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Superfund


   

Sites in Reuse in Idaho

Bunker Hill Mining & Metallurgical Complex Green Infrastructure
Site photo

The Bunker Hill Mining & Metallurgical Complex Superfund site is located in Idaho’s Silver Valley, one of the largest historical mining districts in the world. Mining operations began in the area in 1883 and continue to this day. When the Bunker Hill lead smelter and several of the associated mines closed in the 1980s, the economy of the surrounding area nearly collapsed. Thousands were jobless and heavy metals had contaminated the countryside. Local tests found high blood lead levels in area children. In response, EPA added the 25-square-mile area around the old smelter to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. Cleanup and ecological restoration around the lead smelter have included the removal of lead-contaminated soil from lawns and parks, the containment of tons of mine tailings and the planting of thousands of trees. Lead levels in children have fallen dramatically to levels equivalent to national averages. The Panhandle Health District, the State of Idaho and EPA continue to educate Silver Valley children to avoid lead-contaminated areas and accidental lead ingestion. Panhandle Health District, the state and EPA also developed a comprehensive Institutional Controls Program for the site, which provides safe and clear procedures for developing property in the Silver Valley. EPA is cleaning up the site in three main areas, or operable units. In 2009, the site received $16.8 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding to expedite the Coeur d'Alene Basin residential cleanup program. This work is a top priority for the site and key to protecting public health. In August 2012 issued an amended cleanup decision for the Upper Basin. This decision document calls for $635 million in additional cleanup actions in this area of the site over the next 30 years. Starting in 1987, the City of Kellogg began to pursue redevelopment opportunities at cleaned up portions of the site. The site is now home to the Silver Mountain Resort, which includes a mixed residential neighborhood, commercial development and 18-hole golf course; the Silver Valley Business Center, which supports industrial and commercial development; and light manufacturing, outdoor recreation, telecommunications, workforce training, and environmental remediation businesses. As of 2012, workers have cleaned up over 6,300 residential and commercial properties. EPA has finished converting nearly 400 acres of agricultural property near Medimont to healthy wetland habitat. The area is now a clean feeding habitat for swans, ducks and other wetland birds.
Updated 12/2012

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Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (USDOE) Green Infrastructure
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The 890-square-mile Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (USDOE) Superfund site is located in a remote and lightly populated area of southeast Idaho. Established in 1949, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-managed reservation has been devoted to energy research and related work. The laboratory currently supports DOE’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science and national defense. In 1986, investigators detected contaminants in ground water. In response, DOE identified hazardous waste disposal areas at the site that could pose unacceptable risks to health, safety or the environment. In 1989, EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL). In 1992, DOE signed a Federal Facilities Agreement with EPA and the state to address site contamination. DOE has since undertaken a number of cleanup actions. Additional cleanup actions and ground water monitoring continue. In 2003, DOE defined two business units, one for laboratory research and development missions (Idaho National Laboratory (INL)) and one for remediation (Idaho Cleanup Project). DOE renamed the 890-square mile facility the INL site. The site currently supports facility and program operations. DOE has reserved parts of the central area for the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) and INL operations. DOE conducts environmental research as well as ecological and sociocultural preservation on the remaining land within the site’s core. This area is largely undeveloped. Public highways and the Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I) National Historic Landmark are the only parts of the INL site with unrestricted access. The federal Bureau of Land Management manages livestock grazing leases within undeveloped portions of the site perimeter. DOE also collaborates with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to permit controlled hunting within half a mile of the boundary. Though uncertain, future land use most likely will remain essentially unchanged, with research facilities within site boundaries and agricultural and open land surrounding the site. DOE expects to retain ownership and control of the site until at least 2095, and will continue to manage portions that cannot be released for unrestricted land use beyond 2095.
Updated 12/2012

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Monsanto Chemical Co. (Soda Springs Plant)

The Monsanto Chemical Co. (Soda Springs Plant) Superfund site is located outside the city limits of Soda Springs, Idaho. The 800-acre site includes the 540-acre Monsanto plant operating area as well as 260 acres of buffer area owned in part by Monsanto and in part by various farmers. About 400 employees and 200 contract employees work at the facility. In 1984, Monsanto started evaluating ground water impacts from past and current operations. In 1990, EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) after the identification of contamination in ground water and soils at the site. EPA required that Monsanto place restrictions on its property surrounding the plant. Other property owners with soil contamination could either have their soil cleaned up or have land use restrictions placed on their property. Affected property owners chose to sell their rights, allowing Monsanto to place land use restrictions on their property. Monsanto began carrying out these requirements in 1998. EPA did not require Monsanto to take actions to address contaminated source piles and materials. This was because Monsanto's past cleanup actions and ongoing efforts have reduced potential sources of worker exposure. Contaminant migration to surrounding soils appeared to be at acceptable levels under current land use. The soil sampling completed for the third Five-Year Review during summer 2012 indicates that one parcel without land use restrictions may exceed the cleanup level. Depending upon the results from recent follow-up sampling, EPA may require land use restrictions for this property. EPA selected monitored natural attenuation to address ground water contamination. Follow-up ground water monitoring indicated that natural attenuation may not be occurring for some of the contaminants as predicted and that the area of ground water contamination is larger than originally defined. Ground water monitoring will continue and EPA is in the process of determining the need for a new ground cleanup approach for the site.
Updated 12/2012

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Mountain Home Air Force Base
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Established in 1943, Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB) is located on nine square miles of land on a plateau southwest of Mountain Home, Idaho. The base has been under the control of the Tactical Air Command since 1965. The U.S. Department of Defense established the base in 1943 as a training base for several bombardment groups during World War II. In addition to supporting military operations, current land use within the base includes a residential area with approximately 7,500service men and women and their dependents. Past practices resulted in contaminated soil and ground water. In 1990, EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL). The U.S. Air Force signed a Federal Facilities Agreement with EPA and the state in 1992 to address site contamination. The U.S. Air Force has since undertaken a number of cleanup actions on the base. Additional cleanup actions as well as long-term monitoring of ground water continue.
Updated 12/2012

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Pacific Hide & Fur Recycling Co.
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The 17-acre Pacific Hide & Fur Recycling Co. Superfund site is located in Pocatello, Idaho. From 1950 to 1983, the McCarty family owned and operated gravel mining and metal salvaging businesses at the site. Metals from site activities seeped into the soil, and in 1983 the EPA found soils on site and in the surrounding area with high lead concentrations. The EPA removed highly contaminated soils and added the site to the National Priorities (NPL) in 1984. Working with the owners, the EPA led removal and treatment of soils contaminated with lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) throughout the site. The EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1999. Operations at the site continue under Pacific Steel and Recycling, Inc.
Updated 10/2013

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Union Pacific Railroad Co.

The Union Pacific Railroad Co. (UPRR) Superfund site is located in Pocatello, Idaho. The 1-acre site is also known as the UPRR Sludge Pit site. From 1961 until 1983, UPRR dumped approximately 2,500 cubic yards of sludge from its wastewater treatment plant into a 1-acre unlined sludge pit. In 1983, EPA found that seepage from the UPRR’s sludge pit and from a nearby railroad tie treating facility contributed to the contamination of the underlying aquifers. EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. UPRR performed cleanup activities under a legal agreement with EPA. UPRR completed the cleanup actions in 1994. Cleanup activities included of the excavation and off-site disposal of 13,821 tons of sludge and soil. In addition, UPRR pre-treated of over 62 million gallons of ground water before discharging the water to the city’s water treatment plant. After confirming the success of the cleanup, EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1997. Amtrak currently uses the site as a train station.
Updated 12/2012

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