Facility Site ID: 5001204 Cleanup Site ID: 1537

Cleanup Complete, Monitoring Ongoing

In 2010–2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Stimson Lumber excavated, consolidated, and capped metals-contaminated soil from former mine and mill activities.

Ecology visits the site about every five years to review the site condition and ensure the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment from exposure to remaining contaminants.

Public access is restricted by a locked gate and warning signs.

Site History

The Josephine Mine was a cadmium, lead, silver, and zinc mine that operated from around 1909 to 1955. The Josephine Mine has also been historically known as the “Clark Mine” or “Hortense Mine."

Josephine Mill 1 began operating about 1907, and was one of two mills supporting the mine. It closed around 1935 when milling operations moved to the newly constructed Josephine Mill 2.

Investigations & Cleanup

The entire capped area, 2022.
The entire capped area, 2022.

EPA and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) started investigating the site in 2002. They tested soil using an x-ray fluorescence instrument at four potential source locations, including a tailings pile and waste rock pile. The lead levels in soil required cleanup under Washington standards. EPA and BLM gathered soil samples for laboratory analysis in 2003, and confirmed lead required cleanup.

EPA hired consultants to complete a full site investigation in 2008. They estimated 12,000 cubic yards of lead, zinc, and cadmium at levels requiring cleanup were in tailings and waste rock. EPA then entered into a legal agreement with Stimson Lumber, the site owner, to complete the cleanup, which was excavation, consolidation, and capping of contamination under a protective barrier.

In 2010, cleanup work began. Vegetation, wood, and metal debris were cleared from the work area. A repository was created to consolidate contaminated soil. A trench was installed to route groundwater around the repository. The repository was lined before adding contaminated soil.

Contaminated soil was excavated and mixed with clean, native soil and Portland cement to dry it and increase stability. Follow-up sampling confirmed all contaminated soil was moved to the repository.

A cover system designed to prevent rain and snow infiltration was placed over contaminated soil. Finally, the repository was covered with at least 18 inches of soil. A drainage ditch was installed to divert surface water around the eastern edge of the repository. The cap surface was seeded with grass, and woody debris were placed on the repository to deter recreational vehicles. Work was completed in September 2011.

An environmental covenant was filed in 2012. It prevents property uses and activities that might expose contaminated soil and notifies future property owners of remaining contamination.

Periodic Reviews

Following cleanup, Stimson performed annual inspections for the first six years, and inspections thereafter every five years. Future inspections will occur every five years or after severe weather events.

Ecology also visits the site about every five years to inspect the cap and ensure the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment from exposure to the capped contamination.

We visited the site October 27, 2022, and completed the first periodic review report in 2023. The cap and surface water drainage system were in good condition, and the covenant remains in effect. The property is vacant, and a sale is being negotiated. If the purchase goes through, the new owner will continue to maintain the property as forest habitat.

Site use restrictions called institutional controls are in effect

Institutional controls can be fences, signs, or restrictions on how the property is used. For instance, an institutional control may prohibit installing drinking water wells or disturbing a protective cap that isolates contamination. These restrictions keep the contamination contained and keep people from being exposed to the contamination. The controls are usually listed in environmental covenants recorded with the county.

Periodic reviews are required when institutional controls are required at a site. Ecology conducts reviews to make sure the controls remain effective and the cleanup still protects human health and the environment. We conduct periodic reviews about every five years.

Environmental Covenant

County Recording #: 20120313924
County Recording Date: 12/31/2002


  • Ongoing Maintenance of Remedy
  • Prohibit Soil Disturbance
  • Restrict Access
  • Restrict All Ground Water Extraction/Well Installation
  • Restrictive Signage

Restricted Media

  • Soil
Legal 1
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Josephine Mill #1 Environmental Covenant 11/29/2012 Environmental Covenant; Alternative Mechanism
Technical Reports 2
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Periodic Review: Josephine Mill 1 4/20/2023 Periodic Review (5 Year)
Hortense Mill 12/28/2006 Initial Investigation Report
There may be more documents related to this site. To obtain documents not available electronically, you will need to make a public records request.

Places to see print documents

  • Eastern Regional Office
    N 4601 Monroe St
    Spokane, 99205-1265
    Please schedule an appointment to view print documents at this location.

Contaminants 2

Contaminant Type
Surface Water
Metals - Metals Priority Pollutants RA
Metals - Metals - Other RA
Confirmed Above Cleanup Levels
Below Cleanup Levels
This contaminant list was based on our best information at the time it was entered. It may not reflect current conditions at the site.