Superfund Straight Talk Answering Citizens’ Questions about the Coeur d’Alene River Basin Cleanup

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Q: What is being constructed along I-90 between Smelterville and Pinehurst?

A: The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is constructing and restoring wetlands. Trucks cross the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes at milepost 49, where a flagger assists trail users though the crossing. Crews will be out through October excavating soil and creating wetland habitat.

We are creating wetlands to offset the wetlands that will be filled in as part of the Page Repository expansion. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers administer the Clean Water Act, which requires that more wetlands be created or preserved than filled in. Expanding the Page Repository means that contaminated soil can be safely disposed of in a nearby, controlled repository. Give us a call if you have questions.

Q: I hear that EPA will replace paved roads. Will mine be replaced?

A: A new “Paved Roads Strategy” addresses worn-out paved public roads in Shoshone and Kootenai counties (as reported by the Shoshone News Press on 8/27/12). Eligible roads have been identified for one-time surface improvements. These roads are public, paved, worn out in part by remediation truck traffic, located inside the Institutional Controls Boundary in Shoshone and Kootenai counties, and contaminated or acting as a barrier to contamination underneath. A sealed surface (like a road) over contaminated soil helps prevent contamination from being tracked by dust or tires onto nearby places where people are.

Funding is available because the work helps fulfill the purpose of the Superfund project. For most of the roads, EPA and DEQ used the communities’ third-party road survey to help determine how to divvy funds to local road jurisdictions. A Roads Board will evaluate city and county proposals for work on the eligible roads already listed in the strategy. Jurisdictions schedule the work, hire workers, and maintain the new surfaces. Your mayor, commissioner, and DEQ Kellogg office are great sources for more information.

Q: Your Facebook page said you had an educational booth at the North Idaho Fair. What type of education did you provide?

A: Over 1,600 people visited our educational booth where visitors answered fun trivia questions about the Coeur d’Alene (CDA) River Basin environment. Questions were about lake and river water quality, geography, aquatic plants and animals, minerals, and lead health education. People asked about the large CDA River Basin map in the backdrop, the bubbling water tube displaying Eurasian Water Milfoil, and the pH test-strip exercise. Each year DEQ partners with the Citizens Coordinating Council, Basin Commission, EPA, and Coeur d’Alene Tribe to provide this comprehensive educational booth. If you missed us this year, come and see us in 2013.

I welcome your questions about the Bunker Hill Superfund Site. Call Denna Grangaard at (208) 783-5781 or go to www.deq.idaho.gov/bunkerhillsuperfundsite.

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