Bunker Hill Water Treatment Endowment Fund
The purpose of the Bunker Hill Water Treatment Endowment is to fund future water treatment at the Bunker Hill Superfund Site. The fund will be used to operate the Central Treatment Plant (CTP) in Kellogg, once EPA completes upgrades to the facility and constructs a ground water collection system. After upgrades, the CTP is expected to remove up to 1,800 pounds of zinc and various quantities of other metals each day from water before it enters the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River. The plant treats water from the Bunker Hill Mine and currently removes 1,400 pounds of zinc per day. EPA’s construction activities are expected to be completed in 2017.
While EPA currently operates the CTP, long-term operations will be transitioned to DEQ with funding from the Bunker Hill Water Treatment Endowment Fund once EPA completes facility upgrades. The endowment fund was created under the September 8, 2011, consent decree “United States of America v. Hecla Mining Company and Consolidated Cases, No. 96-01220N-EJL, No. 91-0342-N-EJL, and No. 94-0206-N-HLR.” The consent decree settled claims against Hecla for the Bunker Hill Superfund Site cleanup. The agreement to establish the endowment fund was formalized June 19, 2014, in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) among EPA, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and DEQ. The agreement resulted in a deposit of $52,319,496 made to the endowment fund.
EPA and DEQ agreed to invest money into the endowment fund because it was the best investment option available to meet long-term funding needs. The endowment fund uses prudent investment practices under the oversight of the Endowment Fund Investment Board.
DEQ’s obligation under the MOA to collect and treat contaminated water and operate and maintain the facilities exists only as long as the endowment fund contains sufficient money to pay for collection and treatment.