Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Waste Remediation Activities

Waste remediation is a process in which contaminants are removed or neutralized so that they cannot cause harm. It may entail actively removing the waste, which is generally preferable, or isolating or containing the waste on site because it too costly or impractical to remove.

DEQ's Mine Waste Program works with EPA to implement cleanup and remediation activities in areas where mining activities have contaminated soils and surface waters. Priorities include cleanup of the Bunker Hill Superfund site, remediation of the Coeur d'Alene Basin in northern Idaho, and investigating the impact of selenium contamination from historic mines in southeastern Idaho.

EPA National Priorities List

The National Priorities List (NPL) provides the national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories. The NPL is intended primarily to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation. Find out what sites in Idaho are on the NPL here.

Preliminary Assessment of Mine Sites

Through a cooperative agreement with EPA, DEQ has been screening and evaluating potentially contaminated sites since 2002, with priority given to sites where potential contamination poses the most substantial threat to human health or the environment. Sites may include abandoned mines, rural airfields, old landfills, illegal dumps, and abandoned industrial facilities. Reports on preliminary assessments of mine and other sites may be accessed here.

Risk Evaluation Manual

When contamination occurs, it is important to determine whether it presents a health risk. DEQ's Risk Evaluation Manual outlines procedures for evaluating risk from chemical releases to determine whether ground water, surface water, or soil at a particular location is contaminated to the extent it poses a human health risk. It helps evaluate whether an investigation or cleanup is needed and, if so, what its scope and nature should be. Efforts are underway to develop a separate manual for petroleum releases. Learn more.