The unique geologic history of southern Idaho makes it one of the largest sources of phosphate ore in the United States, and phosphate mining has been an important industry in the area since the early 20th century. Phosphate ore is accessed and mined in the region through the creation of open pits. When excavating the ore, material overlying the phosphate-rich beds is removed. This material, called overburden, can be elevated in selenium and other potentially hazardous metals. When exposed to air and weathering, these metals can be released into the environment.
Information about DEQ-led phosphate mining site investigations, cleanup actions, and site history is found at History of Phosphate Mining in Southeastern Idaho.
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DEQ is the lead agency at several sites in the Southern Idaho Phosphate Resource Area and is responsible for directing site investigations, monitoring efforts, and cleanup activities with other supporting agencies. For additional information, contact the Pocatello Regional Office.
|Conda, Woodall Mountain Mine Site||J.R. Simplot|
|Georgetown Canyon Industrial Closure Site||Nutrien/Nu-West|
|Georgetown Canyon Mine Site||Nutrien/Nu-West|
|South Central Rasmussen Ridge Area||Nutrien/Nu-West|
|South Rasmussen Mine||Bayer/P4|
|North Dry Valley Mine||FMC|
Most sites in the Southern Idaho Phosphate Resource Area are on federal land and cleanup activities are managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service, or US Bureau of Land Management. DEQ acts as a support agency at these sites and ensures that Idaho’s resources are protected and state requirements are met.
|Mine Location/Name||Agency Lead|
|Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Henry Mine||EPA|
|Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Ballard Mine||EPA|
|Bayer/P4 (Monsanto) – Enoch Valley Mine||EPA|
|Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – Champ Mine||Forest Service|
|Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – Mountain Fuel Mine||Forest Service|
|Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – North Maybe Canyon Mine||Forest Service|
|Nutrien/Nu-West (Agrium) – South Maybe Mine||Forest Service|
|J.R. Simplot – Smoky Canyon Mine||Forest Service|
|Solvay Mine (Rhone Palank) – Wooley Valley Mine||Forest Service|