January 20, 2006 in Idaho

Blackwell dredge plan still alive

Staff writer
 

Fast fact

Dredging plan

The dredging would make the channel about 50 percent wider and at least 8 feet deep. The expansion would allow for about 530 boat slips, 29 more than are at the marina on the island bisected by U.S. Highway 95 as it crosses the river, at the north end of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Coeur d’Alene businessman Duane Hagadone is still working on plans to dredge the Blackwell Island channel at the head of the Spokane River. He has told federal officials he will dispose of nearly 2,600 dump truck loads of contaminated soil at an undisclosed site south of the city.

Marina Yacht Club LLC, which is owned by Hagadone, recently asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 60-day extension to provide details about plans to dredge the channel to expand the marina and allow for larger boats.

The company needs until March to secure the use of the disposal site and complete any necessary testing. Hagadone wasn’t available for comment Thursday, and his engineer, Jim Coleman, was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Idaho Department of Lands and Department of Environmental Quality officials said they don’t know which properties Hagadone is considering for a disposal site.

“We would like to know the location so we can evaluate it,” said June Bergquist of DEQ.

Kootenai County Planning Director Rand Wichman said that if the property is in the county, Hagadone would have to get a permit to dispose of the waste.

In a Dec. 27 letter to the corps, a Hagadone official wrote that the company was electing to transport the soils with high levels of heavy metals – perhaps 26,000 cubic yards – off site instead of continuing discussions about whether the soils are safe to use to build up the elevation of the manmade island that occasionally floods.

The company is looking at several sites where the underlying soils are clay and rock, which would prevent any metals from leaching into the groundwater. Hagadone officials said the contaminated soils could be isolated or perhaps recycled.

The decision came after the corps ruled that about two feet to four feet of surface material isn’t suitable for disposal where it could leach into the lake or river. In a Dec. 2 letter, corps officials said that more testing and monitoring may be needed depending on the location of the disposal site.

The dredging would make the channel about 50 percent wider and at least 8 feet deep. The expansion would allow for about 530 boat slips, 29 more than are at the marina on the island bisected by U.S. Highway 95 as it crosses the river, at the north end of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

In the same Dec. 2 letter, corps officials recommended that Hagadone reduce the size of the dredging project in an effort to “disturb less contaminated sediments and be less damaging to the aquatic environment.”

If Hagadone didn’t dredge as far north in the channel, it would be possible to preserve about a half-acre of wetlands, the letter said. That would result in the elimination of a number of boat slips and the relocation of the proposed boat ramp and seawall.

The corps asked Hagadone to consider reducing the size of the project or to demonstrate why it wouldn’t be a practicable alternative.

After the corps receives the additional information requested from Hagadone, it will decide whether to issue permits that would allow the widening and deepening of the channel.

The company is waiting for that decision before it resubmits its application to the Idaho Department of Lands.

Hagadone withdrew his application with the department in August, opting to wait for a decision by the corps and DEQ. The decision delayed the marina expansion by at least a year.

The withdrawal came after the lands department denied Hagadone’s dredging request in July, saying it didn’t have adequate information from the corps and DEQ.

Hagadone knew he wasn’t going to have that needed information in time to appeal the lands department decision, so he instead decided to withdraw the plan with the intention of resubmitting it once the other agencies responded.


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