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DEQ seeks comment on proposed plan to lower lead and zinc in the Upper Spokane River Watershed

June 15, 2021

Coeur d’Alene — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) seeks comment on a proposed plan to address elevated levels of lead and zinc in the Upper Spokane River Watershed.

The Spokane River in Idaho is in the Upper Spokane Watershed in Kootenai County. It flows into the Coeur d’Alene basin, which includes all tributaries to Coeur d’Alene Lake, including the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe River watersheds.

Historic mining practices deposited metal-contaminated sediments throughout the system and, in 1994, the Spokane River from Coeur d’Alene Lake to the Idaho/Washington border was placed on Idaho’s 303(d) list of impaired waters.

Under the Clean Water Act, states are required to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) when state water quality standards are not achieved. To comply with these requirements, DEQ prepared the draft Spokane River Water Quality Improvement Plan Total Maximum Daily Load, which establishes water quality targets and load capacities, estimates existing pollutant loads, and allocates responsibility for load reductions needed to return listed waters to a condition meeting Idaho’s water quality standards. It also identifies implementation strategies—including reasonable time frames, approach, responsible parties, and monitoring strategies—necessary to achieve load reductions and meet water quality standards.

The draft plan was developed in consultation with the Upper Spokane River Watershed Advisory Group, which advised DEQ to submit the proposal for public review.

The Spokane River Water Quality Improvement Plan Total Maximum Daily Load can be accessed on DEQ’s website, at DEQ’s State Office (1410 N. Hilton Street), and at DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Regional Office (2110 Ironwood Parkway).

Written comments will be accepted through July 15, 2021, at 5 p.m. PDT. Submit comments electronically or by mail or email to:

Kristin Lowell
DEQ Coeur d’Alene Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Kristin.Lowell@deq.idaho.gov

Related Documents
Spokane River Water Quality Improvement Plan Total Maximum Daily Load

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