September 28, 2009 in Idaho

EPA clears Superfund disposal project

Truckloads headed to North Idaho repository
By The Spokesman-Review
Previous coverage

Read more stories about the East Mission Flats repository.

The East Mission Flats Repository, which will store 40,000 truckloads of mine waste in the Coeur d’Alene River floodplain, can move forward, the nation’s top Superfund official said today.

But Mathy Stanislaus said that additional monitoring wells will be installed at the repository, including an “early warning system” that will alert officials if metals are migrating into the groundwater.

Stanislaus is the Obama administration’s senior political appointee on Superfund issues. He visited the Silver Valley in August, after Congressman Walt Minnick called Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency’s top administrator, and asked that the repository’s location be examined at the highest levels.

The repository is located across Interstate 90 from Old Mission State Park on ground that is already contaminated with mine tailings. Its location has been controversial. A citizens group, the Silver Valley Community Resource Center, and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe have raised concerns about putting a repository in the floodplain and its proximity to the Old Mission, which is Idaho’s oldest building.

The repository will start taking contaminated material from Superfund cleanups in other parts of the Silver Valley today, said Angela Chung, EPA’s Bunker Hill Superfund team leader.

The early warning system will be installed by next spring, so it’s in place before the spring floods occur, she said

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