Press: Severe Lead Contamination In Coeur d'Alene River Basin


A project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency's Coeur d'Alene office cautions anyone who may be vacationing near the Coeur d'Alene River this summer.

"I certainly wouldn't let my children play in the mud," the EPA's Ed Moreen told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "If you're kicking up sediment (in the river), you're kicking up sediment with a high concentration of lead in it."

This morning's Press reports that the lead concentration in the riverbed and river banks is the result of a century of mining waste being dumped upstream. The average lead concentration in the Coeur d'Alene River bed is approximately 4,000 mg/kg. Moreen said the human health threshold was 720 mg/kg and the waterfowl threshold is 530 mg/kg.

Moreen said the EPA has approximately $4.5 million earmarked for pilot projects to address the issue.

"People have expressed frustration. They want to be involved in the process earlier," Moreen told the Press.