BUNKER HILL MINING AND METALLURGICAL
KELLOGG, SHOSHONE COUNTY, IDAHO
As part of its 5-year review process, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to perform a public health consultation on sampling data acquired from right-of-ways (ROWs) and areas in the vicinity of ROWs on the Bunker Hill (BHSS) National Priorities List site. The purpose of the consultation is to determine if sources of contamination or re-contamination in the vicinity of ROWs are present at levels of public health concern.
The BHSS is located in Shoshone County, Idaho, approximately 40 miles east of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The site covers about 21 square miles and includes the cities of Kellogg, Page, Pinehurst, Smelterville, and Wardner (1-2). Over 7,000 people reside in the area. Clean up in the populated areas has been ongoing since the smelter closed in 1981. Discharges from mining and smelting activities have caused the properties and ROWs to become contaminated with varying levels of heavy metals, including, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and zinc. This public health consultation will focus on lead because that is the element for which data are readily available.
Past studies and ongoing sampling at the BHSS indicate that mine tailings and mine related wastes have contaminated the area's ROWs over the past 100 years. The Bunker Hill facility is currently closed. Exposure and adverse health effects (results primarily from lead exposure) have been reported by area residents (3). Medical monitoring for selected health effects related to exposure to lead is getting underway. Many of the ROWs have been remediated via the construction of barriers to prevent exposure to and migration of contaminants in the substrata.