund Site, often referred to as the Coeur d’Alene River Basin Cleanup Site, is located in northern Idaho and eastern Washington where early mining and milling methods led to environmental contamination from mine wastes.

Soil Repository

Contaminated soil waste generated by property remediation, homeowner projects, or business development is taken to nearby repositories. Repositories help keep the public safe by locating contaminated material in a central, stabilized, and controlled location. There are several repositories in the Bunker Hill Superfund Site, each engineered and monitored to ensure public safety and minimize negative affect on the environment.

Clean Up Progress

  • Environmental cleanup has been under way since the 1980s. Cleanup has included cooperation among federal, state, tribal, industrial, and local communities.
  • Over 7,000 residential yards, parks, commercial properties, and other public areas have been remediated by placing healthy soil and surface cover.
  • Children’s average blood lead levels remain generally low. Free blood lead testing is offered year round to site residents as a public health service.
  • An “Institutional Controls Program” helps keep remediated properties clean.
  • Cleanup also includes rehabilitation of mine and mill sites, railroad rights of way, recreation areas, and where drinking water or fisheries are affected.
  • The Basin Environmental Improvement Project Commission, a commission of three counties, two states, the federal government and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, provides citizens and communities unique access and engagement in the cleanup.
  • Public health education and project outreach is widely available.
Average blood lead levels

Local Health Information

Health risks are higher in areas where soil contamination is present and has not been cleaned up. Concentrated amounts of lead and other metals continue to both move through the Coeur d’Alene River system, ground water, floodplains, and the lateral lakes (known as the chain lakes). Metal concentrations tend to be high on hillsides between Smelterville and Kellogg due to past smelter emissions, and concentrates are commonly found on and near historic mill sites. Blood lead screening is available to residents living within the Bunker Hill Superfund Site free of charge through Panhandle Health District’s Kellogg office. To find out more information or to schedule an appointment call (208) 783-0707.