An official website of the United States government.

Columbia River

Upper Columbia River Remedial Investigation & Feasibility Study

On this page:

EPA Releases Draft Human Health Risk Assessment

EPA has released its draft Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA). This HHRA was conducted as part of the ongoing remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) in response to concerns regarding historical discharges of hazardous substances into the Columbia River as a result of smelting processes and facility operations by Teck Resources Limited and its affiliated predecessors at the facility in Trail, British Columbia.

In this assessment, exposures to chemicals of potential concern were evaluated for five groups of people (known as receptor populations): residents, outdoor workers, recreational visitors, "Colville High Intensity Resource Users," and Spokane Tribe of Indians. Risks to receptor populations were estimated at specific places, referred to in this report as exposure areas.

EPA staff discussed the results of the HHRA in webinar sessions on June 10 and July 15 (the same presentation was made at each session).

Download a copy of the full report:

We are committed to providing the community with information about our work and an opportunity to provide meaningful input on decisions that affect you. If you have questions about the assessment, please contact Robert Tan, 206-553-2580.

Learn more about human health risk assessments.


Background

EPA is studying contamination in the Columbia River from the U.S./Canada border to the Grand Coulee Dam and surrounding upland areas. The study is called a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FSHelpRI/FSThe RI/FS is the step in the Superfund cleanup process that is conducted to gather sufficient information to support the selection of a site remedy that will reduce or eliminate the risks associated with contamination at the site. The RI involves site characterization -- collection of data and information necessary to characterize the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The RI also determines whether the contamination presents a significant risk to human health or the environment. The FS focuses on the development of specific response alternatives for addressing contamination at a site.).

Past studies by federal and state agencies have shown increased levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, mercury and zinc, and other contaminants like dioxins and furans.

In August 1999, the Colville Confederated Tribes petitioned EPA to conduct an assessment of environmental contamination in the Upper Columbia River. The petition expressed concerns about risks to people’s health and the environment from contamination in the river.

In 2001, EPA collected samples of river sediment to learn more about the types and amounts of pollution that exists. The results showed that contamination is present in the lake and river sediments, and that a more detailed investigation is needed to evaluate possible risks to human health and the environment.

In 2006, Teck American, Inc. signed an agreement with EPA to pay for the RI/FS.


Documents

Many documents are also available on Teck American's Upper Columbia River Project website.Exit

Community Information Repositories

For your convenience, information about this project is also available at seven locations throughout the project area. Each location has the same information, including full copies of draft and final technical documents, fact sheets, and other information about the site. Before you visit, please call ahead for business hours.

  • Northport: Northport Town Hall, 315 Summit St., 509-732-4450.
  • Colville: Colville Public Library, 195 S. Oak Street, 509-684-6620.
  • Inchelium: Inchelium Tribal Resource Center, 12 Community Loop, 509-634-2791.
  • Nespelem: Office of Environmental Trust, Bldg. #2, Colville Confederated Tribes, 1 Colville, 509-634-2413.
  • Grand Coulee: Grand Coulee Library, 225 Federal Street, 509-633-0972.
  • Wellpinit: Spokane Tribe Department of Natural Resources, 6290 D Ford-Wellpinit Road, 509-626-4425.
  • Spokane: Spokane Library, 906 W. Main, 509-444-5336.

Community Technical Assistance

Our Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program helps communities participate in cleanup decision-making. It provides funding to community groups to contract their own technical advisor to interpret and explain technical reports, site condi­tions, and EPA’s proposed cleanup proposals and decisions. An initial grant up to $50,000 is available to qualified community groups.

EPA has awarded Citizens for a Clean Columbia with a technical assistance grant funded by Teck American to participate in the RI/FS process.

For more information, visit Citizens for a Clean Columbia.Exit


Contacts

Community Involvement:
  • Kay Morrison (morrison.kay@epa.gov), 206-553-8321 or toll-free 800-424-4372.
Project Managers:

Top of Page