British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Bunker Hill, ID : ecological restoration Henry, Chuck; Brown, Sally; Chaney, Rufus; Compton, Harry


The Bunker Hill Superfund site in Idaho is the second largest in the nation. From smelting operations, soils on the mountainsides became severely acidic and contaminated with high concentrations of metals. Erosion from these hillsides, as well as an estimated 70 million tonnes of mine tailings were purposely dumped into the river; potentially depositing up to 700 million tonnes of contaminated sediment to the river. USDA, U of Washington, U of Idaho, and the Northwest Biosolids Management Association members installed Phases I and II of this demonstration in spring and fall 1997, consisting of surface application of "supermulch" to tailings and steep, eroded hillsides. Biosolids from King County, Everett, Tacoma and Cowlitz County, WA, and Post Falls, Hayden, and Coeur d'Alêne, ID were mixed with wood ash from Washington Water Power, Louisiana Pacific or Kimberly- Clark. Plant establishment has been dramatic, as well as there being reestablishment of soil microbial communities and evidence of wildlife usage, suggesting that these treatments are highly successful in revegetation and erosion control.

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