Highway Pond Working Group - Summary of Meeting June 24, 1999 DRAFT


 In addition to the regular attendees, several private citizens were present. Representative Roger Chase and Senator Lin Whitworth also were present, and both voiced similar concerns that mining was not a sensible activity in the geologic and hydrologic context of this aquifer. Representative Chase indicated that he intends to submit legislation in the next legislative session to reclassify the aquifer as a Sensitive Resource.

 

Feedback on the Sub-group's Recommended Sampling and Monitoring Plan:

The constituents to be monitored will be those that are regulated for drinking water plus those that are reasonably expected to be affected by gravel operations. A central issue that needs to be addressed is that of how drilling and monitoring costs will be shared. An expanded subgroup will be convened to work out details of cost-sharing. Some proposals discussed at this meeting included: miners are responsible for down-gradient wells, city for up-gradient wells; if gravel pits were not there, monitoring wells would not be needed and only monitoring costs for production wells would be incurred by the city; the wells west of #44 will be installed by the city as a normal cost of evaluating Well 44's operation; the miners should cover the rest.

The question was raised: are monitoring wells needed? Discussion ensued, leading to the understanding that a multi-use solution requires monitoring wells; later, the point was made that we are going beyond best practical management toward best available methods in anticipation of requirements should the aquifer eventually be recategorized as a Sensitive Resource. The wells installed west of Well 44's capture zone will monitor TCE. It was recommended that testing be focused on the immediate area affected by gravel mining with additional sampling possibly expanding beyond this in future, as the need arises to evaluate external impacts.

Discussion focused on the impact of the new production Well 44 and its capture zone. The possibility of pulling TCE over from the west side of the river was raised, as was the possibility of inducing greater contamination impacts on downstream production wells. Also, it was recognized that monitoring would be beneficial to the mining interests, since contamination external to the mining operations could be identified and separated. This underscored the importance of siting the upgradient monitoring wells appropriately, possibly west of the river rather than south of existing monitoring wells PA-9 and -10. The implications of Well 44's operation for the city's aeration tower remediation plans were briefly discussed, specifically that the aeration tower wells would act to limit the dispersal of TCE by Well 44.

A variety of discussion followed on more general topics clarifying the miners' proposed BMPs, reclamation, and costs:

 

Feedback on BMP's

Reclamation:

* Reclamation of exposed areas should be prioritized

* Gravel extracted should be replaced immediately with material that seals off the aquifer

* The pond should be lined as the last step before leaving area

* A riparian wetland could be developed when mining is finished, for a multiple use area

* A dryland buffer zone should be located between the operators and Bud Hildreth's property

* Reclamation is proposed incrementally: construction of the first wetland area to begin next year

* Any mining requires reclamation by contractors, too

* Does state have experience addressing reclamation in this kind of permeable situation?

* Reclamation will not be cheap

 

Access:

* Develop a written plan to restrict activities and public access to those areas safe for aquifer

* Create rock barriers to limit access

 

Mining/Processing:

* Operator wants 20 year time horizon for mining

* Line hazardous materials containers

* Spill prevention plans are required by state law and are already in place

 

Feedback on Recreation Issues

* Any chance to move fishing to river?

* We need an approved toilet situation - operators will not take on - but a recommendation.

 

Feedback on Costs

* Costs are going to go up - either gravel or public education part.

* Gravel extraction is based on set cost. Reclamation plans on water quality and aesthetics. Redo cost benefit analysis.

* the most gravel we can take out is 800,000 cu - probably more like 100,000 to 200,000. The

value is $2M.

 

Other Feedback

* Should berming along UPRR line be recommended?

 

Collective Short Term Solution and Individual Agreements (6 months to 1 year)

** Put up a rock barrier to limit access of large vehicles. Lead: Ed Bala (by October)

** Create parking lot on lava ledge, post it to restrict motor vehicles beyond that. Find out legal limits for trespassing. Lead: Ed Bala (by October)

** Increase police patrols in area. Lead; Tom Hepworth, Support: Bob Foster (immediate)

** Gravel pit operators to develop educational program for schools to promote safety, field trips, educate re: aquifer vulnerability. Lead: Paul Glauser / Dave Edel, Support: Ed Bala, John Welhan

** Impose stiff fines for illegal dumping (in the $1,000's); County/City to post signs for no

dumping. Lead: Tom Hepworth

** Implement a sampling and monitoring plan. Lead: John Welhan

** Take first steps to create wetlands through phased reclamation. Lead: Ed Bala (by May, 2000)

** Control storm water run-on; follow-up with school district to assure that highschool runoff remains on site. Lead: Tom Hepworth, Support: Dave Edel, Ed Bala (by June 30)

** Continue to develop the area as a recreational fishing resource. Lead: Jerome Hanson

** Toilets - place toilets near parking lot, lock them to ground. Lead: Jerome Hanson, Support: Alan Wubker.

** Seagulls - evaluate control measures. Lead: Jerome Hanson (by October)

** Research into when ADA needs to be implemented - during this reclamation process. Lead: Ed Bala (by October)

** Design one of the monitoring wells to act as a replacement water source for Bud Hildreth. Lead: John Welhan, Support: Penny Pink, Bob Foster, Bud Hildreth, Ed Bala

** GW Forum will monitor progress of these agreements. Lead: John Welhan

 

Collective Agreements toward a Long Term Solution

** Restrict public access to areas that have been reclaimed.

** Develop the area's recreation potential over the long term, including a fishery and wetlands area (ADA specifics needed here for planning).

** Legislature work needed to help procure funds to buy out operators; to develop research into a cold water fishery; for supporting ground water monitoring.

** Address the reclamation plan in future to include ground water quality and the relationship between BMP plan, reclamation, monitoring, and aquifer protection.

** Develop and recommend an aquifer management plan that includes BMP's for all up gradient activities (businesses, organizations, etc.). 

 

Other Immediate Action Items

** Finalize the Sampling and Monitoring Plan - convene a workgroup to develop a cost sharing agreement and to commit resources - ITD, Bannock Paving, Bannock Co., City of Pocatello, Bud Hildreth, Idaho Fish & Game. Lead: John Welhan (by August 30)

** Reconvene the working group in Sept./October for a subsequent progress evaluation. Lead: John Welhan

** Implement the BMP's, reclamation, monitoring, and recreational use plans once approved.