Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

USTfields Pilot Project - Smelterville

Site Background

The city of Smelterville is located within the Bunker Hill Superfund site. The area was contaminated with heavy metals from a century of mining, mineral processing, a zinc plant, and lead smelter. Smelterville has been economically depressed since 1986 when the Bunker Hill Lead Smelter and Zinc Plant were closed and dismantled. The stigma of Superfund designation and the restrictions and uncertainties that accompany a Superfund site have further degraded the economic viability of the area.

The USTfields project concerns four properties along Main Street that have underground storage tanks (USTs). Removal of the USTs, an assessment of each, and remediation of soil and ground water, if needed, will stimulate new interest in these properties for reuse and redevelopment. The long-lasting benefit to the community will be to create jobs, generate taxable incomes, and assist the community with additional business partnerships.

City of Smelterville Main Street

Site Activities

The USTfields grant application for $100,000 was submitted by DEQ to EPA on behalf of the city of Smelterville with the support of the Panhandle Health District, Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation, and the Silver Valley Superfund Task Force. Local in-kind support, which included obtaining access to the properties and disposal of contaminated soils and other debris, was critical in the success of the project.

In the summer of 2003, DEQ staff and contractor Maxim Technologies began the assessment of the four properties with USTs. This work included the removal or closure in place of 11 USTs. As part of the assessment, soil and ground water samples were taken and a risk evaluation was conducted based on the sampling results. After reviewing this information, it was determined that no remediation activity would be required.

As a result, this project was a success by preventing future contamination since a number of the USTs removed still contained product. In addition, the community eliminated a potential roadblock in its redevelopment plans. The project was completed under budget by $17,536. The unified support of everyone involved made this project a success and a model for future projects.


Underground storage tank removal


Abandoned gas station

Redeveloment Plans

The four sites listed under this proposal lie within the area of the city's proposed downtown revitalization plan. The location of the USTs related to the right-of-way areas on these properties had to be addressed to make way for sidewalks and landscaping to improve community infrastructure.

The city of Smelterville will work with local residents, real estate agents, and the business community through the Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation to solicit interest in reuse of the properties. This project served as a model to the local communities concerning the assessment process, which involved the removal of abandoned tanks, remediation, and reuse of former UST sites for new business interests.


Staff Contacts

Brownfields Program Coordinator
Eric Traynor
DEQ State Office
Waste Management and Remediation Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0565

Related Pages

Brownfields Assessment Program

Brownfields Grants

Voluntary Cleanup Program