Idaho Environmental Guide for Local Governments: Inactive or Abandoned Mining Areas
In February 2002, DEQ initiated a Preliminary Assessment Program to evaluate and prioritize assessment of potentially contaminated sites. Due to accessibility and funding considerations, priority is given to sites where potential contamination poses the most substantial threat to human health or the environment. Priority is also given on a watershed basis so that mine groups or claims may be assessed together. Local governments may view reports about inactive and abandoned mines assessed by DEQ here.
Review the following information for projects that involve inactive or abandoned mining areas:
- Cities and counties, especially those with high occurrences of mining activities, are responsible for how development occurs in their jurisdictions and should take mining and mining waste issues into consideration when developing planning and zoning ordinances and/or promoting new development.
- Local governments are responsible for public safety, so risk-based management decisions should be used to minimize the human health and ecological risks associated with new development in inactive or abandoned mining areas.
- If cities or counties are purchasing or developing property, it is important to conduct due diligence on the property to determine potential on-site contamination and the need for risk management.
The Voluntary Cleanup Program encourages innovation and cooperation among the state, communities, and private parties working to revitalize properties with hazardous substance or petroleum contamination.
Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where the reuse is complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination. The Idaho Brownfields Program is a joint program between the US Environmental Protection Agency and DEQ to help local governments redevelop brownfield sites in their communities by funding and conducting site assessments when a lack of environmental information is complicating site redevelopment or reuse.