Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

BUNKER HILL MINING & METALLURGICAL COMPLEX
SMELTERVILLE, ID

Redevelopment

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About the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative

This nationally coordinated effort provides EPA and its partners with a process to return Superfund sites to productive use. Learn more at Superfund Redevelopment Initiative.

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Redevelopment at the Site

The Coeur d'Alene Basin Cleanup is leaving a cleaner, healthier place for people and the environment. The cleanup has also benefitted the local economy, turning over remediated properties for development and reuse. Some highlights:

  • Cleaned up 72 miles of contaminated railroad right-of-way, turned into the popular recreational Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
  • So far, transferred more than 1,800 acres of cleaned-up property to the State of Idaho for economic development projects.
  • Converted 400 acres of farmland to healthy wetland habitat for water birds.
  • "Limited Use" waste repositories are used to create developable land. LURs accept waste only from replacement of local paved roads under the Coeur d'Alene Basin Cleanup. The East Osburn LUR is already closed and capped, and is available for redevelopment or use by the property owner.

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Supporting Documents

Sites in Reuse - Silver Valley Former Mining Properties. (PDF)

Bunker Hill Beneficial Effects Case Study (PDF) (17pp 3.4 MB)

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Economic Activity at the Site

As of December 2018, EPA had data on 312 on-site businesses. These businesses employed 2,848 people and generated an estimated $283,726,801 in annual sales revenue. View additional information about redevelopment economics at Superfund sites.

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Case Studies and Success Stories

Bunker Hill Superfund Site Redevelopment Study Available

EPA’s study, “Reuse and the Benefit to Community: Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund site (PDF) (17pp,3.5MB),” has just been released. The study highlights some successful commercial and recreational reuse projects on the site, including the Silver Mountain Resort, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, Galena Ridge Golf Course, and more. The community assets created around the cleanup site show how the local economy can grow and thrive while active cleanup construction is ongoing.

Cleanup Benefiting Local Economy:

The cleanup has benefited the local economy in many ways. Each year, the cleanup provides about 400 local jobs. The cleanup is also helping the area to become an even more attractive place to live, work, and play. For example, the hillsides are lush and green again. And, EPA cleaned up 72 miles of contaminated railroad right-of-way, turning it into a popular recreational trail, drawing tourists to the area every year. Additionally, so far, more than 1,800 acres of remediated property has been transferred to the State of Idaho for economic development projects. A recent contract award of nearly $50,000,000 for upgrade and expansion of a treatment plant is also expected to create more local jobs and give the area another economic boost.

Healthy Habitat for Water Birds:

In the Lower Coeur d'Alene River Basin, EPA worked with a local property owner and many other partners to convert 400 acres of farmland to healthy feeding habitat for migratory and resident wetland birds. The project was completed in 2011. Waterfowl deaths have been recorded in the Basin for decades, due to exposure to lead-contaminated sediment from upstream historical mining. This project, funded by settlement monies from the Asarco Trust, is reducing exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals. It is often called the "Schlepp project," after the property owner. The site is on private property and not open to the public.

Agencies Partner to Restore Robinson Creek Wetlands:

The Robinson Creek Wetlands Restoration Project is in the Lower Coeur d'Alene River Basin. It aims to convert a hay field back into healthy wetland habitat for wildlife, especially water birds. The site is managed by Idaho Department of Fish and Game, as part of the Coeur d'Alene Wildlife Management Area. In 2015, site excavation and grading was completed. In 2016, IDFG and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality planted 3,000 woody trees and shrubs, and volunteers planted several thousand native rushes and sedges. EPA provided funding for restoration activities, as wetlands mitigation for the Page Repository expansion.

Black Lake Ranch: Future Recreation Opportunities:

Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently purchased Black Lake Ranch, in the Lower Coeur d'Alene River Basin. The ranch is on the south side of the river. The property will be used to create recreational opportunities. Site planning is moving forward.

Rose Lake Boat Launch:

The Rose Lake Boat Launch was remediated by EPA, in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This and other boat launches in the Coeur d'Alene Basin were previously primitive launches with dirt or gravel parking areas. Launches and parking areas are frequently flooded. Floodwaters leave behind sediments containing high levels of lead and other harmful heavy metals. Having an asphalt parking area and concrete launches, instead of natural surfaces, allows the areas to be cleaned off after flooding, which helps reduce metals exposure.

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Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup. For more background, see Institutional Controls.

The Panhandle Health District manages the Institutional Controls Program. The ICP is a locally-enforced set of regulations that ensure clean soil and other barriers placed over contamination remain protective of public health. Permits are needed for many types of indoor and outdoor construction activities. Permits and consultations are free. You must comply with the ICP before digging on your property or starting some interior projects.

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Regional Economic Studies

Idaho Department of Labor, Shoshone County Profile

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