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Risk-Based Evaluation of Selected Recreational Areas in Coeur d’Alene Lake and Spokane River

Project Sponsor 

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality  


The purpose of this project is to determine if key contaminants currently present in sediments and recreational waters in Coeur d’Alene Lake and the Spokane River can cause harm to public health. This project is based on a recommendation from the 2022 National Academies of Sciences Report and includes a public outreach and sampling component. 


The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is leading this project and began planning activities and stakeholder engagement in 2023 in conjunction with Alta Science and Engineering, Inc. Efforts will include gaining input from the public, state and federal officials, and Tribal leaders through a questionnaire, press release, and comment opportunities. 


Environmental sampling will occur in the summer of 2024. This will include taking samples at selected high-use areas at Coeur d’Alene Lake and along the Spokane River (informed through public engagement activities completed in 2023). Results will then be analyzed to determine if recreating on and around these water bodies may pose human health risks. These results will also be compared to a similar 1999 field study.  


This project received $855,000 from Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative. 


The final work plan is complete and was shared with DEQ partners early February 2024. Next steps include developing a quality assurance project plan and acquiring necessary permits.


The sampling data will be used to develop a risk-based evaluation that DEQ, in coordination with the Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Committee and other project stakeholders, will rely on to make decisions about future health evaluations or mitigation activities. 

A final report is expected in 2026. 

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