The goal of Environmental Health Education and Assessment (EHEAP) is to educate and protect the public from health risks associated with hazardous waste sites and environmental contaminants. Hazardous waste sites are located throughout Idaho and include:
- Mine waste piles;
- Solvents in soils and groundwater; and
- Radioactive wastes.
Environmental contaminants include:
- Naturally occurring arsenic and uranium in well water;
- Mercury in fish; and
- Air Pollution.
As the State counterpart to the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), EHEAP does evaluations to determine whether people could be harmed by coming into contact with contaminants at hazardous waste sites or through exposures to chemicals in the environment, and makes recommendations about how people can protect their health.
Other public agencies - Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality - are responsible for managing and regulating actual clean-up of hazardous waste sites. Recommendations made in our consultations and assessments are designed to prevent adverse health effects to the public. However, they do not carry regulatory authority.
Idaho has 12 High Priority Sites
To date, twelve highest priority hazardous waste sites - known as National Priorities List or NPL sites - have been designated or proposed in Idaho. In addition, there are approximately 60 hazardous waste sites that are part of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund inventory, but are not ranked high enough to be on the National Priorities List.
Idaho also has more than 2,000 hazardous waste sites permitted by the State of Idaho to produce or store hazardous wastes, and approximately 9,000 mines/prospects and 400 mining mill sites.
Involving the Community
One of our program's guiding principles is community involvement. EHEAP encourages community involvement in all phases of planning, implementing, promoting, and evaluating environmental health activities in order to best protect public health.
Other program activities include creating environmental health lesson plans for Idaho teachers, publishing an environmental health community resource directory for Idaho, and coordinating fish advisories.