Coeur d’Alene River Basin/Bunker Hill Superfund Site (Idaho)
Bunker Hill is one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites. Formation Environmental personnel prepared the RI/FS for the PRP group at the original 21-square-mile site and also served as the lead technical consultant supporting the PRP’s defense against extensive combined CERCLA-response and Natural Resource Damage (NRD) claims for approximately 1,500 square miles of the Coeur d’Alene River Basin. These claims, well in excess of one billion dollars, were brought by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of a number of Federal, State, and Tribal Trustees.
Steve Werner was the lead consulting/coordinating expert for the multi-company defense during Phase I (liability) and Phase II (damages) of the trial. Within this large project, Formation staff utilized several models (e.g., Habitat Equivalency Analysis [HEA] and a site-specific, GIS-based, habitat assessment model) to evaluate the extent of injuries and the appropriate scale of restoration activities.
Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Settlement
Formation personnel worked on behalf of Union Pacific Railroad to cooperatively and successfully settle potential Federal, State, and Tribal NRD, CERCLA, and CWA claims through a 72-mile rails-to-trails conversion. The resultant trail was transferred to the State of Idaho and Coeur d’Alene Tribe for management. The settlement required interaction with a broad range of stakeholders, including direct negotiations with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the State of Idaho, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal Trustees.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
The project included development, management, and analysis of GIS data holdings in support of liability and NRD litigation and trials. Hundreds of data layers were created from numerous state, federal, and Tribal agencies, along with a multitude of private sources. The major categories of GIS data compiled included:
Environmental sampling data for surface water, groundwater, soil and sediment;
- Aerial photography and satellite imagery;
- Land ownership information;
- Natural resource conditions; and
- Cleanup/restoration plans.
These data were managed to support statistical analyses of site characteristics, generate estimates of cleanup costs and cost allocation, and produce data visualization graphics for courtroom and litigation activities.