Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you’re a city manager looking to renew your town’s sewer treatment plant permit, you’re going to have to wait a while to get a new one. The EPA administers permits for the state under the Clean Water Act.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The entire state of Idaho is under an air quality advisory - thanks to smoke from wildfires – for the first time since August of 2015.


Idaho wants to take over regulating pollution discharge into the state's lakes and rivers from the federal government.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality on Wednesday submitted an application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take control of permitting and enforcement aspects under the federal Clean Water Act.

Idaho is one of four states where federal officials regulate pollution discharge into surface waters.

State officials say having Idaho run the program will have local experts better acquainted with Idaho making decisions.

Jennifer Dunaway / Flickr Creative Commons

Health officials say they have discovered E. coli bacteria in several private wells south of Nampa.

Southwest District Health says six out of 11 households tested positive for the bacteria. There have been no reports of illness connected to the outbreak.

The agency is working the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to determine the source of the contamination.

Residents within 1,000 feet of the contaminated wells have been notified of health risks.

Health officials are advising private well users to get their water tested.

Stephen Mitchell / Flickr Creative Commons

The contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan has brought the issue of lead poisoning to many people’s attention. The brown-colored water from the Flint River was not treated for lead, and children in the town are especially vulnerable to getting sick. The crisis in Michigan has caused drinking water regulators to take another look at their own systems – including in Idaho.
 

Idaho Department of Lands

A wildfire burning 40 miles northeast of Boise is moving away from structures, but continues to pour smoke into the Treasure Valley.

The 2,500-acre Walker Fire started Saturday on private property near Grimes Creek and Mack Creek. The fire is suspected to be human caused.

Burning eight miles southwest of Idaho City in Boise County, the fire has destroyed four structures, including three cabins.

The Idaho Department of Lands says some areas are still under evacuation:

U.S. Forest Service

Smoky skies, from dozens of western wildfires, have prompted the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue an air quality advisory for the entire state of Idaho.

Such advisories are typically issued for individual counties or cities.

IcaWise / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release updated air quality standards for the Treasure Valley in the next two months.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Treasure Valley includes Boise, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regional air quality monitoring coordinator Mike Toole says ground-level ozone pollution in the area typically hits below the current standard of 75 parts per billion.

That standard is expected to decrease, but officials are unsure by how much.

Idaho National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

Nuclear officials told a citizen's advisory board recently that a minor accident last year temporarily shut down work at a cleanup site in eastern Idaho and exposed a staffer to low levels of radiation.

Idaho Cleanup Project spokesman Mark Brown has said the accident Oct. 23 at the Idaho National Laboratory site came as workers repackaged nuclear waste.

Decontamination efforts delayed work for seven weeks, and one worker was exposed to a small amount radiation, but not enough cause health problems, Brown said April 8.

State officials say they plan to fine the federal government $3,600 per day for missing a deadline to remove nuclear waste from a southeast Idaho nuclear facility.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says the U.S. Department of Energy missed a Dec. 31 deadline to ship nuclear waste out of the Idaho National Laboratory.

National Weather Service

The air quality in the Treasure Valley has dropped from good to moderate, thanks to a change in winds that’s bringing in smoke from the south. The National Weather Service in Boise reports the sudden influx of smoke into Idaho is due to a change in the wind pattern.

Anne Jefferey / InciWeb

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning people in the Wood River Valley to stay indoors and avoid physical activity. This comes after smoke from nearby wildfires has engulfed the area. The Beaver Creek Fire is burning just southwest of Ketchum in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Idaho water quality regulators must go back to the drawing board after the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected a rule that allowed some pollution to be discharged into state waterways without a review.

In 2011, the EPA actually approved an Idaho Department of Environmental Quality rule exempting activities such as mining from review in some instances, provided their accompanying water pollution fell below a certain threshold.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Air quality in the Treasure Valley hasn't been great the last couple of days. But that's not because of the wildfire burning near Boise. Michael Toole with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality says the real culprit is ozone.

Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

The air quality has not been good today in the Treasure Valley, but it’s not as bad as it looks. The sky has had a yellow brown tinge to it making it look worse than it is according to Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality. Dave Luft, a DEQ air-shed manager, says you can’t always judge the air quality by the sky.

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