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Nampa receives $3.5 million federal grant to remove toxins from the Columbia River Basin

A drone shot of a green wetland with a small river snaking through grass and bushes
Environmental Protection Agency

Nampa is receiving a $3.5 million grant to remove lead and other toxins from waterways in the Columbia River Basin and its tributaries. The pilot project plans to remove contaminants from the water by filtering it through an engineered wetland.

The Environmental Protection Agency is funding the design and construction of a 2.75 acre wetland that will divert flow from Nampa’s Indian Creek for treatment.

EPA Regional Administrator Casey Sixkiller says the accumulated toxins are from urban, agricultural and industrial runoffs.

“The overall goal of our Columbia Basin program is to reduce toxic loading and that then creates a better environment for fish and reduces toxicity in fish tissue, which is good for everybody,” he said.

Sixkiller said the project will both restore the stormwater and provide insight on how natural filtration can treat stormwater before it hits waterways. Once up and running, the project will regularly monitor levels of toxicity.

“Phosphorus being an example of one of the chemicals that we're keeping track of,” he said. “Depending on how successful it is, again, we can make adjustments to future designs.”

In a press release, the EPA said partners included the City of Caldwell, Idaho Transportation Department and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

“This permanent project will serve as a pilot to help determine viable treatment options for all of Canyon County through the development of a regional online repository titled 'One Water, One People',” the statement read.

The project is funded through the Biden Administration Infrastructure Law. The engineered wetland area is expected to launch in two years.

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

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