New study of Lake Coeur d’Alene shows water quality gradually improving

Idaho News
Spokane Public Radio The new study says heavy metals, phosphorus levels are steadily decreasing. Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio A National Academy of Sciences draft report concludes the quality of the water in Lake Coeur d’Alene has improved over the years. The report was shared this week at a symposium in Coeur d’Alene. Dan McCracken from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says the study found that the main sources of pollution — heavy metals and phosphorus — are entering the lake at lower levels than in the past. “Although we are still a long ways away from where we want to be, we’re starting to see some water quality improvements, just in the last five-to-10 years. Metals loading, coming from the upper Coeur d’Alene River, has consistently been improving since…
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DEQ announces drinking water and wastewater funding opportunities for fiscal year 2024

Idaho News
Local News 8 BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing fiscal year 2024 grant and loan funding opportunities for Idaho’s drinking water and wastewater systems. Funding will be used to assist eligible public drinking water systems and wastewater systems with facility planning projects and help entities build or repair existing public drinking water systems and wastewater treatment facilities. Eligible applicants include governmental entities and nonprofit corporations that have authority to collect, treat, or dispose of sewage or industrial wastewater as well as community water systems and nonprofit noncommunity water systems. Funding Availability DEQ has several funding opportunities available. State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loans State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans provide low-interest funding for up to 100% of design and construction costs for drinking water and…
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County will fund lake water analysis

Idaho News
By Kaye Thornbrugh; Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — Kootenai County commissioners voted Wednesday to commit $50,000 to a project analyzing lake water samples for trace and toxic metals. Bill Brooks and Chris Fillios voted to provide the funds, which will come from the fiscal year 2022 community support budget. Leslie Duncan was not present for the meeting. The University of Idaho is working with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to study the impacts of wakes on water quality in the nearshore zone in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Though IDEQ will fund the two-year study, there was no available funding to perform additional analysis on water samples for trace and toxic metals associated with past mining waste from the Bunker Hill and Silver Valley mining districts. The Kootenai County Natural…
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Idaho DEQ to answer questions on cyanobacteria

Idaho News, Research
BoiseDev After toxins were found in Lake Cascade last month, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is holding an event for the public to learn more about cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, and water quality monitoring at Lake Cascade. Representatives from a host of agencies, including DEQ, Idaho Fish and Game, Central District Health, and Cascade Medical Center will be on hand to answer questions about health effects and water quality. The open house is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 at the American Legion Hall at 105 E Mill St in Cascade from noon to 6:45 p.m. While toxins were present in Lake Cascade in June, levels didn’t meet the threshold for a health advisory. Exposure to cyanotxins can cause skin irritation and an upset stomach. The toxins can be particularly harmful to…
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With grant award, Orofino plans water system upgrade

Idaho News
By Kathy Hedberg; The Lewiston Tribune OROFINO — The city of Orofino will begin a long-range planning project to upgrade the city’s water distribution system following the recent award of a $110,000 grant from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The grant is part of a $2 million fund from the American Rescue Plan Act directed to DEQ from Gov. Brad Little. “It’s old infrastructure on the water side,” said Orofino Mayor Sean Simmons. “These funds will be going to inflow and infiltration studies on our collection system. Orofino is fairly old … so we work on it a little bit each year and do what we can.” Simmons said part of the problem is that when it rains in the spring, there is so much additional water that goes…
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Idaho Water Supply Committee: Record-dry January, drought outlook ‘grim’

Idaho News
By Meredith Spelbring; East Idaho News TWIN FALLS (KIVI) – After a near “perfect” start to the season, officials with the Idaho Water Supply Committee said a record-dry January and dry forecasts are not ideal for the widespread drought across Idaho. Nearly 50% of Idaho is in drought conditions, with the remaining half of the state approaching drought conditions, according to David Hoekema with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. The fall of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 were “perfect” conditions from a water supply standpoint, but one of the driest 30-day streaks in January is causing concern. “We are getting to a point we are probably going to start recommending an expansion of drought in Idaho if we don’t see the needed precipitation coming in,” said Hoekema. As…
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State eyes ‘once in lifetime’ opportunity to upgrade local water, sewer systems

Idaho News
By Betsy Z. Russell; Idaho Press BOISE — The proposed budget for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for next year shows something unusual: A 100.7% increase in total funds from this year. The reason: A “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make investments in infrastructure projects that will have an impact for generations to come,” according to state DEQ Director Jess Byrne. Byrne presented the budget to the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday, including proposals from Gov. Brad Little to spend hundreds of millions in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds over the next five years for major upgrades to city drinking and wastewater systems; closing old landfills; addressing contaminated, abandoned mine sites across the state; and more. “When the ARPA dollars arrived, the first thing the governor said was, ‘I…
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Idaho Seeking $2M Worth Of Project Ideas To Reduce Phosphorous In Lake Coeur d’Alene

Idaho News
By Samantha Wohlfeil, Inlander Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality will soon be awarding $2 million to projects that will reduce phosphorous on Coeur d'Alene Lake. The funding from the state is part of Gov. Brad Little's "Building Idaho's Future" plan. The projects are intended to prevent the lake from reaching a dangerous tipping point where heavy metal contamination that has mostly remained in sediments could become suspended in the water column due to a shift in the water chemistry. Like much of North Idaho, the lake faces issues with contamination deposited during decades of silver and lead mining in the region. To be eligible, projects must include on-the-ground reductions in phosphorous, be located in Idaho within the watersheds that drain into Coeur d'Alene Lake, and have community support. Projects on…
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