Local businessman Duane Hagadone has agreed to withdraw his request to dredge the channel west of Blackwell Island until his company can provide more specific details of the plan to government agencies.
Hagadone Corporation representative John Barlow pulled the request Dec. 13, saying a new application would come when questions from the Idaho Department of Land, Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are answered.
Carl Washburn of the Lands Department said Thursday that he is unsure when Hagadone will submit a new application but that he is working out a date to review the site with Barlow.
Agencies’ concerns included questions about the level of metals in the soils, potential for breaking the seal over the aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 400,000 people and worries about dredging in an area that is a former city landfill.
Hagadone officials weren’t available for comment Thursday.
The Department of Land “would like us to withdraw all applications, finish the open issues and then send in one application for the dredging, sea wall, and the marina,” Barlow wrote in a Dec. 10 e-mail to Gregg Rayner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Marina Yacht Club LLC, which is owned by Hagadone, applied Sept. 9 for permits from the corps and Lands Department to make the Blackwell Channel about 50 percent wider and at least 8 feet deep. The plans referred to expanding the current marina to about 530 boat slips, perhaps over four years. Hagadone wants to improve the marina and allow for larger boats that require deeper water.
The proposed dredging area is from Lake Coeur d’Alene downstream, past the marina, to where the channel flows under U.S. Highway 95.
The company also filed an additional request in November for the construction of a sea wall and boat ramp.
A Dec. 6 letter to Barlow from the Lands Department said that the application lacked adequate information and that concerns over the boat launch location were never addressed. The letter also said that it’s unlikely that the department would allow Hagadone to build a sea wall below the ordinary high-water mark.
Preliminary soil samples, conducted by a Hagadone consultant, showed that sediment in the channel may have lead levels high enough to require the dirt to be capped so it’s not ingested by children or used for gardening. Yet DEQ said more extensive tests were needed to determine if unsafe levels of hazardous materials that could harm human, wildlife and aquatic life are present.
Hagadone proposed using the dredged soil to fill parts of Blackwell Island, raising it above the 100-year flood level. The plan was to remove about 220,000 cubic yards of sand, silt and gravel from the channel. Initially Hagadone wanted to start work by Nov. 15.
A geotechnical engineer hired by Hagadone evaluated the site and concluded in an Oct. 15 letter that “the proposed marina expansion project is not likely to significantly increase seepage, breach a lakebed seal, or cause rapid leakage.”
Steve Burchett of Budinger and Associates in Spokane also wrote that it’s unlikely the project would affect water levels of the lake and that no refuse or debris from the former landfill were found when soil samples were taken.
Burchett said that the northern portion of the 38-acre site was where the majority of the landfill was located. He wrote that the northern end of the marina property can be capped to reduce infiltration.
Hagadone bought the Blackwell Island property in January 2004 for an undisclosed amount.
The current yacht club includes a Cobalt boat dealership and service center.
Blackwell Island didn’t exist until a lumber company decided a canal was needed as an alternate passage around the boggy area where Lake Coeur D’Alene became the Spokane River.
After U.S. Highway 95 and its bridge across the river were built, the “new” island was expanded when it became a city-run landfill, which closed about 30 years ago.