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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Bunker Hill

Kellogg, Idaho

Site Description
The Bunker Hill site, located in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, is one of the largest environmental and human health cleanup efforts in the country.  Historic mining practices generated an estimated 70 to 100 million tons of mining waste that are now spread throughout regional streams, rivers, flood plains and lakes.  The contamination resulting from these mining practices affects all media and poses public health risks, particularly to young children and pregnant women due to exposure to lead.  Ecological affects include sterile river regions and hundreds of avian deaths each year. 

Cleanup Actions to Date
Since listing it on the National Priorities List in 1983, EPA has accomplished a number of significant milestones at the Bunker Hill site.  In 2008, EPA certified completion of the residential cleanup in the 21-square-mile area known as the Bunker Hill Box, which was EPA’s initial focus area due to the high number of children living in the area with unsafe blood-lead levels.  As a result of this residential cleanup activity, EPA and the State of Idaho have documented a 55 percent reduction of blood-lead levels in children who live in the Box.  In recent years, the number of children with elevated blood-lead levels in the Box and Basin is less than 2 percent, a statistic consistent with national averages for similar communities.  EPA’s cleanup activities have also resulted in the removal of about two million cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediments, the creation of nearly 400 acres of safe waterfowl feeding habitat, re-vegetation of more than 1,000 acres of denuded hillsides, and capping of contaminated soils with clean material, thereby reducing lead levels in fugitive dust. 

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $16.8 million in Recovery Act funding to expedite the Coeur d'Alene Basin residential cleanup program, which is a top priority for the site and key to protecting public health. EPA estimates that the Basin residential cleanup would be completed in 2015. With the Recovery Act funding, EPA believes that this aspect of the site's cleanup could be completed two years earlier, by the end of 2013.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • A total of 478 properties and 5,150,930 square feet were cleaned up.
  • As of September 2011, 98% of the Recovery Act funds have been utilized.
  • Coeur d'Alene Basin Property Remediation Program will be completed earlier than originally planned because of the Recovery Act funds.

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